Monday, April 16, 2007

Civility

I'm praying that the Imus runoff (or the Richards runoff, or the Gibson runoff, or the fill-in-offensive-person's-name-here runoff) flows both upstream and down. The language of common discourse has become way too common: we are increasingly and disturbingly uncivil to each other.  Point to rap singers calling women "ho's" if you will, but right alongside that has been politicians naming critics as "treasonous".  Sitcoms are nearly universally based on unkindness; Fox News is legendarily vicious and distorted. Aggressive driving is the norm, as is driving while under the influence of phone (and having "private" conversations in public places, impolite to both the conversant and the bystanders). My liberal friends think nothing of trashing the right wing as "intolerant" or "inflexible" while they smugly hold their positions and sneer. And back the other way as well. 
 
I'm all for honesty and frankness, and have no nostalgia for the falsehood of the 50s facade. But we have fouled our own homes, and wonder aloud when we emerge from the muck, stinking.
 
"First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."  I've caught myself thinking and speaking unkindly about strangers who have done me no wrong, other than crossing my path on a busy day.  May God wash me, and us, and make us humble with each other.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Amen! When politicians label the oppostion as treasonous or unpatriotic or aiding and abeting the enemy, it poisons the dialogue, or, in fact, it ends any possibility of dialogue. Our nation's governance is designed to operate by means of dialogue, give and take, compromise ... and on treating the political opposition with respect, believing that both sides are motivated by love for their country.

Just as Jesus intends the church to operate understanding that "both sides" are motivated by love for their Lord! "If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples." Calling each other names, and refusing to discern the spiritual passion that lies behind any political stance, whether from the left or from the right, does not serve the cause of Christ. We need to listen to each other, and love each other, if we are to be the church Christ intends us to be.

Elane said...

Tim, re "both sides are motivated by love for their Lord" -- I believe that Jerry Falwell and I will be greatly surprised to see each other in the Kingdom. And I pray that changes.