Monday, April 5, 2010

AWOL from the Culture War

I have never been in the military, but I am AWOL nonetheless. I have left the political and religious culture wars. I can't tell the good guys from the bad guys any more. The rhetoric has lost all sense of reality and civility.

I have been on both sides of the battle line during my nearly sixty years of life. I have been liberal, moderate, progressive, evangelical and conservative. The truth is I don't know what these terms mean any more! Do they even have any meaning beyond the latest redefinition by Fox News or the DNC?

I have voted Democratic, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Constitution, and Green. I have marched in the streets and protested outside courthouses. I have attended political rallies. I have written letters and made phone calls.

But I have never seen the type of religious and political sectarianism that I see today.  It seems like madness has taken over our country. Christian militia in Michigan planning to kill a cop to start a revolution!? I feel like I have fallen into a hot tub time machine back to the 60's. The Weather Underground and Symbionese Liberation Army made more sense.

They say technology has changed the rules, with internet and tweeting, talk radio and 24-hour news broadcasts. I think the biggest change is that the content has been dumbed down and the emotional intensity ratcheted up.

Then there is the religious culture war - denominations feuding and splitting. That one got the best of me. I was smack in the middle of it. I fought on the front lines, but I forgot my flak jacket and have the wounds to prove it. Christians fight like sinners over issues that are more cultural than spiritual.

In any case it doesn't matter anymore. I quit. I am going home. I have been spending a lot of time with my Father these days. Prayer has become my favorite space to be. Spirituality has become my religion and my politics. In my prayer closet I have learned that God is not involved in this culture war. He never was. He is not on either side. We would have known this if we had consulted the Scriptures on the topic.

Jesus never uttered a political word. He never got involved in theological debates. In fact he was very adept at avoiding the entrapping questions of the major religious and political factions of this day. Jesus did not start a revolution, join a political party, nor found a denomination. He was neither a liberal nor a conservative. In fact the liberals and conservatives joined forces to kill him in the name of national security and in the spirit of ecumenical cooperation.

He said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight." That is why I am not fighting. I choose his kingdom. I will leave the world to the culture warriors.

Image is a Nazi propaganda poster, Belgium, 1944

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