A Week and a Couple More Lackluster Days LaterChris 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.