Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Politics of Clash

            ‘Tis the season to be angry. This election cycle has turned into a period of hashtag hatred - #NeverTrump, #LyinTed, #UmmmmWhoWasThatThirdGuyAgain? It’s just as bad on the other side of the aisle – you’ve got one candidate who is an angry old Socialist who feels the government should pay for everything, while the other candidate is a balding man from Vermont.
            We pick sides – some with relish, others holding their noses. We prepare our arguments, and argue our defenses. Adamancy rules, and the argumentatively weak are quickly squelched (or, instead, they fall back to the intellectually vapid but culturally powerful weapon of using words like “racist”, “bigot”, “homophobe”, Islamophobe”, “Demophobe”, “Repubophobe”, “Obamophobe”, “Popeophobe”, “BradPittophobe”, “ScreamingGoatophobe”, or any other “-ophobe” you can think of [by the way, when did “-ophobe” turn into “-ohate”? As the great philosopher Inigo Montoya once said, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”]).
Pong - the only video game I was ever good at
            During this silly season, we’ve watched civility go out the window. The low level of rhetoric within the political rallies is only eclipsed by the ignorant rantings of the protestors outside. Respect in our culture is as obsolete as Pong and Bill Cosby. Yesterday, I watched a young lady (this term used only in respect to her being of the female gender) at a symposium on free speech express her right to free speech by shouting down the free speech of those who were trying to give a speech about how to properly use free speech.
            We are a divided culture, and we’ve forgotten how to righteously handle division.
            Maybe the only thing other than politics that gets people so at odds with one another is religion. In fact, for many the line between the two is greatly blurred (“How can someone vote for _______ and still call themselves a Christian?”). Christians feel abused and looked down upon by the rest of our culture, and the rest of our culture feels abused and looked down upon by Christians. And, if there is anyone to blame for this, it is us Christians, because we should know better.
            We’ve bought into the them vs. us. We wear our victimization as a badge, forgetting that we don’t have a clue as to what true religious victimization is. We see our country slipping into spiritual depravity, and we’re angry and disgusted. Our righteous indignation builds and builds and boils and burns to the point we’re ready to storm the DNC substation at Harper’s Ferry and start a revolt.
"Rally 'round me, folks, and let's blanket the neighborhood
with these flyers inviting people to our informational coffee!"
            Jesus went beast-mode when He cleared out the Temple. But why did He do it? Look at His words – “How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16) It was all about the Father. In fact, in the next verse, the incident took the minds of the disciples back to a passage from Psalm 69 – “Zeal for your house consumes me.” (John 2:17; cf. Psalm 69:9) Jesus didn’t act because He was personally offended or out of hatred for the Temple-market-makers. Instead, He was doing it to defend the honor of the Creator God. I don’t care if you are anti-Hillary, if you don’t Feel the Bern, if you believe Trump is a slimy, orange populist, if you’re convinced Cruz is a shill for the establishment, or if you think that other guy…actually, never mind, no one thinks of that other guy…whatever you think of any of the candidates, your rejection or your support does not raise to the level of defending the honor of the Father (and, yes, I understand the ramifications of the future Supreme Court appointments, and, yes, I understand that the Bible is under attack in schools and in workplaces and in the military, and, yes, I understand that an ungodly agenda is getting more and more deeply entrenched in our society, and, no, none of those things changes my opinion).
            We are not going to defend the name of our Father God in the ballot box. Don’t get me wrong, we should all vote, and, if the Lord leads you to get involved in a campaign, then jump in full force. However, the impact of your vote pales in comparison to the impact of your life. Your vote against your enemy is a drop in the ocean when set against the flood of your love for your enemy.
            I was reading this morning in Luke. Jesus had just landed his boat on shore when He was confronted by a naked wild man. He was chock-full of demons and had been out of control for a long time. When these demons realized that Jesus was about to evict them from the premises, they begged Him to please not send them into the Abyss. They saw a bunch of
"Okay, if he's sending me into the lake,
I'm going in prepared!"
pigs and again begged Jesus – this time to send them into the poor, unsuspecting herd. And – get this – Jesus did it. The demons begged and Jesus responded. These eternally-doomed, hate-filled enemies of God felt the touch of divine compassion. Stop and think of that for a moment…
            Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And, as always, Jesus does this to the nth degree. I figure, if Jesus could demonstrate an act of love to these demons who wanted nothing more than to destroy Him and all who followed Him, I can love whomever God puts in my path, no matter their party affiliation, no matter their candidate choice, no matter if they are big-government-supporting-4/20-celebrating-gender-neutral-bathroom-building-America-apology-giving-only-our-lives-matter-chanting-Guy-Fawkes-mask-wearing professional protestors who want me to pay for their college.
Yes, Lord, I hear you…even them.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

As always.... Well said!