Sage advice once was to refrain from talking about “religion or politics in polite company.”
Notwithstanding, this politically correctness has long gone the way of party line phones, VHS tapes, and dinosaurs. Things have changed. This just isn’t the same world.
In our current era, newsworthy topics are wrought for impertinent commentary by everyone, regardless of the social etiquette advised (“polite company”). Since a person’s perception of truth in 2020 is considered subjective at best, and with unsubstantiated sentiments cascading like a Niagara Falls of contempt, who are we to believe these days?
It has become fashionable, even expected, that we all should be lambasting somebody about something.
Peacemaking just isn’t in vogue; polarization is. It’s unpopular in many circles to advocate for cooperation; it’s an us-versus-them world, and meekness is considered a weakness.
We tend to align ourselves with causes and personalities that are best suited to strong-arm opposing perspectives. The hope is we will appear right, at the expense of whoever else is seen as wrong.
For instance, if you watch Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, you’re going to get a radically different rendition of the same stories shared by Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and Erin Burnett. Both Fox and CNN, not to mention other cable news sources, are laden with innuendo and conspiracy, not unlike the tabloids at the cashier. Current events are sensationalized and spun like a Tasmanian Devil on steroids.
What is the truth?
I frequent NPR (National Public Radio) regularly, a very creative, quality but overtly left-leaning news broadcast. It keeps me well apprised of each day’s news, but with an editorialized liberal influence disguised subtly beneath the surface.
So, I leave hook, line and sinker in the tackle box when listening to NPR. My core values are often confronted, but over time have become stronger as I reconcile the challenging alternatives I hear on the radio.
Though the content of conservative Talk Radio is 180 degrees different from NPR, it is the same regarding spin. Verbose, pompous commentators (does Rush Limbaugh ring a bell?) who are so convicted (or perhaps should be convicted) in their unswerving “rightness” (pun intended) that they delight in ostracizing open-minded people from considering the conservative mindset. These DJ’s are “my way or the highway”, declaring “don’t let the door hit you in the posterior” if you disagree with them. Offended channel surfing listeners hear the gauntlet thrown down, and exit to vote assuredly against the Republicans. Although that’s not a good growth strategy for conservatism, it does sell lots of commercials.
Our nation is resembling a house built without a square, level or tape measure. We no longer have a reliable plumb line.
The Bible, once considered foundational in America, is discounted and scorned as irrelevant and unreliable, even by many in the church. The United States Constitution is ridiculed as an obsolete experiment that has failed and needs radical revision. Our country’s heritage degraded; freedoms disgraced; and posterity disregarded.
I understand the consternation being expressed over the Confederate flag (I get it), but does that justify protesters burning the American one? Our world is out of whack.
For those of us who still contend the resurrected Jesus is real, and that the Bible reveals the reality, we shouldn’t be surprised by current conditions. They’re to be expected.
Jesus forewarned us in the gospel of John, chapter 16, verse 33, saying: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
This is a truthful declaration we can take to the bank. No doubt about it.
And it begs a corresponding question: “In these days of ongoing dissension, how could we be of good cheer?”
In a nutshell, to overcome this world we reside in, we have to maintain some separation from it. We’ll talk more about that later.
Next Friday let’s consider which political party best represents the values upheld in the Bible. How would you weigh in about that?
Dave Hinman is Pastoral Elder at Dove Church in Wilmington. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.