“These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness, and worship without awareness.” ~ Anthony de Mello
I wonder if we are waking up.
I wonder if we will finally look beyond our biases.
I wonder if we will grow beyond cycloptic vision.
Donald Sterling made the news this week for the uncloaking of his racism. Writers, talk show hosts and Facebook news feeds began circulating opinions. I heard, read and saw many of them. I heard concepts such as: freedom of speech is being attacked; the free market system would do its job punishing him; He deserved his fines and repurcussions from the NBA; this is a Nazi which hunt…
However, even though I heard much of the expected polarized rhetoric, I also heard an increasing number of voices looking at a larger picture.
Sterling’s actions have a context, as do all actions.
His past racist brushes seem to be even worse than his present, in fact he was fined 3 million dollars over discriminatory practices.
Some voices are calling out our culture on her sound-bite-issue-of-the-nano-second outrage. This makes me wonder if we are waking up.
Generally, people get outraged and fired-up when the media presents the inciting incident…but then, as quickly as fireworks launch, they are forgotten and the masses have jumped to the next thing. But today, there were voices challenging our right to get angry because of our inconsistencies.
“Why are you mad today, when this person has a track record that is even worse?” Some asked perplexed.
“Where was the outrage then?” Words that unmask our inconsistencies.
When more and more voices put a mirror before us which reveals how inconsistent we are on most issues, I have hope that we are waking up.
Kareem Abdul Jabar spoke a revelatory word in response to the Sterling news:
“So, if we’re all going to be outraged,” the former NBA star wrapped up, “let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”(1)
I think he just exposed our pop culture world.
When we award people for their lack of moral integrity by giving them book deals and TV shows it becomes apparent that in our morality the emperor is wearing no clothes.
Get angry about racism…it’s wrong.
Get angry about injustice…it’s wrong.
Get angry about the erosion of privacy rights…it’s wrong.
I’ll know that we are waking up when we get angry and speak out that something is wrong when we first encounter it, not just when our preferred tribe decides it’s wrong. I’ll also know we are waking up when we apply our outrage in a consistent manner and are willing to point the finger at ourselves for selective voicings.
Are we waking up? I hope so, the world needs resurrection.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
That was a good rumination today.
With so many thoughts surrounding our latest cultural controversy, my mind began to ruminate:
The pundits they line up with points in their mind,
Who is right, who is wrong, a binary truth to define.
polarized left and polarized right;
who said just what is embellished with time.
Sensibilities are offended on the left and the right,
Status updates are filled with a rhetoric of might.
This is freedom of speech!
He’s against my way of life!
Can you feel the battle lines drawn? Can you sense the indignant plight?
The rhetoric is shoveled, will any mind change?
Do we really believe everyone else is insane?
God sighs when both sides use His Words as a weapon,
When grace and peace are disguised, thinly veiled as we threaten.
I wonder, in the midst of the verbal assault,
have we perhaps missed the point?
are our positions at fault?
Have we created a chasm that no one can cross?
Have we argued to death the straw-man that is lost?
Buried beneath the hurling flames,
There are question to ask, not labels to claim.
What does this whirlwind say about us?
as a culture, as a people, what matters so much…
is it ratings and money and how I want to be?
or perhaps as a nation have we worshipped at the altar of me…
Ignorance blinds us to the larger story,
The one where God is displaying His glory.
of love and rescue, of grace and truth,
no lost eyes, and no broken tooth.
Above the schoolyard fights of my way or yours,
There is an answer that is deeper than our Olympus culture wars.
So when the embers have settled and you know that you’re right,
Have you actually won, or have we all lost the fight.