We all have our opinions. Our current culture within the American landscape is saturated with polarized groupthink. We all think we are right and if your opinion differs you are in the wrong and its bye-bye fat head. Yes, we seen this in all areas within the societal sphere, but I want to touch on the Christian arena (a glutton for punishment, I guess).
Pick your topic/issue throughout conservative and progressive Christianity and the hostile accusations and hateful arguments aren’t too far behind (thanks Social Media). It seems the more prevalent the topic within the mainstream media stratosphere, the more divisions arise. With the horrific mass school shooting that happened in Uvalde, Texas – the fire of polarization is burning ferociously within the Christian aisle.
We all must look inside and always evaluate our past, present and future when it comes to human connection and collaboration. We all want the same Christian hope, I believe (I could be wrong). We just perceive the steps to get there differently (sometimes drastically). We all have our worldviews. Putting trust in a way of seeing the world can be a very productive instrument within a community setting.
As the individual seeks out paradigm shifts and inner contemplation, this will enable her/him to progress in a social setting. Education, careers, sports, church, family, etc. all are wrapped in how the individual trusts in what he or she is pursuing. No matter what discipline we take on, faith in “the process” takes shape and becomes our mode of being.
The downfall to this thinking is believing that our faith system trumps another’s faith system. This brings about endless contention that leads to factionalism. This is most destructive when a faith system becomes the ideology of a country.
This is where lives are lost in the name of civil religion. We can’t take it if someone else’s beliefs are different from ours, so we put up barriers and blockades: KEEP OUT! We will never learn from each other if we cast out one another for not thinking the same way. We need to learn to become a community that is united in its diversity if we ever want to thrive as a species.
Jesus hung out with the outcasts and the prestige of society. He spoke truth into both spectrums. His belief system offended and healed. But, no matter what, he didn’t let his beliefs get in the way of interaction with others who didn’t see eye to eye. Is it good to have a faith system? Yes! It’s whether we let our faith/worldview systems be measuring sticks to cast out others or let them be beacons to help others when they need it most.
Yes, life brings its heaviness and tragedy. Its hard to shake this shit off. We all want solutions but it’s always extremely difficult to find the path to get there. Sometimes what helps in all the mess is just looking to past voices that brought light in the darkness.
I just watched The HBO Special: George Carlin’s American Dream. Wow, so good! The documentary expounds beautifully how Mr. Carlin was such a master at his craft that is for damn sure! The story of the late great comedy is pretty timely. It shows a metamorphosis of Carlin and how change is not a bad thing but part of healthy growth. His stand up was always evolving regardless of the backlash he received throughout the years.
His style was very political and individualistic. Many instances you could see through the documentary yearning for community connection. It was so much so, you could see that by the end of his career when he went up on that stage and performed, it was very dark and almost bitter. Look, all the greats have their moment of ostracization. It seemed that Carlin could have just let out all of his anger on that stage to let off steam.
Regardless, we can learn a lot from him. In our current non-stop social media dialogue, are we going to let our differences steer to an hopeless path of division or can we find solace in our human experiences? We all have them and we all have a chance to connect through those experiences. Maybe it’s time we take a break and find a connection with each other. May we look to Saint Carlin (yeah, I know he was anti-religion but I think he was a saint nonetheless) in this time of need. Like Carlin said,
“People are wonderful one at a time. Each one of them has an entire hologram of the universe somewhere within them.”