Listen to this post on the KevKast!
Have you ever wondered why our world is so distrustful of politics and religion? The disease of “otherness” has never created so much division in our world. Ironically, the entities that are supposed to be separated, church and state, have never been more alike. Can I suggest that the divisions in our world don’t lie between the political parties? It’s not a democrat/ republican thing. Nor is it a believer/ unbeliever thing. We are divided because we have taken sides as to which entity should govern us, not realizing the limitations of both.
The powers of church and state exist primarily for themselves. They are surrogates for true community where diversity and unity coexist in perfect harmony.They both legislate unity as if diversity is addressed from the outside-in. Church and state enlist people to serve the machine and in exchange give people an existence, but not a life. Since most people don’t know freedom, the willingly trade their life for the one provided by the system.
The church and state are always telling a story. They are perpetually weaving a tale to enlist people into serving the needs of the organization. People are the energy source that powers them. The world is a feeder pond for such institutions. Does this sound a bit cynical? Maybe a bit conspiracy theory? Perhaps you like the story you are being told.
This isn’t to say all organizations are bad. They are necessary, even beneficial, but they are given too much power. The irony is that everyone seems to agree that they are too powerful, yet the power comes from individuals who abdicate responsibility to them.
Some people can see through the propaganda, while others drink the cool-aid and believe the fear campaigns of church and state. We don’t all see it at the same time. Its not that some are smart and others stupid. It’s about proximity, not ability. It’s a matter of when, not what. Our divisions reflect the fact that we don’t all get things at the same time or at the same rate. we are all in various phases of the process
Our present election is a perfect example. Our country is as divided as it has ever been. The candidates get more extreme each year. The shift to the poles says more about the marketing machine that profits from fear, scandal, and strife. Whenever we can talk about “those people”, church and state prosper. The people just jump on board because of the story that is spun because they really don’t have options. We assume the stories are true because church and state are telling them. So, would you rather jump or drive off the cliff? The institutions that should be eradicating otherness are its biggest promoters.
Politics has an easy solution. All we have to do is change our voter registration card to independent. We don’t even have to change our preference for blue or red. The power of the state will be the first to warn you that you will not be eligible to vote in the primary’s. For some people, that creates just enough fear that they will just keep doing what they have always done, even if they have never voted in a primary before. Just the notion that we may lose something or have something taken away will keep us stuck. It’s a prison made out of threat.
Church and state have power based upon otherness. Otherness gives fuel for the machine run. If voter registration demonstrated the masses have moved from the poles to the center, all the power of the story telling machine would lose its steam because it would no longer be seen as the voice of the people, but it would expose that it is (and always has been) the voice of the extreme elite. If the marketing machines want to survive they would have to shift toward the center in order to maintain their feeders, and behold, they would produce more centered politicians. Unity only comes from diversity when we lay down our arms. Maturity shows us that both sides are always partially right. If we diminish the power of otherness, we can heal our political system. In no time we would have a three party primary instead of binary dualism.
But this is not likely to happen. Most people can’t disassociate with their own political affiliation to find political freedom. In order to do this, we have to die to that little identity that comes from voter affiliation. We index ourselves by what we oppose and what we support. To give up a political party is do die to a part of our externally fabricated identity. Who tells us who we are? For most of us its Church and state! Both are in the identity business. Independence means we must forgo the support of the mothership. It hurts to die to the false, external self, but one tiny death begets another. Next we dissolve our loyalty to news channels, talking heads, commentators, and story tellers. The last death is to the story itself. The story of otherness. Distance sobers us up.
Freedom emerges in direct proportion to the dissolution of otherness. I’ve given an example of how this can happen politically from the side of the state, next week I will give you an example of what that looks like from the side of the church.
I hope you can see that we don’t live in a hopeless world. Each of us has the power to unite and reclaim the power that we have abdicated to the machines. Church and state play a vital role in our society and the goal is never their removal, the goal is their redemption. It starts with a new story, a story that unites us instead of divides us. A story that could do that would most certainly be called “Good News” and it turns out we each possess it if we are courageous enough to believe it.
If you have the courage, change your voter registration to independent. Then watch what bubbles to the surface of your thinking. Pay attention to the little deaths that transpire. They are the death of the external self and the birth of your true self. A self that is defined not by a system, but by your Maker.