>The Lenten fast, let us repent of "politics."

Posted: 12/03/2011 in Christian living, glenn beck, politics, rachel maddow
Tags: , ,


“The hope for the world is not in Washington” -Erwin McManus during the 2008 elections

Today is the first week in the season of Lent. A time when Christians prepare ourselves to receive God’s coming as the pilgrims in Jerusalem did on the first “Palm Sunday.” This is a time when people often fast from one thing or another in order to examine conscience.

Here’s an interesting thought, why not deepen one’s spiritual life by giving up political news media? Forty days, isn’t really that long.

It may seem like a strange recommendation, and what fast you choose is always what is best for you. It might be consistent with the Gospel, though. Chaplin Mike at Internet Monk wrote a great piece -that could be good sermon- on “repenting” of the political mindset. This does not mean repenting of being a republican, a democrat, or changing some stance. It means, it seems to me, repenting of the belief that the hope for the world is somehow ‘in’ our often hateful political system.

This is in fact, what a large part of Jesus’ call to discipleship meant. During his time there were plenty of angry, oppressed, Jewish peasantry who had one way or another to get their vision of the world accomplished. Some wanted a violent overthrow of Rome. Others wanted a peaceful co-existence until God vindicated them. Many “sold-out” to Roman political power. A few decided to go off into the wilderness and ignore the “apostates.” To all these people Jesus said, “drop your political agendas, and sign on for the Kingdom of God.” If Jesus was here today, would he encourage us to stay-tuned to Glenn Beck, Rachael Maddow, or even the Daily Show? What if all such is building political towers of babel?

There is a second thing, and this is where it hits me the hardest. I used to enjoy talk radio and political blogs quite a bit. Then, as I grew older I began to realize something. Much of the political talk -and I don’t mean just radio personalities- is … rage porn.. Many pundits exist not to inform you, but to get you angry. Anger is actually addictive, and you’ll probably tune in a bit more for the adrenaline rush. I think this is actually worse when it is on TV because most of your cognitive functions shut down when you’re watching the zombie-glow of the plasma screen. I personally count anger as almost always a sin, and try avoid people who are making me so on purpose.

Most Americans, in my humble opinion, feel that there is something wrong with pundits, sensationalism, and rage-porn. As Christians, we might just have an added call on top of that: abandon your political projects, and sign up with the Kingdom of God.

What steps can Christians take do so this Lenten season?

  1. Heidi says:

    >That was a really interesting post, Joel. Thanks for causing me to think about that more.

  2. Stephanie says:

    >Ah, so good! I realized this when I was standing in line at a Sean Hannity book signing at 18 and someone next to me said that democrats don't love their children or have no souls or some other such nonsence. At that moment, I remember thinking, "they're all the same." Left, right, whatever, it's still sensational "news" trying to get your blood boiling so that you can feel that you're right about something and someone else is wrong and so therefore you are better than all those right-wing nutjubs, left-wing socialist or whatever. I think a 40 day resbit from all that might prove quite refreshing and might also have some surprising effects on one's spiritual life. Amazing sugestion.

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