I’m pissed this evening. No use hiding it. So, sorry if I’m a bit squirrelly today.
I attended a mandatory “media group” meeting today. It’s killing me right now that I’m not at liberty to be completely authentic about it. I want to say some things. It really, really bothered me. Yet even so, it seems as though it used to bother me more. I used to resist any restraint like this as slimy, disease-ridden evil. As I’ve gotten older, become a parent, adopted a “professional persona,” it’s uncomfortable, but I’ve adopted fears. I don’t want to be seen as a bratty, impulsive miscreant by my coworkers. “Maturity” would have me believe it’s silly to get all riled up about things. But that’s not brave-heart talk. That’s not an Aragorn notion. That’s not very wild at heart, is it? (My pseudo-Biblical evangelicalism is beginning to show…)
Fact is, as I was sitting there in the back row today, I realized a few things. I’m not going to convince any hard-core traditionalists to accept the revolution. You know who I mean, I think. They simply don’t see the need and think we’re just fools (or sinners) for bringing it up. No matter what we do, we just don’t see the same glass of water. That’s abundantly clear in my line of work. It’s an impasse of values and perception. Though our theology and ideology are completely in sync, what we value will always polarize us. And though they will never accept the spiritual significance of Marilyn Manson, hymns and P.O.D will continue to share the same iPod on my desk because I value what both have to offer. That the traditionalists can’t see value in the same things is indeed unfortunate, but we’re not going to change them. And I guess they’re just going to have to continue being offended, because like it or not, true wisdom cares to understand what others value.
Authenticity! That’s what we value. It’s what this revolution is about. Being authentic is the sacred value of the emergent church and the writing revolution and the WTO riots and behind the loathing of politics and pretty much everything these “hooligans” claim as their sacred values, whether they can explain it or not. Remember Holden Caufield’s phonies? The traditional conservative capitalists (the same ones who got Bush reelected) have a tendency to make themselves incapable of seeing the “post-modern generation” as anything other than disrespectful, slovenly, misguided, inarticulate miscreants. But at least we’re real miscreants. Some of them will continue to villify whatever doesn’t meet with their orthodoxy and use the slipery slope argument to deny any compromise that might allow conversation to develop. And they’ll continue to think the world is going to hell on a Segway.
Yet rather than villify them right back, I want to try to appreciate them. After all, the world IS going to hell. I can see how they’d think Christina Aguillera is leading children to practice witchcraft and voo-doo. I’m the first to agree that media saturation has completely replaced God in our society. But let’s also be rational and stop labeling everything for a moment. Step back. There’s no underground organized conspiracy. It’s the same devil he’s always been. Pride, selfishness, and money-hunger are the same things today as Jesus was dealing with. And let’s not forget that the gospel says there is nothing so filthy that can’t be made sacred.
There is only one revolutionary answer to saving the traditionalists along with this heart-sick world, and that is in allowing authenticity to revolutionize your life. I plan to meditate on that for the next few days. I hope you’ll be back to do the same.