A 2020 Rant for sanity’s sake

2020 has been a booger. Booger is an understatement.

I have many thoughts running through my noggin, and after getting a chance to chat with some of our precious saints on Sunday, and after running into another dear TRC member today at the Y and sharing our thoughts, I figured I might just dip my toe in the water of a frank post about what I’m feeling.

Who is my audience here? I’d say my audience is anyone who is watching 2020 and wondering “what in the Sam Hill”?

The “Rona” has revealed that much of what we have come to depend on from our governments is nothing more than faulty. Numbers reported lack the necessary information to help make decisions. We hear from news outlets about increased numbers but no word about how sick. Hospitalized? Asymptomatic? Why some can have it and never exhibit symptoms? Why do the goals seem to be shifting by the hour? Why do we not talk about the “Rona” for mass gatherings for some, but push against mass gatherings for others? Do we want some to get sick, and protec the others? Is it really that big of a deal that we cancelled the class of 2020’s senior year?

SpaceX is talking about going to Mars, and they can land two rocket boosters back on earth upright for reuse…You seen that stuff? Amazing! Watch about SpaceX on the Disney plus unit. Solid! Elon can land two rocket boosters back on earth or a ship at sea after putting a Dragon capsule into orbit, and we can’t figure out this microscopic bug that seems to not be on the front page anymore except to use as a reason to shut some stuff down and open other stuff up. Dadgumit!

The lack of clarity on the “Rona” allows news, that is divided right down the middle between two power structures, to spin the little information available into power narratives that help to keep power on one’s chosen side of the cultural battle. Some then use their chosen narrative to beat up people in the other narrative’s camp. Fun!

Have you noticed the clear line between tactics on fighting the “Rona” and how they are divided right down political lines? If not, pay attention. I’m not sure what all that indicates, but it smells like that leftover piece of chicken from last week that is not bad, but not quite right either. You know what I mean?

For the Christian, if they don’t have the narrative of the Kingdom of God firmly fixed into their worldview (Creation/Fall/Redemption/Restoration), these political power narratives can become their theological framework, and an idol is born, and many will call that lifeless figment of their imaginations, Jesus. Dangerous.

NOW….take all that pent up mess running through the minds of the American citizens from every perspective on the planet and Voila, an unjust killing of a black man at the hands of a LEO, and the tipping point is reached. People are fearful of the sentence, “Black lives matter”, because of how some use it for other things than the clear and right sense of the sentence. But that is a red herring argument. Heretics have said, “Jesus is Lord”, but that doesn’t keep us from the truth of that sentence nor using it with passion and gusto. The race thing is not that hard to get right. It’s just that we are now being confronted with uncomfortable blind spots in our reasoning and theology and application.

The veneer “one nation under God” is crumbling right under our noses. I know some don’t like that I just wrote that, however, when we sow the theft of land from Native Americans and the enslavement of human beings in our advancement, what part of those actions do we believe will produce good? Whatever a person sows, that will they reap. This immutable reality is woven into the universe as one of God’s ways of ensuring righteousness gets done whether we acknowledge Jesus Christ or not. God will not let justice go. What part of sowing that kind of darkness did we think would just be erased in God’s economy of dealing with man? Have we read the bible? Did God let Ahab get away with stealing Naboth’s vineyard through deceit and murder? What part of calling all of that history “Christian” did we think was acceptable? Heroes of the “Great Awakenings” owned, bought and sold human beings, and in some instances justified it with using a bible. Dadgumit.

Don’t hear hatred of our nation. Despite my people’s land being stolen a long time ago (we are long descended from Scot-Irish-Cherokee), we have a family legacy of fighting for our land…good, bad, right, wrong. Look up Manse Jolly for a taste of our rough background. Poor share croppers that didn’t fit into the aristocracy of European / British social systems. It was my desire to serve, and was prevented due to an accident, but one of my three sons will likely carry that tradition on by carrying a rifle and standing his post. Patriotism does not mean lack of critique. I’d argue a good patriot critiques and fights for the absolute best we can be.

Social media is not helping. In fact, it may be hurting. The narcissism of social media has led us to think that we have greater reach than we do, and we are just contributing noise to a place that used to be fun.

Social media has contributed to the illusion that we are doing real good by sharing our clearly superior thoughts with the world. Truth be told, I scroll by posts like my own more and more because I just don’t want to hear myself anymore.

Personally, I’ve seen the greatest change by doing something within the sphere God has given me physically/spiritually/relationally. Rarely have words on social media done anything but fuel my own ego. I try and fail to just keep it to fun stuff, and then I get sucked back in to thinking digital words in a digital space make a difference.

These days, if you do say something, you are either virtue signaling or on the wrong team, or just being dumb. Is it just me, or do you need an advanced philosophy degree to do social media without getting marginalized? Anyway. Dang.

I need sports to come back so I can make fun of the Florida Gators, hate the ‘Aints (by the way, great job Drew Brees!), have my heart broken by the Falcons, watch UGA loose key matchups within a vital game, and experience the Braves choking again. Those were fun times on the Twitters. I especially like it when my friends gig me about UGA and the Falcons losing. I miss that.

The church is being tested a little bit too. Slight hiccups in our first world routines may cause many congregations to shrink for purely consumer reasons, and may cause others to grow for the same. We may see the big get bigger and the small cease to exist purely on what they offer. Our centralized strategies are taxing our view of “one another” and mission right where we are. It is an interesting time. How do you do what is best for everyone and keep everyone and love everyone well? We are all figuring it out.

Finally, we are seeing that our effort to build the kingdom of God from the kingdoms of this world through vehicles like “conservatism” or “liberalism” are crumbling. When the net result of our “conservative” voting gets us “liberal” results such as the SCOTUS ruling that sexual orientation is to be treated like women’s rights, I’m totally confused. Howe about the fact that multiple conservative congresses and justices and presidents have still allowed Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood to exist? We are left confused as to how that could be. Why? We put the Christian loving conservatives in there, how did we not get what we were striving for?

The Kingdom of God is not found in America’s political parties. Jesus does not bend his knee to Trump or Obama or W, yes and even Reagan. Hard to believe; I know. We may be having our idols stripped bear for us to see them as the deaf, blind and mute creations they are. I’m not saying any of our ends are bad, but maybe by seeking them through man’s power structures, we’ve missed something. Not met too many John the Baptist types who pray and fast like God actually hears. Me included. I’m part of the problem.

Here is a good place to start for us Christians to find our balance. Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV) So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I’m just going to leave that passage there for you and the Holy Spirit to work through. Maybe if we hear this word and obey it, we will find that we stand on solid rock footing and nothing can knock us down. If we don’t hear it and do it, we may find we are on shifting sand, and that’s not good.

Ok, musings / rant over. I feel a little better and a little in need of leaning more into Jesus.

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