I was introduced to the band Rage Against the Machine by a co-worker with whom I shared an office many, many years ago. They weren’t my kind of music, but I recognized why she would be into them. She was angry, and had reason to be. I remember thinking that there was much against which she felt rage.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about culture wars, although that’s become a bit of a cliche term. I imagine that you have, as well, because it’s sort of difficult not to. The one constant that I seem to find around me, from extended family conversations to (anti)-social media, to interactions with colleagues, is that everyone is angry. And, like my co-worker from so many years ago, they have reason to be. A lot of people have died over the last two years. A virus revealed just how much we all seem to only care about ourselves. Politics have thrown any sort of economic stability into question. An autocrat has launched a war of attrition.
Perhaps I’m guilty of rose-colored glasses, but when I was in seminary I spent a lot of time thinking that these are the sorts of events…and confluences of events…into the occasions of which the Church should rise. Regardless of denomination or disagreement in minutiae, we are presented with an opportunity to care for the sick, the bereaved, the wounded. Instead, we seem to be doing what everyone else is doing: screaming louder than the next person in order to be heard, defining ourselves by what we stand against instead of what we stand for, trying to force others into our mindset, and refusing to interact with them if they do not comply.
The Church is currently just as, and likely more, guilty than anyone else of not exercising basic common sense, not taking time to analyze statements to determine if they are truth or lies. Many in the Church have chosen allegiance to leaders over allegiance to God, channeling rage instead of attempting to walk in the light.
Instead of choosing to be confrontational, instead of fighting culture wars, the Church needs to choose a much more basic, yet profound, way of existing. A Biblical way of existing that’s explicitly laid out for us:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;Micah 6:8, NKJV
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
I’m thinking through this because I’m just as guilty as anyone else of anger. I too find myself raging: against the loss of what could have been, against a broken system, against all of things at which one can be angry. I’m just as guilty of letting that rage drive my decisions, and poison my interactions.
If I were to spend more time acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, how would that impact those around me?
What if all of the Church were to do this?
Imagine how much better this could be.