One of the most devastating realities of our day is the pervasive tribalism that seemingly has no boundaries. It is everywhere, and while it maybe easy to make excuses for the secular culture, the church has no excuse. Unpacking where and when we (the church) lost the truths of being image-bearers is a subject for other articles. Sadly though, the realities and implications remain ever present, and we are all responsible. Yet, we have no hope of breaking out of this without seeing the truths of our lives and actions and then repenting of our sins.
Our inability to honestly evaluate our ourselves (as objectively as possible) serves to only widen the divides and falsely inflate ourselves, which then alienates even more from our Heavenly Father. Even in our imperfect state, there are all kinds of resources and tools that we can use to audit our own behavior. The following short editorial by Anne Synder, editor-in-chief of Comment magazine, is one such tool. This is not the end all, but could be a first step to recognizing your own (my own) biases, sins, and idols.
Please take the time to read this short article in its totality. We ,the people of God, can do better. As we repent of our own issues, let us corporately plead with God to show and guide us how to more fully live as image-bearers and treat all others the same. May God have mercy on our souls.
It’s Time to Smash Our Idols and Risk Re-Encounters the Real
By Annne Synder
How well I remember my introduction to ideological cancer. Wide-eyed at twenty-two, I’d secured a job working as a research assistant at a conservative think tank for a foreign policy program founded by a former US senator. The program team was meeting for the first time, and in the course of small talk, the topic of cars came up, specifically, what was then the novel Toyota Prius. The senator turned to me.
“So you’re the young one here. What do you make of the popularity of this hybrid vehicle?”
I blinked. This didn’t seem that hard. “I think people are keen to try a car that saves on gas and is better for the environment,” I answered, relieved that something coherent had pierced through first-day nerves.
He looked surprised, pausing. “Please don’t tell me you’re one of them.”
I could find no twinkle in his eye. Such a response—baffling to me at the time—would prove to be a cultural harbinger. An innocent hypothesis pointing to taste and generational prudence had somehow anointed me with Green oil, a forbidden substance disturbing the placidity of right-of-center orthodoxy.
Fourteen years later, and this sort of tribal hermeneutic abounds. From vaccines to pronouns, what kind of coffee we prefer to whether we display the country flag, we are swimming in bizarrely banal signaling mechanisms that mark friend from foe. The litmus trolls guarding the moat between “us” and “them” are greedy and ever-menacing, their hunger for a totalistic culture making each of us more fearful and incurious, dull and disturbingly uncreative.
How did we get here? And is there a way out?
Crosland Stuart, of Crosland & Company, LLC, works with The Collaborative
on marketing, recruiting, and content creation. Additionally, she also works in the areas
of foundation consulting, communications, and is a literary agent.