I can hardly wait for the polls to come out! Are we gaining on “them”? Are they gaining on “us”? Last time we gained a whole point, now we are only 17 points behind. Is that a trend? I can hardly wait for the polls to be announced! Silly?
Have you read Ann Herbert’s short essay about “The Snake”? She spins a tale about God creating not one man and one woman, but God creating a whole bunch of humans and putting them in the Garden of Eden. He instructed them to play and have fun. And they did. They ran and frolicked. Climbed trees and rolled down hills. They waded in the streams and played hide and seek in the forests. They had fun until they were exhausted and went to sleep. In the morning the fun started all over again and the humans were happy and carefree. This was Paradise.
Then one day Snake entered Paradise. Snake interrupted the humans having so much fun. Snake told them they weren’t really having fun because they were not keeping score. So Snake explained all the rules of keeping score so that some of the frolicking and other activities had to be dropped because there was no way to keep score, and fun changed. It changed a lot, and all the laughter and giggling we had before turned into yelling and meanness. Snake told us that is what having fun means and we should trust Snake. Some of us believed Snake.
Polls. Defining groups of people. Maligning groups of people. What can we say to get them on our side so that we have bigger numbers. Oh, and fear. Let’s use fear. Fearful people are easily lead, so let’s use that. Doesn’t matter what we say, we’ll just make up stuff that they want to hear. No one will remember and soon it will be too late! Just do it. Results is what we want.
Is Ann Herbert’s essay just a fable? Have we evolved into a people who just want to keep score, and draw no line on what we use to get there? Bishop N. T. Wright in his excellent commentary on Revelation draws a direct parallel between today’s social and political scene and ancient Biblical times where Babylon was the great satan and prostitution was used to lure others. If that sounds harsh, this is what Bishop Wright goes on to say:
“Here, says the great Empire (Babylon), is luxury beyond your wildest dreams. Here all your fantasies can be fulfilled. You don’t have to work hard (to be rich like me and I will do it for you)…all you have to do is come to me and I’ll share them with you. Oh, yes, of course, there’s a price…And the rulers of the world, petty contractors, and (the unthinking multitudes) queue up eagerly, not knowing that they are all going into the dark. By the time the folly is exposed for what it is, it is too late. Once you take the golden cup (filled to the brim with corruption) offered by Babylon, you have to drink it.” (Reference revelation 17:1-8)
Bishop Wright asks “Where are we in this picture?” I wonder, where indeed? And prostitution, what is that about? In the symbolic sense, are we selling ourselves on the altar of obsession with our labels of Republican or Democrat? Are we blinded by the shiny objects and promises we hear constantly through the airways? The good Bishop reminds us “that the best and most successful lies are those that are so like the truth that it only takes a little blink to be deceived.”
What has happened to our morals? Our ethics? Our sense of right and wrong? Or more basic, what happened to our ability to think? What prevents leaders to identify and condemn unthinking, morally repugnant acts, disrespect and slander, yet they support the source of such infantile, biased and unchecked vile streams of consciousness? Is the prize so dear that we are willing to sacrifice our morality and ethics, not to mention our children and their future? Are we willing to teach our children by our actions and our own words that morality, ethics and honesty are on a sliding scale, always benefiting who ????
Who are we? What have we become? Indeed, where are we in this picture? Each one of us is responsible, of course. We turn blind eyes, and deaf ears to the wrongs before us. We’d rather not get “involved” and yet we cannot help but be involved. Soon we will shape the future as we stand before the ballot box. What do you want to hand off to your children?
May God save us.
For What Its Worth