CHARLOTTESVILLE

Charlottesville_picAfter the Charlottesville demonstration blew up in the news, I found myself asking, “What exactly, is the alt (alternative) right?”

I didn’t care much for what I found, but I admit, I was amazed at the extensive world out there!  For example:

Beside the blog group with the name sake, “Alt Right”, there’s the Identitarian movement, a white nationalist movement that advocates a return to “traditional western values”.  The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi white supremacist website; the Traditionalist Youth Network which supports “white supremacist view of Christianity” (as if that’s possible); The American Nazi Party; National Anarchism out of Britain that subscribes to each race living in their own confederation; The Council of Conservative Citizens, an American white supremacist group, and the list goes on and on.

 

Needless to say, we could venture just as far into the left.  Each group claims to be enlightened, each group claims to be reasonable and open, but somehow it always slides into exclusivity, violence, and hate… lots and lots of hate!  Ultra-left or right, either way; they’re OK with you… until you disagree with them!

 

It makes me think of the letters of John.  Some 2000 years ago, he was dealing with the same thing, just by different names.  In the face of that same polarized human mentality, here’s a summary of what he said:

  • He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (1 John 2:9)
  • Whoever hates his brother is a murderer… (1 John 3:15)
  • If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (I John 4:20)

 

I should also add that the ancient Hebrew saw “hate” a bit differently than we do.  “Satam” (saw-tam’) in the Hebrew or “miseo” (mis-eh’-o) in the New Testament Greek, can mean to detest or actively persecute, but it can also mean to simply “love less.”  The idea being; you don’t detest someone, you just prefer others more.  It’s preferential treatment, usually of our own little group.

 

I guess that’s why special interest groups give me an uneasy feeling, no matter what the interest.  If we’re all about women, men, black, white, English or Hispanic, or whatever, it is inherently preferential.  We “love less.”  When we devalue even one portion of humanity, we devalue being human.  Consider the sad history of human atrocity, it all starts with dehumanizing someone.

 

In our society, it seems the collective cry is getting louder.  We are a nation born out of unity; it is even our name!  Yet, we are watching our society polarize and fracture.  How did we get here?  …One thing I’ve noticed is just how far both the left and right have moved from God, as God defines Himself.

 

But it’s not just the left or right, it’s us in the middle.  With each passing year we move further from a Biblical view of the world; of life; even of God Himself!  The average adult today knows less of what the Bible really says than a first grader in the days this nation was born. (Just check out the original “New England Primer!” You can find it on Amazon.)

 

As people continue to radicalize in all directions, we are losing more than a common world view, we are losing a wise one; we have certainly lost a holy one.  If any of us think we are walking in the light, or that we love God as we love others less, we are liars, and the first person to whom we are lying, is ourselves.  Logic would dictate that if we are so prone to lie to ourselves, we need someone greater than ourselves.

 

We don’t need a return to “traditional values” or religion, or even a relevant brand of Christianity, we need a return to the PERSON of GOD.  Then again, that’s been what we’ve needed since we first tasted of knowledge of good and evil.  God said, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and … seek my face and turn from their wicked ways … I will … heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

God says, the offer still stands.  ~And that’s certainly food for thought.

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