The amount of money that goes into the misinformation of the American people is far vaster and far more enthusiastically spent than that which goes into the education of the American people. Stuart Ewen
Sometimes words land in my belly with the power of a clenched fist. The above quote is one such collection of words. I groaned when I read them, because they seem all too true. Perhaps it is the word “enthusiastically” that hurts the most.
Our nation has been involved in a time of intense mourning and grief, followed within seconds by a time of intense finger pointing and dissembling. The violence unleashed on a street corner in Arizona has touched us all. As has the aftermath of that violence.
This Sunday is Human Relations Sunday in the United Methodist Church. It is also the Sunday when we as a nation celebrate the message and ongoing witness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The poignancy of considering human relations within the sloggy air of these political and cultural times is piercing. I have held the task of preaching this Sunday to my heart and have given thanks while being daunted.
I am daunted because we have each been nourished on a steady diet of enthusiastically marketed misinformation. How do we find truth in the miasma of spin and vitriol?
I am thankful because the core teaching that grounds any preacher’s task is the gospel of the Christ. Over and over and over again Jesus teaches us to be open to others, to know our common heart beat, to see the holy that walks with each and to know that we are incomplete until all are invited to the table of grace and attention.
I will admit that I am afraid. The above quote would indicate that we as citizens are more willing to be manipulated than educated. We go along, it seems, content to huddle with our like-minded like children huddled in snow forts lobbing snow balls over the ramparts.
It’s not enough. It isn’t enough for us as citizens of this nation. And surely it is far from enough for those of us seeking to live the teachings of Jesus.
It’s time to put the snow balls down. It’s time to leave the cocoon of our forts. It’s time to breathe the sharp and clean air of grown up engagement.