How did it come to this? When I was a boy, my parents held to the idea of ‘absolute truth,’ and with it the idea of absolute goodness, morality, and all of the ways and means that came from that. Leaders could be found, systems could be created, decisions could be made that would ultimately be good because God was out there somewhere. He would point us to the truth, and sort out the lies. The liars would go to hell, is what the Bible said. All I see, though, is the corruption and stagnation of our people. It seems that the truth never shines through, justice doesn’t seem to overcome the mess in front of us. There are lots and lots of people who are excited about what’s happening, as if this is the way things are supposed to be. I don’t know how to process it, except that I may be missing something. Is this the way things are supposed to be? Is this true democracy? True justice? True goodness?
We here have a few options left.
1) There is no “absolute truth.” There just isn’t, and there never was. God isn’t here, or there, and he isn’t going to reveal the ‘truth’ or whatever because he’s not real.
2) There is “absolute truth,” we have just failed to find it. God is doing his part but somehow we aren’t. We can’t seem to find the truth.
3) There is “absolute truth,” and this is it. We are living it. This is God working through the mess.
There are variations of these, and this is not meant to be theological prose. In asking the question, where is God in our political process? Or for that matter, where is God in our societal institutions (education, healthcare, and more). It seems that he is absent. The other question I want to pose is, what if he’s wholly, 100% involved in the political process? And maybe, if that’s the case, we are receiving exactly the politicians, leaders, and systems we have asked for. Maybe we, as greedy, racist, angry, divisive, violent, sexist, maybe we get the politicians we deserve… And did I mention greedy? Maybe we as people are reflected in our politicians. We have demanded more for ourselves, and we have leaders who promise that very thing. We want to be tax-free, comforted, bullying, dominating, winners. We want to run the world, we want everyone to be afraid of us, we want our bank accounts to grow and for everyone else to pay for it.
If there is a God in this country, he is not a trinity, there’s only two of them. Greed and war. We pray to the God of war by the hollow rhetoric of supporting our troops, and voting in politicians who march us to dozens of wars. You have to count every mercenary, military base, military contractor, every ship in the ocean. Our military covers the whole world. To say anything against the next war is to be a coward, unpatriotic, it is damnable. To be a politician saying such a thing is to end one’s career. Who is the anti-war candidate? We don’t want them, I think. The winning slogan, the call to worship of the God of war is “security.” If there are tents in the mountains of Iraq filled with men who hate us, we have to drop bombs on them in the name of security. This makes sense in the religion of war. We got those politicians, we celebrate them, and we deserve them.
We pray to the God of money in earnest. There is a priesthood to this God of money, they are every Wall St. firm and employee, every financial adviser, they are the whole industry of money and making more of it. There is a prophet of the God of money, who runs the Fed. There is a Messiah of the God of money, he is every huckster politician who comes along and promises that our economy will grow. It is a foregone conclusion that we have to have more, it’s just a matter of which King we will let us lead us to that place. To be “blessed” is to have more. To have less is to be lazy, shameful, cursed or forgotten by God. Because the God of money wants his people to have more, and he blesses them by giving them more. This thinking is birthed in the worship of the God of money. We get the kings and prophets, the politicians we deserve when we worship money.
By way of tying these ideas together, I have to reject the idea that God, the real God, has left us. He’s here. And he’s giving us what we deserve. The idols we have put in front of him have failed us, that’s why we are here. That’s why we are looking at an election in a long series of elections where we are paying our dues. We are reaping our worship of false gods, and this is what we deserve.