I’ll admit it: I really hate elections.
I don’t hate the idea of elections, nor of democracy. Even though it seems to be rooted, as does capitalism, in a false sense of the natural goodness of mankind, I think they’re both the best options among the ones we’ve got to choose from, this side of eternity. And I’m definitely thankful for the right to vote, even if I think the system is a little convoluted.
What I really hate about elections is watching the downward-spiraling psychological effect of elections on people’s brains. Suddenly people I thought were normal, discerning people turn into political cyclopes – only seeing things one way and that way being horribly distorted, though that distortion is inexplicably hidden faculties. The worst part for me is how many people seem to have no qualms about claiming their candidate or issue as an absolute, forgetting that every person, issue and party has it’s good parts and bad parts and ALL of it exists within one really broken system called humanity. And Christians are right at the forefront of this.
I never block quite as many Facebook newsfeeds as I do during October.
It reminds me of what happens in the politics of the Church, as well. People are really good at seeing things one way or another and forgetting how much about real reality we don’t know. It reminds me of those famous cutaway pictures of icebergs. How much of the iceberg that we call reality – God’s reality – do you really think we are privy to? My guess is somewhere around 20%, but so many people in the Church operate like it’s somewhere around 95% – so all of their observations, exegesis and positions become instantly hard and fast, like quick-dry cement. And, of course, what makes Church arguments worse than political arguments is that they so quickly become over-spiritualized, as if one’s eternal salvation rests upon how they think salvation happens.
The saddest part about Church fights is that our proximal distance from one another often causes us to start demonizing the other side.
One thing I don’t think I ever realized was how much proximity and angered fighting have to do with each other. The farther apart people are (distance-wise, theology-wise, ideology-wise, style-wise, etc.), the more likely they are to publicly throw rocks and demonize the opposition. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty crazy and stupid thing to do in the Church. We’re all on the same team here – gone are the days when Lutherans tried to convert Methodists and so forth. So you have to ask yourself, why fight at all? For the sake of the truth? For an more correct theology? For the sharpness of our own iron?