Living an Examined Life

The more I see, hear, and read the more I want to tune out.  Am I the only one in that boat?  The more Trump sticks his foot in his mouth, the more accounts of police violence, and the more evidence of pure stupidity makes me want to turn and run or hide my head in the sand like an ostrich.

However, as we know, running and/or hiding will solve nothing.

Instead, we must continue to stand up for the things we believe in–but this happens by examining ourselves and what truly motivates us.  If standing with your political party is the most important thing to you, that’s not living an examined life.  An examined life is one where we constantly look at ourselves, the world around us, and are open to our views changing–despite the inevitable pain that does come with change of self.

2.5 years ago I started on a hard path of critically analyzing my worldview–and I found it severely lacking.  I didn’t want to immediately assume the worst of people, but by giving them the benefit of the doubt, I was assuming the people they were oppressing were wrong, and right to be treated as such.  I would be lying if I said I never struggle against my old self, but I am much more in tune with the realities that circle around us and the wrongful actions that take place against people who are the “wrong” color.

Similarly, I see a huge group of people who feel unjustly treated and ignored–and as a result have voted a scary and ill-equipped individual into office.  Part of self-examination is seeing that although you may be right, pushing people aside who hold a different view is not the way to make long-term progress.

Alas, we find ourselves frustrated with the state of affairs in our country, angry that people we thought held similar views have voted for someone who is either enveloped in scandal or…enveloped in scandal (and a misogynist, xenophobe, etc.), and feeling pretty helpless to do much.

However, let me encourage you: if you are not happy with the way things currently sit, look for a protest you can join to let your voice be heard.

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One thought on “Living an Examined Life

  1. Your penultimate paragraph is most powerful, and your first few sentences reveal a bias that will turn many readers away for its haughtiness. Now, don’t let that get you mad, we are in this fix because people failed to use a civic tone in national conversations.

    The Voltaire quote is appropriate, but context is also key. I heard this talk today and think you might find some interesting nuggets not about angry voters or angry progressives who didn’t like the election outcome and now cling in desperation to their illegitimacy theories, but about the way our freedoms- and that is all Americans- have eroded precipitously by putting personal choice and feeling and political correctness on the pedestal where our liberties used to be. Give it a hear when you feel up to it. Oh, just checked the Calvin website for January Series, and the talk isn’t available, sorry. Anyhow, it was why Brexit, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump (and you really should use Donald, or, after next week, President because it IS an office to be respected after all even when it is hard to respect the man) and, perhaps the very possible losses in the next round by the French and Italian progressives and by Angela Merkl were are created by a predictable perfect storm of EU-fomented anti-nationalism/pro-globalism that is seeding a backlash against progressive agendas. In any case, we Christians must view all through the lens of our acknowledgment that sin deeply perverts all man made institutions, and that government can never right that in this world. It is a spiritual battle we all keep trying to fight intellectually, and we can’t win that way. In Jesus day, the Parisees wanted to cling to their traditional values (you DID hear Ronald Reagan’s name come up a lot during campaigns, right?) The Saducees were the progressives of their day, so arrogantly sure they could think there way out of Israel’s mess. The Zealots just wanted to kill everybody who didn’t agree, the ISIS of their time. The Essenes wanted to fill their caves with food and water and hide out, separate themselves, not have to engage with the world’s dirty little secrets. They were the original preppers! Well, what we need is exactly what Jesus prescribes in Matthew 5, starting with a poverty of spirit that admits we are wrong-and we a ARE ALL wrong in one way or another when we refuse to hear what another person says, when we cry foul every time we don’t get our way, when we see evil and injustice and oppression and turn away without a care… Yes, we have all fallen short, we are all sinners, and we live as if there isn’t a holy God to be faced. So, ideals are fine. But they won’t change sin. Even outrage at what appears to be sustained bigotry, overt elitism, unfair advantages to only some of the population (etc.) has a place, but it won’t change sin. Throwing your hands up in despair won’t change sin. But prayer, and repentance, and lamentation and mourning and delighting in God can change the whole world. Want to see change? Make yourself small in the presence of a holy God and dare to see the results.

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