Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The above remark allegedly came from a neighbor of the “Murphys” who were accused of being Russian spies. “They couldn’t be spies – look at what she did with the hydrangeas!”

Among the news reports we received last week was a report of how the FBI uncovered a Russian spy ring operating over different parts of the United States. Among all the reports of wars, dirty politics, an oil spill, nasty weather, etc., came this report. And while not exactly good news, it was comic relief. It had all the makings of a movie, and I can suppose it may soon be showing in our theaters.

The facts, as far as I can glean them are:
  • Eleven Russian spies entered this country at various times over the last 10 or more years.
  • These spies made themselves at home in the suburbs of New York, Boston and Washington, DC.
  • They held down jobs.
  • Some of them raised families, even children born in the United States.
  • They became respectable members of their communities.
  • None of their neighbors or co-workers suspected their mission.
  • Their mission was (apparently) to infiltrate society, especially political circles and to gain sympathizers, through whom they could obtain intelligence.
  • Privately, “they went through the motions of espionage” (The Week, 7-16-10), doing all the little things that spies do.
  • They accomplished nothing pertaining to their goal.
  • Though the FBI watched them for a decade, they could never actually catch them in the act.
  • When arrested, they pleaded guilty to minor offenses.
  • They were sent back to Russia in exchange for real spies.
  • Apparently these “Borises and Natashas” were enjoying the best of both worlds. They were enjoying the good life in America and receiving salaries and bonuses from Russia.
Does anyone else see the irony here? This could be a parable – even an allegory – applicable to us – American Christians!
  • We’re also aliens sent from another Kingdom to this country on a mission.
  • Are we living comfortably in America?
  • Are we living respectable lives – the American dream?
  • Are we going through the motions of our mission without accomplishing anything?
  • If we were arrested for doing our mission, would there be enough evidence to convict us?
One Russian commentator, writing on this fiasco, complained: “Nowadays nobody spies out of principle.”

          Bill Ball

1 comment:

kerby goff said...

Hey Bill, I like your new blog design! It's much more fitting than the old one. Also, you're post sounds like excellent sermon illustration material, though by the time it runs its course, it may come out as a story about something entirely different - Russian matruska dolls being used to spy on American households or something like that. Every time I hear a sermon story, I wonder if it ever was a true story...
Looking forward to returning in a couple weeks!