Friday, June 30, 2006

A theological response to "wedge issues"

This is what I really wanted to say about the whole "flag-burning" mess, and the plethora of stupid "issues" that are spewed at us in this crossfire democracy we live in. Both parties are very guilty, though President Bush bears greatest responsibility since he has the ability to set the manner of dialogue.

The Bible contains a particularly relevant and useful story to these political times. The Prince of Egypt leaves us off at around Exodus 15 - if you recall, there was a big fuss about Hebrew slaves and freedom and parting the sea.

In "the book", the Hebrews are now on their own, wandering across the desert to reach the Promised Land. Along the way, they stop to camp at the base of Mount Sinai, where Moses is led to climb the mountain in order to receive the Law from God.

Apparently, God has more than a few instructions to give (it's true: see chapters 20-31 of Exodus), or is simply enjoying Moses' stimulating conversation. Either way, the prophet Moses is detained for quite a while, and the people at the bottom of the mountain grow impatient. They complained to Aaron, the interim leader, "Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this man Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." Aaron decides to put together all their gold jewelry in order to melt it down and recast it as a golden calf for the people to worship in the meantime. They said, "These are your gods, O Israel..." (Exodus 32).

I wonder - maybe our nation is at the bottom of a mountain, waiting for some new order to descend upon us. Maybe some of us have grown impatient and fearful in an increasingly complicated time. Are our leaders more like Moses, climbing mountains to seek justice and truth, or are they more like Aaron, appeasing the fears of the masses through false fixes?

Let's reject the golden calves that are being put before us by Democrats and Republicans alike - we can't afford to bow down to idle-issues (pun intended) like gay marriage, "the war on terror", flag burning, or gas prices (which are still far cheaper here than most of the West). We must demand that our leaders climb the mountains, and if they're unwilling, we do it ourselves. I've seen so much pandering to tepid, inadequate leadership during my tenure in the student government - some people call this "being realistic." I think it's accepting a life wandering the desert when we have the potential to reach something much better - I hope people expect more, because then we can do more. This, ultimately, seems to be a central part of the Christian message in regards to civic engagement.

"What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" - Micah 6:8

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm I love the idea behind this website, very unique.