I am a news junkie. I watch at least two news casts a day and read several news sites on the internet every day. If I have an opportunity to hear a newscast on the car radio while travelling, I am happy–the trip is better because of that. As a result of all of this, I tend to have a very good idea of what is going on in the world, or at least the parts of the world that the various newscasts choose to tell me about.
And because I love doing analysis, all that news goes into the analytical part of my mind and rolls around and gets looked at and correlated and categorized and compared and produces conclusions and summaries and concerns. And one of my major concerns these days is the marked increase in groups and individuals demanding that that their particular understanding of life become the norm for everyone. Even more troubling is the almost total lack of ethical concern with such claims.
Outright lying, serious distortion of facts, selective quoting, de-contextualization are all parts of the process and the only time anyone says anything about these tactics is when the other side is doing them–mind you, it isn’t unusual for those calling out the ethical failures of the other side to use the same unethical tactics in their denunciation. Violence has become a regular part of the process of getting what our side wants. It is made to sound better by labelling is as “defence” but people are hurt and killed for the cause, whether they are directly involved or not.
It seems like we are developing a world where selfishness and self-centeredness are now the norm. And because I am now the centre of the universe, anything I need to do to ensure my will is accomplish is right and proper.
The interesting thing is that this whole process started from some very good and positive seeds. Humans have been oppressing and enslaving and harming other humans from the days of Cain and Abel and while many cultures and peoples didn’t see that as a problem, the last couple of centuries have seen significant advances in creating respect for human beings: we have seen ending of slavery in the west, the increasing reality of gender equality, great strides in universal access to education. All these and more came about because someone decided that what was happening wasn’t right and needed to be changed.
But somewhere along the way, a dangerous corner was turned and we began to believe that in the process of curing oppression and injustice, it is okay to oppress and be unjust. Unfortunately, all that thinking does is change roles: the oppressed now become the oppressors and the harassed now become the harassers. Rather than actually change anything, we simply re-label the problems, give different people different places and the whole process continues along its way.
There has to be a better way to deal with the injustice and inequality and just plain wrong in the world. As a Christian, I am convinced that my faith provides a better way–but even the Christian faith has been hijacked and twisted and abused to make it into an tool to use in defending the things we want to defend. Everyone claims Jesus sees things their way–and in the process, forgetting completely that Jesus’ whole purpose in coming to earth was to show us just how wrong we actually were and how we needed a complete reset–what he called a new birth.
His message is that we are and were wrong. Many who list Jesus as their sponsor really haven’t come to grips with the reality of his teaching and the power of his example. He was fair and just when facing unfairness and injustice. He was peaceful in the face of violence. He sought to help others at the expense of himself. He continually showed the error and even evil of our ways, but always did is from the perspective of someone who loved everyone involved, both oppressor and oppressed; both slave and slave owner, both male and female–and had it been as cultural an issue in his day as in ours, both straight and LGBT.
Given that our current approach is simply making things worse, maybe we need to take another look at the real Jesus, not the Jesus who has been co-opted by so many different groups for their own purposes.
May the peace of God be with you.