It’s a Sad Affair

That the country has gone mad and rage rules the day seems an understatement.

The Internet and its various social media platforms provide opportunity for all of us to express ourselves more than maybe we should. In the midst we have forgotten how to listen. (Catch the irony here?) Even the Las Vegas tragedy over the weekend seems to have prompted more discussion than quiet, humble mourning. There’s verbiage when silence is perhaps the better salve. But politicians dare not let the moment pass. (Who can blame them, our attention spans are short?) Besides, silence doesn’t play well on TV. It certainly won’t pay the bills for an industry that rises and falls with the ratings.

But let’s not put all the blame on politicians, marketers, and TV hucksters. Silence makes most of us uncomfortable. I like what Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s miseries stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

FB, Twitter, Snapchat, and their kin seem to prove this. We can’t put down the phone. And if we do, the pundits continue to blare from our walls and atop our entertainment centers (the key word here being entertainment).

Is there a way forward? Sure, but it won’t be easy, and it may be counterintuitive. It will take more listening and less talking. It will take more giving and less demanding. It will take more humility and less self-assertion. No, it won’t come easy, but neither is it complicated.

I’m not saying we should lay down our convictions or our words but I am suggesting our convictions be prioritized and then expressed through the right filters. For those of us who are Christians the filter is the love of Christ, the one who moved into the neighborhood and was full of grace and truth. He affirmed human dignity by taking on flesh and reminded us that to be created in the image of God means to love God and to love neighbor. Love, of course, is patient and kind and sacrificial and humble and so on. Things that aren’t always so easy for us. But it’s a worthy challenge and it is the call placed on those who claim Christ not merely as Savior but as Lord. Such love is the power of hope in the midst of the madness and the anger.

It’s a sad affair, this culture of ours, but it is the perfect opportunity for grace and truth to shine, if we will only keep our priorities straight.

(Here’s an interesting study about sitting alone quietly from 2014, otherwise unrelated to this post.)

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