America feels increasingly like a powder keg, its fuse lit. It’s making it hard to have conversations about spirituality — our preference here at the Faitheism Project Podcast. But, perhaps spirituality (at the end of the day) will be our, um, “salvation”. Perhaps spirituality (unblemished by dogma) will be the common ground that gives us an opening to speak to each other again without wanting to kill each other.
Ah, but how do we GET there? That’s the border wall we can’t get over.
Maybe we haven’t been entirely honest with ourselves about what our problem really is. Trying to solve the wrong problem with the wrong solutions will never fix anything. Trying to fix the wrong problems with the right solutions? Same ending. We have to be stone cold clear on what our problem/problems is/are first.
There are signs — plenty of them — from the social media already pouring forth as the investigations begin. Why did this happen? Who made it happen? The more we learn, the uglier the truth becomes. But then, the truth will set us free provided we’re bold enough to confront it honestly.
But, can we?
Or, if you prefer to watch…
NOTES & SOURCES
A friend of mine told me that they thought “9-11” would be their lifetime moment: that one time in life when you remember where you were as some dramatic thing was occurring. But now he has multiple events.
Others are just unplugging from the whole thing.
Key Question: What is the sacrifice required to get our country back together again?
As we seek justice (the definition of justice being quite different to different people in our nation) we need to resist temptation and to offer compassion. Unsurprisingly, there are two sections of the Bible that seem particularly relevant here:
Very early in Jesus’ spiritual leadership a story of his temptation is told: (Mt. 4)
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.”4 But he answered,“It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Once again it is written: ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur. 9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs.
Three temptations: 1-control 2-celebrity/fame 3-power. He had to resist these to be able to offer the sacrifice that we required.
Our leaders need to resist as well. But thus far they see our “salvation” in gaining these three things. And so many of us buy into that as well. Therefore they cannot offer the sacrifice required to bring our country together.
Zechariah: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” Zechariah 7:9
We need three things to actually create good in the time we find ourselves in:
1-Shrink ourselves down to size.
2-Use real power-not coercive power, but the power of compassion and love.
Michel Foucalt: Strong power: the power to attract. Weak power: power
3-Work locally. That is where we can have the greatest impact.
Maybe Jesus was right: the meek really will inherit the earth.
A closing wish: (from Numbers 27)
15 Moses said to the Lord, 16 ‘May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.’
There are images that grow larger in my mind as I contemplate what happened & why — and what we must do about it in order to “fix it”. Here’s one —
Here’s another —
I am far from alone in seeing this terrible application of the “Onward Christian Soldiers” dynamic.
That, I think, is closer to the mark: what our problem is here. White Christian Nationalism has burst from its holding pen and run amok. We are confronting something Paul himself hard-wired into Christianity even as he was inventing it: miles Chrisianus (Christian soldier) or milites Christi (soldier of Christ).
The “armor of God” led to Chivalry (the sanctification of weapons — they now fought for God & against the infidel) which led to the armed nobility of Europe — those “Defenders of the Faith” who launched the Crusades.
To some modern Christians, the Crusades never ended. For instance — Vladimir Putin. Turns out Vlad is very religious. He’s as deep into Russian Orthodox dogma as he is into restoring Greater Russia.
Hey, know who Putin has shared time & space with? Guy named STEVE BANNON — who used to be pretty instrumental in Donald Trump’s world. Bannon used to run Trump’s presidency before getting fired for a host of terrible behaviours. But, one thing Steve Bannon has always written about, spoken about and been crystal clear on: he is a Christian Nationalist:
Christian Nationalism has had a very happy home in the Trump White House. Clearly, it does not want to leave.
I think I have (what should be) an easy solution: more Jesus. Yeah — that’s the atheist’s suggestion. Much more Jesus and far, far less institutional church. That might help…