Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Requited Anger

It's the latest storm in the culture war and I'm not alarmed.  Again.  And, I'm beginning to wonder, "Why?"  Why don't I join the chorus and lob my verbal bombs on social media like most everyone else?  Why don't I lock arms with my Christian brothers and sisters in righteous indignation and march against the foes of decency?  Why am I not seething with unrequited anger over football players kneeling during the national anthem, or statues of confederate soldiers removed from public view, or ten commandments defaced in front of the courthouse, or ad infinitum ad nauseum.

Is there something wrong with me?  Why don't these things bother me?  I can't say my heart has grown cold because these tussles have never warmed my heart.  Back in the day, when the flag was sown into clothing, or when Olympic athletes raised their fist during the national anthem, or when Christians campaigned for dry counties or blue laws--these things never incited my sense of divine wrath.  Honestly--I'm not trying to be dense--I never understood why Christians got so upset over these issues.

Of course, I'm more inclined to think about the kingdom of God and how American nationalism has little effect on it (for if it did, then all the other nations would be in trouble until we got our act together).  And, since I've been called by God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, then that surely is enough to keep me busy--perhaps even entitling me to look down my nose on all of these "misguided" Christians who seem completely obsessed with temporal (even trivial?) things.  And yet, to strike such a pious pose seems just as dangerous to me as the righteous indignation of the culture warriors.

But still, I wonder why I don't get angry about these things.  Is it because my aim is true and theirs isn't?  Is it because I have my priorities straight and they don't?  Or, is it because, deep down, I'm really not grateful for the sacrifices others have made for our country?  I want to be thankful.  I want to appreciate those who make sacrifices to serve our communities, our nation, our people.

But, then again, these people chose to work in these "service professions."  In fact, they get paid to do it.  Plus, if you recognize them with accolades (especially those who have had to commit atrocities during war), they deflect the praise.  Of course, if we had a selection service that was compulsory, where we forced certain people to serve in the armed forces (at home and abroad), that would be a different story.  Then, I think, I might get angry over displays of disrespect.  But, that's not the case here.  I'll say it again:  these people chose their professions and they get paid to do it.  In fact, they're not unlike ministers, or teachers, or linemen (who risk their lives making sure we have power), or garbage collectors--people who get paid to serve our community.  And yet, we don't have rituals to make sure they know how much we appreciate them.  Why not?  What makes some people worthy of respect and others not?

 Maybe that's why I don't get angry over the sight of privileged athletes choosing to kneel during the National Anthem.  No one says, "How dare they disrespect public school teachers like that"--which says more about us (and our highly selective requited anger) than it does about them.