I have been thinking a lot about politics and culture lately. How could one not? It’s stormy out there. It’s hard to ignore the thunder, lighting, and driving rain.
The President has found that brashness and demagoguery sells really well in our culture. The Democrats are taking note, and the rhetoric is heating up as we head toward the 2020 elections. Twenty-four-hour news channels have found that arguments and panic-infused headlines are good for business, and it seems that we've decided that the best use of social media is to offend people or to declare how offended we feel.
It is ugly right now … and violent too. So now I feel worn out, sick, and afraid. How about you?
I ask myself, “Will it ever change? What can I do? Who will fix this!?”
Psst, hey guys, I think we’ve been hijacked.
Here is what I see. In America, politics has become our god and our game. We are encouraged to root for the Reds or the Blues, to pledge our allegiance to the politicians, and to watch/listen to our prescribed news sources for our talking points and marching orders.
We are told that we have to. "Don't you see that they are evil and that their policies are killing us? The future and hope of our country (AND THE WORLD!!!!) lies in the balance of us choosing the right occupant for the Oval office. This is too important to not pay attention to."
But my sisters and brothers in Christ, don’t we already have a savior? Don’t we already have a place to find hope? We already have a King, and his name is Jesus. And Jesus wasn’t worried about building a bigger military, restructuring student loans, or using pep-rallies for re-election. He didn’t seek to become the world's best Caesar by co-opting the world's tools of power. His plan? He trusted God the Father, and gave his life in an act of ultimate love.
I am re-reading one of my favorite books, “Beauty will Save the World,” by Rev. Brian Zahnd. It is a great reminder that the power of God in Jesus came from the mysterious beauty of his self-giving love on the cross. It is the beauty of that act of love, not the logic of it, that gives it power and meaning. And as a result, our lives become beautiful to the degree in which we engage in that which is beautiful — forgiveness and self-giving love.
So what do we do to combat this icky, slimy thing we call pop-political culture? Should we craft better arguments? Prove a point with a meme? … How about we give beauty a try? How about we spread Christ through acts of self-giving beauty, and then trust that God will use that to make all things new?