Just look at the talking heads of television political punditry. Such polemical duals do nothing for the common good (and when I say "common good," I mean in a James Madisonian Federalist Papers way, so back off your commie, socialist rant now). I'm pretty sure that a steady dose of O'Reilly, Olbermann, Hannity, and Maddow has become little more than an intellectual version of professional wrestling (of course, giving my particular leanings, I realize how oxymoronic it is to put O'Reilly and Hannity in the same sentence with the word "intellectual") .
See how easy that is?
We can all slip into antagonism in a blink.
Granted, those guys make it easy for me..(oops, did it again).
Wired into us somehow, is this mythological sense of ultimate right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark. It is the stuff that Joseph Campbell taps into in his seminal work, "The Power of Myth." It is the stuff of any good story.
There must be a protagonist and antagonist. There must be an antithesis for your position and the energy expended defending your position while destroying the "anti-you" at all costs has become one of the drugs that this culture is addicted to--no doubt about it.
No longer the stuff of George Lucas' creative imaginings, we have brought this battle into the public domain and our perpetual state of "us" against "them" feeds us.
And what it is feeding us is poison.
Do we really believe the positions we hold, or do we relish the battle over them more? In our time, no one really seeks synthesis, or compromise, or true "conferencing" over matters of great import.
I can't change your mind. You can't change mine. Never could - and we really didn't try, did we? But we're going to huff and puff at each other for a time before strutting off the self-proclaimed victors of our engagement.
It's sad. It's pathetic.
There's nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. But what we've devolved into is disagreeing to disagree.
Politics...religion..doesn't matter - typically the same outcome.
No, we really have no idea what we're saying half the time.
We have confused zealotry with faithfulness. Or, even worse...we've allowed our defense of what we believe is right to supplant actually doing that which is right.
Like saying we're "Christian."
Have you any idea what you're saying when allow yourself to be branded with that name?
You believe the Bible?...Good.
You go to Church?...Bully for you.
You love Jesus?....Brilliant.
Like many a rich, young ruler we approach Jesus thinking we know what we're talking about and he tells us..."Great, but there's one thing you lack...go deny yourself that which you hold onto most and hardest, then come follow me."
To be one of "Christ's own," means that his life becomes ours. A little less self-defense of positions and things and a whole lot more self-denial puts us in touch with higher and ultimate truths. Things like--
- The pursuit of downward mobility.
- God's preferential option for the poor.
- Living a life in which self-giving and self-denial are tied into every we are and do.
1-3In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
4-6You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. Ephesians 4 1-6 from THE MESSAGE