Disrupted Rhythm: The Spiritual Danger of the American Political Season

Disrupted Rhythm: The Spiritual Danger of the American Political Season March 3, 2016

Color shot of a vintage metronome, on a black background.

How much of the news we watch is recycled coverage on the election? Is your Facebook newsfeed overrun with Trump this or Hillary that?

I don’t know about you, but lately it seems like all the days have blurred together to the point where I can’t even remember the last time I wasn’t swimming in a sea of presidential election coverage.

Certainly I’ve participated in some of that, and I think it’s important for Christians to be prophetic voices within culture. I’ve made my opinions on some things known. I’ve spoken out against the hatred of Donald Trump, and the inconsistent ethic being passed off as “pro-life” by Ted Cruz. I’ve said my piece, and now just long to move on.

Like, for real. This election cycle is quickly becoming one of the most unbearable experiences of my life, and I just want it to all end.

My feelings of exasperation, I believe, are rooted in a disruption of the necessary rhythms and balance of life.

I recently finished my doctoral dissertation (I submitted my defense copy today!) which in large part is about a theology of shalom— a word that represents life as God intended it to be. Within the theology of shalom, there are different elements or categories of life that need to be in synch in order to experience life in the fullness that God desires.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of God’s shalom is rhythm and the balance that brings to life

God created the world to function in rhythm so that no one aspect became overwhelming.

The work of day leads to the rest of night.

A week of creating pauses for an established day of recharging.

The death of winter leads to the birth of spring.

The heat of summer gives way to the coolness of fall.

Everything has natural rhythm and balance.

And life, when lived in synch with God’s shalom, has that balance and rhythm.

When this balance and rhythm is disrupted, God’s shalom– life as it ought to be- is disrupted.

There is no peace without rhythm in life.

And here is where I find the American political cycle to be so potentially damaging: it’s a complete disruption of the rhythm and balance that God desires us to live within.

There’s no Sabbath. No break. No rest. Just endless bickering and 24 hour news networks content to hit the “replay” button over and over again. It would be one thing if an election lasted 90 days, but two years? I mean, come on.

We become so absorbed with it, that there’s very little talk or focus on the other aspects of life. Where friends used to talk about how cute their children are, or post stupid videos of cats high-fiving their human companion, the election cycle is just an endless barrage of political news and opinions– which NEVER seems to end.

Even the Church– the people of Jesus– who once talked about God’s Kingdom and the beautiful ways that Jesus can transform the world right here, right now, are lulled into a disrupted rhythm by a hyper-focus on presidential politics. It’s almost as if we believe a political Messiah is the answer to the world’s problems!

The natural rhythm and balance God intends for us has been severely disrupted– and we haven’t even gotten to conventions or general elections yet.

When the natural rhythms of life are out of whack, our bodies and minds feel it. Our spirits feel it.

Have you ever experienced a disruption in your sleeping patterns? How did you feel after even just a few days?

We were created to experience the beauty of rhythm and balance, but when that’s off, it all goes down hill fast.

Live within a disrupted rhythm long enough, and toxicity sets in. Ignore that toxicity, and the infection can spread.

I don’t know about you, but I long to experience life to the fullest. And to do that, I have to fix this disruption and return to the rhythm and balance that is so essential to experiencing God’s shalom.

I’ll be turning off the television more. I’m going to spend more time reading books and less time reading political news.

I’m going to spend more time doing homework with my daughter. I’m going to get outside. I’m going to rest.

I’m going to write some blogs, and write my next book. I’ll even consume some political news, and will probably even post about Donald Trump on Facebook when something just *needs* to be said.

But first, I’m going to work on getting the rhythm of life back so I can experience the fullness of life that God intended.

If you’re feeling burned out right now from the American political season, I’d invite you to consider that it might be more than whatever insane thing Donald Trump has said today.

Your feelings of being overwhelmed and tired might be much more primitive and spiritual.

It might be as simple as the fact that the rhythm and balance God longs for us has been disrupted, and that it’s time to pause to get our rhythm back.

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