We live in an anxious world. It seems that the loudest voices or the most theatrical performance by our politicians or religious leaders are the ones that we gravitate towards. All to often when we listen closely to what the person is saying there is no substance to their verbal salad!
Politicians, of both political parties, are adept at fiery rhetoric and sparking strong emotional responses from their listeners. But, when you look back on their speeches and attempt to find the ‘concrete’ proposals within them…you are left empty handed.
I grew up in the 1960’s. I watched Walter Cronkite on CBS Nightly News each evening, yes I enjoyed the news even as a youngster, and the program lasted fifteen minutes. The news was not flashy. The news was not a panel discussions of what the meaning of it was. The news was straightforward and succinct and the purpose of it was to not achieve high ratings on the Neilson Scale. The purpose of it was to inform the viewer.
I watched Robert Muller III testify before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Director Muller was not flashy nor given to histrionics but rather presented a taciturn and sober presence and testimony before the two august bodies. Criticism ensued that he seemed to be ineffective or not dynamic or that he did not present the bombshell or revelation that would cause the citizenry of our country to rise up and demand that the House of Representative begin impeachment proceedings of the president.
It has been my experience of almost 62 years that life is not successfully lived by awaiting the next thrill or tickle down your spine. I watched a Netflix documentary entitled the Charisma of Adolf Hitler. Although I have read extensively regarding Hitler and watched numerous movies and documentaries concerning his life and the devastating destruction that he wrought on the world…I have never seen quite so interesting a piece on the charisma dynamic that existed between him and the people of Germany. The insightful study illustrated that charisma is a two party connection in that Hitler said the right things to touch the emotions and minds and hearts of the German populous!
To be a Christian is a daily walk attempting to follow Christ’s teachings. It is not about snappy music or becoming wealthy if you follow Jesus’ teachings. Christianity, certainly is not an elitist doctrine of faith! I have witnessed ministers manipulate their congregations to enrich themselves and their families. I have seen ministers who are control freaks! These wolves in sheep clothing will tell their congregations that God is speaking to them directly and that in turn the parishioners must listen to them since they are ‘God’s Man!’
The reality of a a life following Jesus is much more sedate and simple and satisfying. It is a life where the poor and the needy and the immigrant and the stranger is of paramount importance. It is a life of being a servant to all. It can be, dare I say it, a life of suffering and danger and deprivation in the pursuit of helping the poor among us.
Life brings us sunshine and storms. The quiet peace of faith and a reliance on the principles of truth… that can easily be determined if we will research the lies that we are being told and discover that the best arbiter of what is wrong and what is right is not someone in politics or religion or popular culture telling us what to think…but our own eyes and ears and brains and a secure belief that God will talk to all members of his creation…if we will simply listen.