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I care far less for our ideology (system of ideas) than I do for our epistemology (system of knowledge). Human transformation is more about how we think than it is what we think.
For years I’ve been striving to help liberate people from the prison of a dualistic mindset. From my vantage point, those who possess a binary framework are the epitome of what it means to be poor. The gospel of good news for the “poor” is expanded beyond giving food to the hungry. In our culture, the poor are those who can’t get out of their own way and continually imprison themselves by their thinking. Our culture thinks this is about knowledge, but its actually about the skill to use the knowledge we possess, or wisdom.
Wisdom is never binary. Wisdom transcends the on/off, win/lose paradigm. Wisdom is both/and as well as neither/either. Wisdom is love expressed in the intellect.
Leading up to the election, I used the candidates to illustrate just how stuck in an toddlers mind most of America really is. If we are either really excited or really upset over the results, chances are pretty good that we are stuck in a win/lose binary system. I say this with the utmost respect for what we know. I’m not discrediting the facts that we believe to be true nor the knowledge that we each possess. I’m pointing to the distinction between what we know and how we know it.
Think of an election where the world is divided between day and night. If in exactly one minute we are to vote for whether our world is daytime or nighttime, which do we vote? Some are at dusk and dawn and will be forced to pick the closest binary choice. Our minute is almost up, which is it? Examine the facts and vote.
Do you see my point?
It doesn’t do us any good to pick a particular team because both completely opposite truth claims are equally true and equally false at the same time. Only a transcendent perspective can illuminate how this is possible. To get the best vote, we must move beyond binary votes and look at things from higher up and further back. This takes wisdom, maturity, and skill. While a view from outers space can lay to rest the silliness of my example, far too many in our world are still stuck on either the losing or winning team. Is that you?
We love to erect monuments to our side which is always the right side. We erect and promote champions and heroes who tell us what we want to believe about ourselves. The winners go around with a smug hard-on and a sense of vindication. The losers go around with an angry hard-on and a sense of retaliation. The displays on both sides are pathetic and childish. Smugness is just as ugly as a tantrum.
If this election gave you hope or made you hopeless then please consider my example above. Our pain or joy is directly related to whether we think it is daytime or nighttime right now. We may even be 100% correct, but it doesn’t make us wise. Either extreme proves we are stuck in our myopia and the result is more poverty.
Focusing on one side of the coin will always result in our present state. We come here every four years and have for ages. We will be back here in four more years still no better than today, perhaps even worse unless we change our perspective. It does us no good to flip the same coin over and over when there is another coin, a third thing, something other, something transcendent, something beyond us that can enter and truly change the story.
As long as we pick a side, we are lost. For centuries, Christianity has been trying to model this by insisting that Jesus was both God and man. Picking a side diminishes both realities and misses the greater story. Yet most Christians today still live and promote a binary system. It is our collective lack of wisdom that puts on this endless feedback loop. Our ridiculous pride makes us so certain of our convictions and re-establishes our belief that we are on the right/winning team. By default all others are losers and we can dehumanize them. This is par for the course for both Republicans and Democrats and all duality.
If we would truly be a free nation, we must grow up and find wisdom.
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.” (Proverbs 4:7)
We must recognize the foolish poverty of our binary system and gain the third way. The transcendent perspective, the middle way, the gospel that sits crucified between the two thieves that have successfully stolen the soul of America.
Keep your ideologies. Keep what you think. Just change how you think them. Then watch everything become new again.