So I spent a few hours last night at the bookstore reading the 40th Rolling Stone Anniversary magazine issue. After a scathing introduction of the Bush administration and how they have completely, in their opinion, destroyed America through their ignorance, lust, and power hungry tactics, they moved on to interview forty prominent Americans asking them questions about the state of the country, the world, the problems, and the hopes that lie ahead in our future. They had the inventor of the World Wide Web, Bill Gates and Bono, of course, and then other people off the beaten path like genome experts, authors, scientists, actors, religion professors, and others.
If you love George Bush, don’t pick up this magazine, you will leave in a rage. If you think the world might be close to ending, that the problems are vast, and that if we don’t do something pretty soon we will be in a complete religious war of the worlds, with a failing ecosystem, and a broken government, this issue might be the one for you. It will inspire you to action, and still, probably leave you in a rage.
Without sharing any of my own political opinions or views, which are underdeveloped and mostly ignorant, and without favoring republicans, democrats, liberals, conservatives or others…I have a few thoughts.
Jeez, I already feel like a politically correct sleazy politician.
I finished reading this magazine last night feeling beat up. Terrified. Sad. Having a crisis of faith. Mad. A lot of things. The opinions were harsh. Scathing as I said before. The prognosis: fatal. The blame, the anger, the finger pointing, relentless. The ideas for the future, drastic. The bitterness, never ending. The fear…slightly overwhelming. The astonishment at how many educated people thought that people of faith were playing a make-believe game that did way more violence than good was heartbreaking. And talk about scare tactics, the whole magazine was a scare tactic for me.
My fear is that we hear the topics covered in this magazine: global warming, failing government, religious wars, alternate energy sources, clean water and medicine for impoverished countries, new foreign policy approaches, and so on and so on and we completely freak out and we check out. Global warming? I haven’t taken a biology, ecology, or any other sort of science based class since my freshman year of college, which was almost ten years ago. So, naturally, I can’t understand global warming…I just won’t try. Maybe we claim ignorance and so we don’t go there, or maybe we are just plain lazy; either way, I am afraid that the average American, and the average Christian have just plain checked out. Government? Global Warming? People’s views of our faith? Peace? Poverty? Not my problem.
71 million people didn’t even vote in the last election. Were you one of them?
The world is at a pivotal place right now, it really and truly is. The problems are not being made up; they are real. I am sitting outside right now in shorts and a spaghetti strap shirt trying to endure the heat of the sun and it is December 5th…so can we really say there is nothing wrong with the atmosphere, with the globe? Believe me, it is warm, this is not a natural Texas Christmas; whether you believe in global warming or not, the truth is, we are not protecting and taking care of the world God has given us. That’s a pretty hard issue to deny. But beyond that, religious wars, the age-old clash of the east and west, the bio-nuclear and nuclear arms race that is re-appearing not in governments, but in rogue terrorist cells, these things all exist. The need for clean water, clean air, medicines, the end of poverty, the unity of humanity…these things must be addressed.
The thing is, these people, and by “these people” I mean the people in the magazine, the right wing evangelical conservatives, the over the top liberal, whoever, pick a group, pick a cause…they know what they believe and they are taking action. Just pick up the magazine and read for yourself. They are passionate, whether right or wrong, they are passionate and on the move. They have ideas for the future, they have opinions about the state of the world, and they will not back down. They are armed with facts, statistics, money, and more frightening, with the ability to mass communicate their ideas to anyone who will listen.
So we can keep shopping, celebrating Christmas, living our rather small lives oblivious or uninterested in these drastic world issues, refusing to dive into them or being afraid to dive in, or just plain ignoring them, but the warning is, if you do not take an interest and develop an opinion and take a stand on something, I promise you, someone else will. And they are already doing so.
As a Christian I was mortified to read the recent major newspaper survey that showed most American Christians did not know the books of the bible or the bible characters. That Joan of Arc was believed to be in the Bible and that the average Christian student thought Noah was in the New Testament. There is no excuse for this on any level. We can no longer be lazy, ignorant, or apathetic people. It is your faith: so know it, believe it, love it, claim it, and educate yourself on it. It is our country: so vote, study the candidates, know some issues, know a little bit about the world, discover your opinions and the facts that you base them on.
Look, this is a longer blog than usual, but I am truly concerned with our apathy. If we do not have a voice, if we sit back and let someone else think for us, they will. Seriously, read the magazine if you don’t believe me. We have an obligation as humans and as people of faith to know and understand the world in which we live and to contribute something to it, to be good stewards of our brains, our education, our activism, our time, and our money. We have a moral obligation to take care of the earth, to take care of humanity, to end wars, to promote peace, and to educate ourselves on how that can be done, and then start to do something about it.
If you do not think and act; someone will think and act for you.
I don’t understand everything. I can’t. I cannot be passionate about everything, I cannot take on every cause, in fact I pretty much suck at taking on just one cause. One of the guys that reads this blog works at a think tank in DC, I cannot be that person…brilliant and knowledgeable and completely devoted to figuring things out. I wish I could. But that is not my life, that is not how my mind works, that is not how I am wired.
However…I can do some things and so can you. Pick a few issues that are important to you and study them. Healthcare. Global warming. Education funding. Poverty. Africa. Pick something, pick anything, and educate yourself. Only when we are educated can we truly be driven to effect change. And as humans living on this earth, as Americans living in this country, and as people of faith living this life given to us as a gift we are obligated to be the promoters of change, the voice of reason, and the promise of hope for a better world. We can only do these things when we are educated, engaged, involved, and active. So do something.