When there is a government budget deadlock, which is rare by the way, we all have our villain spotted in the mess. Our villains include Fox News if you are lean one way or MSNBC if you are on the other team. With the economy we can blame big banks for the loss of our home value, our realtor for the bad price we paid for it or either the current or former president for not doing the right thing.
Villains are always right there in front of us and the media of all kinds from broadcast to Facebook gladly feeds our shark like hunger 24-hours a day in every time zone. The noise from this screaming drives the media. There is no better way to get an audience or reaction than to point out flaws, blame a loser or complain about bad service on twitter, blogs or even the local news.
Even worse, we decry “fundamentalism” because I believe it is nice to categorize villains and extremists in some other class than the rest of us. It is either the radical Islamic plot to take us down like 9/11 or, in Norway, a Christian fundamentalist bomber bent on saving his culture. Could it be that you and I are really not that different from these people? Could our views be extreme to someone and make them feel the same emotions we feel about them? We claim their insanity, but perhaps we are naive. Perhaps. Maybe, there is a fundamentalist lurking within each of us.
Am I the villain? Think about it. Congress is voted in by us. We chose to overextend our living using homes as ATM machines. Fox News or MSNBC exist because of you and I. As you and I enjoy and praise the prices of Walmart we also may be enslaving a child who makes those $10 shoes across the planet. As we hug a tree, we may be ripping away the job of an honest blue collar logger. Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.
With all the villains we see, a hero cannot win with the cards we have dealt. We all understand there are winners and losers in economic as well as social issues. So, we draw a line in the sand. Then nobody wins. Like with our doomsday nuclear arsenal, we make sure of that. No reasoned conversation can exist. It means that improving the environment is not acceptable if it at all slows jobs. It means that certain groups demand rights with disregard of the historical context of thousands of years.
Freedom of and from religion does not have to mean its abolition. Even many of my fellow Christians claim to be “non religious” in order to be more palatable. Recently, a large organization removed “crusade” because of course those were bad in history. We want to not offend. Fundamentalists are the ones who offend, so you and I better not be one of those.
People of faith have it in their hands to deal the best cards today. Our restraint is not in neutering our message or marketing the distinctiveness from our lingo. It is in having the belief that evil exists in us all and that good is possible–with God’s intervention in and through us. If we leave it to media, the talking heads and our politicians than we are left with too much spice and no substance. If we leave it to the elites who fuel these and other institutions to think for us, then we cannot be people who see change that can better all of us.
You say, “But I am not a fundamentalist!” Really? The reason fundamentalists scare you and I is because we cannot see ourselves believing anything strongly enough to sacrifice our lives to see it come to pass. This is true even of most people of “faith” today. We live small and fear what price anything more requires of us.
But, we do believe! We believe in our materialism, our kid’s suburban soccer league, or in the freedom to watch TV for hours on end. We choose our path with a cost, whether or not we are cognizant of it. Living for self is our God. We completely recoil in terror from anyone who lives differently. But, it is not about being selfless, it is about being beyond self. This what a hero is, right? The hero gets the wound or worse as he fights for more than his flawed self. Are not heroes as crazy as we think “fundamentalists” are? Perhaps.
So, do you have a fundamentalist lurking inside of you waiting to get out? All it takes is a Pearl Harbor event to awaken. Do you agree?