Friday, March 5, 2010

Tribalism, Terrorism, and Twisted Truth

I am looking out of the window at a lovely SE Kentucky Friday afternoon filled with sunshine and rising temps. A piece of mail this week reported the expose of a confidential Republican National Committee fundraising proposal. This bizzare proposal revealed the hidden planning of the National Republican Party to run "an aggressive campaign capitalizing on 'fear' of President Barack Obama and a promise to 'save the country from trending toward socialism.'"

I have received many such emails that portray the President as a non-American, an undercover Muslim, a totally untrustworthy man filled with subversive ideas for destroying America.I find these filled with half-truths, and slanted so as to leave me and any other reader convinced of the untrustworthiness of both the president and his fellow Democrats. This is not confined to the Republican Party; both parties use it whenever they find it expedient to do so ... all with an air of innocence and great integrity.

Such juicy tactics tell tidbits of truth, accompanied by an abundance of half-truths. They carry ship loads of mental, emotional, and political warping as baggage. The completed products are generally a far cry from the original nugget of true ore. They defend America against this President Obama as ficercely loyal citizens.

This political terrorism is as subversive to American values as are other acts of terror calculated to destroy prominent American sites. It is destructive of American values and it reveals an America filled with moral flaws. It is part of a larger picture of typical Western values today as portrayed in our advertising industry, where everything is appearance and nothing is substance; it must all be interpreted in context if one discovers any real truth.

I for one am disenchanted with media advertising; I find it difficult to believe in any product or individual, unless I know them at their core. They leave me with a total sense of distrust in everything and everybody. I find this distructive and unAmerican, for the America I once knew had a core goodness that said people are innocent until proven guilty. Today, too many people and products are "half-true" unless proven otherwise.

Then I read this quote that comes from Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite in Deadly Viper Character Assassins (Zondervan, 2009). It tells a different story about what sank the Titanic…

Most people think an iceberg sank the ship, but Wess Stafford (president of Compassion International) said that's only half the story… No, the Titanic sank because of 3 million faulty rivets that held the steel to the ship's hull. Apparently, during the manufacturing of these riv-ets, the plant cut a few corners and used substandard iron to save a few bucks. The force of the collision with the iceberg created immense pressure on the rivets, which caused them to catastrophically fail. Thus, the steel plating of the shop's hull catapulted off the frame allowing the freezing waters of the Atlantic to rush inside the doomed ship…

As Stafford concludes, "We must realize life is about the rivets, the little details… When the pressure comes, will we be able to stand the force or will our hull be compromised?"

There is no doubt, American life is fragmenting and dividing, tribalizing. Party spirits and partisanship pulls us apart one rivet at a time, one party from another, company by company, person by person. How long will the hull of America's Ship of State stand the pressures against it? How soon will life as we know it totally destruct with the compromises brought by the terrorists that tell half truths? How long before the iceberg sinks us?

There once lived a man that lived among us without guile; he lived as "the way, and the truth, and the life John 14:6). As one of his followers today, I find that real living comes in pursuing 'the truth' and that if we pursue the truth far enough it will lead us to God.

The honest pursuit of truth will free us from the lostness of lies, the perversity and disorientation of half-truths (political or commercial), from the fragmentation of partial-truth, and from the destruction of our society. Let your "yes" be "yes" Jesus taught, and let your "no" be "no." Only a restoration of truth can save us.

This is Wayne,walking with

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