[written January 11, 2021]
In recent months, I have been pursuing a theory that selfishness is an underlying motive in many of our sinful attitudes and actions. Discovering an adamant core of selfishness in myself was revolutionary.
But selfishness, greedy as it is, does not account for everything. I am noticing how it joins forces with deep-seated fear of suffering. Think of how often now we hear Christians expressing concern over what they perceive as rising persecution (and presumably its attendant suffering). How do they deal with this fear? Do they — do we — say, “As a follower of Jesus, I expect suffering, and will not run away from it?” I’m afraid there’s very little of that. Instead, we see many in the Church run to the shelter of whatever political ideology seems most likely to insure their safety, in the process giving aid and comfort to the selfishness that drives others to that ideology. Unfortunately, we tend to become like our companions. If our companions are driven by selfishness, we’ll tend to become more selfish. Thus, the deep motives feed each other [I need to work out this relationship a little better].
Am I saying that there’s another political ideology out there that IS safe harbor, that is driven by pure motives? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Rather, I think we must hold very lightly any association we have with a particular spot on the political spectrum. For Christians, marching orders must come from Christ, not from the polarized cow patties of politics.
Thank you for posting your thoughts on these things. How is it that every institution in our society, and every difficult event (freezing weather), has become politicized?
Scott, ain’t that the truth! For understanding hyper-polarization, I turn first to Jonathan Haidt, and recommend his writing (I have read “The Righteous Mind” and watched some of his Ted talks).
A friend at Dallas Seminary recently recommended this “online conversation” between Jonathan Haidt and Peter Wehner: https://www.ttf.org/portfolios/jonathan-haidt-and-peter-wehner. I started watching that late last night and will have to rewatch it because I fell asleep (not boring, I was just sleepy!).
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