The President is a socialist and is shredding the Constitution
Immigrants are criminals who are stealing our jobs, ruining our economy, and threatening the safety of our communities
Muslims are terrorists that hate Christians and Jews and consider it their duty to kill Christians
Homosexuals and their pursuit for marriage rights is undermining family values and threatening the very fabric of our Christian society
Would you like to add anything else to this list? What other reasons do you see for fear and anxiety out there? These were the first that came to my mind. Of course, I do not believe any of these statements. In fact, I would outright reject everyone of them. As outlandish, as fear-inducing, as prejudice-inciting, and as hatred-breeding as they are, they are still, sadly, are prominent messages in the media. These are not thoughts of a few extremists, this is the propaganda being spread by people in mainstream America.
Why are these messages, which are way off base, so common? The great politicist Colin Cowherd from ESPN The Radio has some insight on this matter. Today as I was driving in to the office he made the comment, "Conflict gets ratings." He referenced guys like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh as proof that moderate thoughts and open dialogue do not interest people and will not create an audience. He was not complaining that this was the case; he was actually speaking against the critics who reject guys like the above. This is a time when I am not on the side of The Herd. As a radio personality, ratings are Cowherd's business, and he believes in what sells with no apologies about it. He is not thinking about this from the angle of what is healthy or good for the soul of society. He sees what it base about mankind (sex, money-greed, image-obsession, conflict, drama, etc.) as just the way it is and affirms the media outlets that play into that. To not do so, in his opinion, is foolish and a denial of reality.
He's right, at least about what gets ratings. Why do Soap Operas flourish? How do 24-hour news stations create viewers? Why does Jerry Springer have a cult following? Why does the sex, gore, violence, and empty entertainment of the big screen draw in billions of dollars each year?
The worst part of who we are, the fleshly nature, the old self driven by the way of the world is drawn to this stuff. It rouses feelings, emotions, and reactions that induce addictive chemical reactions in our brains. We are drawn to anger, to conflict, to lust, to tension, to drama, etc. If your neighbors are sitting on the porch having and open-minded, polite dialogue about their political differences, do you notice or care? Do you talk about it later with your friends? If they are, however, yelling and fighting and in each other's face, then a crowd will gather. Then everyone will be talking.
We allow the worst of ourselves to thrive in the name of entertainment, politics, and, often, religion.
Admit it, did you come to this post because of the angry title or because you thought a balanced, thoughtful message about life would be shared? :)
A friend and I are considered creating a blog that will include videos, interviews, and pod casts that revolve around the political topics of the day from a distinctly Kingdom perspective. We want this to be a forum for people to come and witness dialogue, disagreements, and opinions on big issues; yet they will be shared peacefully, respectfully, and openly. I think, though, that is just might be the most boring political forum out there! No screaming. No fear-inducing words like "socialism." No anxiety driven commentaries on the crumbling democracy. No labeling of groups or name calling or prejudice allowed. Would that even be worth hearing?
So, I want to ask my brothers and sisters in the family of Christ to turn off the TV, unplug from the loud mouths of the media, and try to tune in to the peace making world of the Kingdom. I do not ask that we loose conviction or passion. I just ask that we be honest about what our hunger for "news" and "entertainment" is being driven by: the flesh, the self-life or the Spirit, the Jesus-life?
The Prince of Peace is in control - no fear is necessary. We are indwelt by the Spirit of God - no hate belongs. We are people of the Kingdom of God - the ways of the world need not be welcomed so freely into our hearts.