What Now?

How do we respond to the recent election cycle? What actions would make our response wise and profitable? I suggest thinking about two crucial issues: culture, and distraction.

The collective mind (culture) of our country shifted swiftly in recent years, and the Supreme Court ratified the culture change. As Chief Justice Roberts said at the time of the “gay marriage” ruling, whatever you think about the issue, the Supreme Court’s decision had nothing to do with law. It ratified a change in culture.

These changes to our “collective mind” are the result of “addictions”, to entertainment, possessions, comfort . . . These addictions wrote changes onto our nation’s collective brain. The human brain has “plasticity” - our decisions and habits actually change the phyical channels in our brains. The culture has plasticity, too - our thoughts and loves and habits have changed us, and not for the better, in many ways. But there is hope: plasticity is neutral. If the “brain” can be changed in one direction, it can also be “rewritten” in another.

Some changes can come through rewriting government policy. We should want and seek righteous laws. Yet God goes deeper. He does not usually rewrite cultures through policy changes written by the temporarily powerful. He cracks a culture by creating a counter-society within that culture: the church. The foolishness of the cross becomes wisdom to us, and this wisdom shapes us into a counter-society that shapes the larger culture.

But cracking the culture of your street and neighbors is not easy. It requires depth, because the people around you are not two-dimensional stacks of policy beliefs. They swim in the waters of a complex ecosystem of thoughts, lies, voices, loves and misplaced worship. They don’t realize that this ecosystem is slowly poisoning them to death.

We swim there, too. Distraction keeps us superficial, scattering our attention, robbing our efforts of any true value. One suggestion: replace the time you spent checking the political news with “deep reading” of two books. The first is the Bible. Upon waking, check the Bible, not your phone. The second “book” is people. Take time to ponder how God and the gospel can be made clear to people who are either thrilled or apalled at a Trump presidency, or who found their “hopes and dreams” unfulfilled in Clinton’s candidacy.

Humans’ “hopes and dreams” are too big and permanent to be fulfilled by a temporary party, candidate or country. Only the eternal kingdom of the risen Christ, the church being a microscosm, will suffice.