Saturday, November 13, 2004

A Week and a Couple More Lackluster Days Later

Chris Martin of Coldplay and Gweneth Paltrow have a son whose name is Apple. My friend Heather wants to name her baby Jesse James if it's a boy, Cheyenne if it's a girl. I named my car on old lady's name one night last year before I fell asleep, forgot it by the time I woke up, and haven't been able to remember it since.

Point being: catchy names are easy to remember (unless you come up with them under the influence of alpha-waves). They're also easy to digest.

So goes most of the post election coverage. It's been catchy as hell and has gone down fairly easily. Cases? Look to Jake's post. Gary Wills' piece is catchy to the tune of 10,000 screaming Times readers. And it makes perfect sense! The Enlightenment is over! Why didn't we think of this before!?! You may or may not know my beliefs on the state of PM is America, so here they are: most of the United States, from the Appalachians to the Rocky Mountains (minus a few academic institutions) have a distrust of both modernism (in general) and postmodernism (in particular). For the most part, we are still a pre-modern nation, clinging to our medieval Christian ideals. Wills is correct to a point, but he fails to understand that most red states never gave a phuey about the Enlightenment, and skipped from Augustine to Wesley to Dobson in a few easy-bake steps. Kant who?

If you can get past the fact that Omri Elisha refers to the book of Esther (about as foreign to most evangelicals as Kant is), his piece is about as pre-packaged tasty and rumble-tumble digest-free. His most glaring error is simply his failure to note the significance of the Dobsons and Bauers and Falwells on our electorate. Maybe a few old Calvinists view Bush as an Esther figure, but the majority of evangelicals voted for Bush because he was able to speak their language. Kerry didn't, or couldn't. It doesn't matter which. He didn't connect with voters. Bush, for all his faults, did. He spoke about biblical definitions of marriage, the un-nuanced war on terror and abortion-free judicial appointments. This was his holy trinity. And it worked. Now he has his 3 percent margin of victory mandate, and is spending political capital and the lives of U.S. Marines in the streets of Fallujah.

Okay, so now that we're past the ugly part, I can get to the main point. Jake, you're right. Christians on either side of the political cattle-fence fall prey to the same error -- putting our hopes for the future in the hands of corporate puppets. Powerful people tend to look after their powerful friends (and interests) first. They attain power by wooing the current power structure, then keep power by playing happy-happy with said power structures.

My only point to add is that the church, or rather the present political church (not the universal, eschatalogical one), is just another one of those power structures, and has been since Constantine had his freaking, stupid vision (my general thoughts on church history, rolled into a single sentence). Jake, you're right in saying that the church needs to develop and grow, not into a more liberal or conservative one (or even a centrist one for that matter), but into a more biblical and pre-"freaking, stupid vision" one.

A while back, we caught ourselves discussing how a perfect church would start -- no advertising, no consumer-friendly Sunday-morning services -- just plain word of mouth and a hunger for the Word. What we forgot to add was, "and a severe detestation of our dear brother-in-Christ, Constantine the Whore." Yeah, I'm proud to be an American. And I'm also proud to be a member of a universal group of believers that see Democrats and Republicans as cantankerous little bastards who are mere infants compared to the hope that is the Christian Church.

Forever and ever amen.


At 11/13/2004 1:01 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

well done Jonny. You get my full endorsement on this one. I appreciate your read of the election coverage and it seems as though the media is exercising the right to say and do anything in the light of the election being over. I'm not completely sold on your point that America skipped Kant and the enlightenment, that seems to be a bit of a stretch to me. I see your point about the general mistrust with modernism and post-modernisms place within that. But I think that ultimately, America is a modern state that has, in the very recent past, tried to make believe it is pre-modern and drummed up the religious beliefs necessary to support ideology that is dying. This is a discussion for another time. Constantine is evil, you're right, but I blame the church of Constantine's time more for not having the balls to tell him he had to change to be a Christian. Imagine, Constantine 'converts' and the Christians say "no thanks" or at least, "great, here's what it means to be a Christian" there's a different history!

Your Jesus the democrat and Jesus the republican stuff is fantastic. I can't stop reading it.

At 11/13/2004 3:03 PM, Blogger jonny said...

Maybe someone needs to make a movie about what would happen if Leo Tolstoy invented the time machine, went back to 312 AD, and killed Constantine at the bridge. The Sci-fi channel would probably pick it up if Tolstoy had a busty, blonde partner in crime. Someone get on that.

Jake, thanks for the kind words. Reading my post in the light of day, I could tear this thing to pieces, though thanks for calling me out on the Enlightment bit. That needs some more work. I do agree with my last night's self for the most part. Funny part is, after I critcize everyone's elses post election coverage for being too catchy, I swing into my own power-pop chorus of Bush the friendly, next-door neighbour. Of course there's more to it than that, but I still think it's the most basic reason for Bush's victory.

And Omri Elisha's piece about Esther is better than I gave it credit. Perhaps though, his emphasis should have been on how some evangelicals view Bush as a modern day Esther. Like I said, most evangelicals don't know enough about Esther to give Bush props in that department. And not all those who do know Esther well interpret it in technicolor Calvinism.

And sorry about the bastards bit. Though maybe we should all be thankful I didn't end my "forever and ever amen" part with "biatch" like I originally typed it. I was on a roll!

At 11/15/2004 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is paco, I just didn't have a name to sign in with so I did it anonymously. Jonny, i've always liked you best when you were just saying whatever you want. ecspecially when you are bashing constantine (more like dumbantine) although I'm sure someone else would have ruined everything sooner or later anyway. by the by jake I really enjoyed the end of your last post, you're speaking my language. lastly, jonny, i think that while it is completely true that power structures and nation states will always be lame, self-interested units of suckocity (and the present church certainly falls prey to that indeed) the problem with the american government (or any government) is not merely that it is a "corporate puppet" or a power/money/dead arabs lovin' demon lion, but that it is not Jesus Christ. and the church, regardless of how corrupt and terrible it can get, is the only unit through which anything can truly happen. but I'm sure you already knew all this. i really just wanted to say hi. i enjoy reading both your blogs and argueing back in my head.

well that's enough blanket statements for one night.


(I actually think apple paltrow sounds kind of like a tasty desert entree)

At 11/15/2004 10:57 AM, Blogger Jesse Brown said...

I can see where Gary Wills is going... I can see where Esther fits into the picture... I may even agree with Paco but what it comes down to is: Where will Sammy Sosa be next season? Chicago? LA? NY?


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