Contrary to popular belief, no politician can ever save us

I was working on a different post (my favorite U2 songs) and started writing about “Where the Streets Have No Name.” As I wrote, and then watched U2’s Super Bowl halftime performance I was flooded with thoughts. I’m trying to write them down now but mostly I can’t shake the thought that no politician, no man, no woman, no Republican or Democrat, nor any government in the world can save us. It seems like (at least in an election year), we cast all our hopes and dreams on the person running for office… as if our future depends solely on him or her. Well, guess what? It doesn’t. No matter who gets elected, they can’t save you. They can’t save me.

The place where “the streets have no name” is Heaven, just to get that out there. To me, the song is about dropping our differences and longing to be in Heaven… with God… where being with Him is all that matters. But while we’re on earth we have differences with people. We disagree. We fight. We tweet. I’m guilty of all of it.

The current of division in America right now is strong because so many people think they are right and the other side is wrong. Having a media that plays up the division just for ratings doesn’t help, either. So often I just have to turn the news off and voilá, I’m calm. Take a look at the next newscast in your city… what colors are on the screen when they talk about the news? Coronavirus, voting issues, politics, these topics are often scripted in red or have red backgrounds. This is very much on purpose to remind us of fear, being scared, and ultimately maintaining unrest. OK, that’s a little bit of a side rant!

As I watched the U2 performance, I sighed because I miss the America we were in the weeks and months after the 9/11 tragedy. We were united. Surely on September 12th we still had political, faith, race, ethnicty, many differences but I don’t remember any of those mattering. In the weeks that followed the tragedy, people from all over were going to New York City to help clean up. People were donating blood. The heartbreaking events of that evil day out of us brought the best, and to the back burner we shuffled the rest.

I sincerely hope we can be there again but this time by choice. We don’t need evil people to remind us that we are all born with a desire to find good in the world. It’s in our broken nature to care for one another however we see that working. But I don’t really see that much right now, probably because it’s an election year. Politics seem to bring out the worst in us. A tweet from a woman I follow on Twitter said it so well:

@SassyFNP

If anything, watching the U2 performance and reflecting on the state of the union, I was also reminded of the lyrics of a song by The Avett Brothers:

Life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected…

“Head Full of Doubt/ Road Full of Promise” The Avett Brothers

Sure some things go this way and other things go that way but like I said at first, no one can make you happy about your life. A Democrat gets elected? So what. A Republican gets elected? So what. How is my heart? How is your heart? If we’re waiting for a savior to come and preside over our great country, it’s not going to happen. People are flawed. We are messed up. But the good news is there IS a place we can go to fill the void we often try to fill with celebrities or politicians or protests or riots or boycotts or whatever. It’s not church. But the answer is often there. I’m talking about God. He’s been the answer for thousands (or millions, for all you evolutionists out there 😉 ) of years for all people in all circumstances.

I have placed my faith in Him and the One declared to be His son, Jesus. No matter what happens in politics, the ups and downs and the victories and heartaches, I’m SO glad my hope isn’t in the man or woman elected. My challenge to you today is to think beyond the differences you have with people. Think beyond the person we elect to lead our community, city, state, country. Ask yourself, and I will ask myself, too: What is it I’m hoping this person will fix in my life? And if the answer is anything besides taxes and better roads, let’s pray to God for that and give Him a chance to come through.

What do ya say?

-Out of the Wilderness

What Faith Is

It just takes some time,
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine.
Everything, everything will be alright, alright.
“The Middle” -Jimmy Eat World

During a discussion a few days ago this question arose, “What is faith?” The answers varied but most included the themes of trust, belief, and God. It’s true, when the word “faith” is spoken, it’s most often in the context of spiritual behavior. But in it’s simplest form, the word means confidence or trust in a person or thing. You have faith in the chair you sit in at work. You have faith when someone calls you that your phone will ring. Those are examples rooted in proven results. You believe your phone will ring because that’s what it’s done in the past when someone called. That’s a learned faith. There’s a second kind, blind faith. I like to think of blind faith this way: trust without experimentation. Without any testing or experiences to rely on, you still choose to believe.

During the conversation, the word “unnatural” kept coming to my mind. People that accomplish big things do so by having faith in the work they put in, faith in the operating system, faith in their ability, faith in something. But to have faith in anything is counter-intuitive. It’s not natural because we, as humans, typically don’t trust first. We experiment first. We stick our toes in to weigh if the experience will hurt us or help us. We want the best for ourselves, and having faith in something else means giving up our own comfort, or more accurately, giving up the control over our own comfort. Faith is self-denying, or else it’s not faith. And to deny yourself is not natural.

As a child, you have faith your parents will feed you because why? They’ve fed you before. In religion, whether you’re raised to believe in God, that there is no God, or anywhere in between, it could be said that all belief systems have this in common: faith is trusting something you can’t prove. When a person is asked to prove God is real, they could very easily turn the question around and ask you to prove He’s not. I’m sure both sides of that argument could produce strong evidence on why God is or isn’t real and it takes faith to believe either side. I believe God created the earth, the universe, and everything in it. I can’t prove it. But it’s easier for me to believe that than to believe little tiny particles crashed together millions of years ago and now as a result mankind (products of that crash) created something as mysteriously wonderful and technically advanced as the Motorola Drrrroooooiiiiiid. Let’s face it, Droid phones are phenoms like we’ve never seen. iPhones don’t even have a physical keyboard or free built-in navigation. I’m just saying.

People claim the earth is millions of years old. I have no doubt that carbon dating and various tests are probably accurate. But could it be true that God created the earth to look like it was millions of years old? Afterall, He created Adam as an adult male. Any test you did on him would tell you he’s an adult who’d been alive for decades, yet it may have been only days since God created him.

Adam and Eve in the garden

Those with faith in what the Bible says believe that while they are sinners, they are saved from Hell. Martin Luther expressed this quite well in his phrase: Simul justus et peccator. At the same time just and sinner. The faith that they are forgiven and justified even though they are sinners. To turn around and live that as if you’re life depended on it, that’s faith. And that’s really what faith is all about. Putting action behind what you believe.

Afterall, what good is faith in anything if it doesn’t change everything you are about? An unnatural choice to trust first.

Have you ever stared into a starry sky?
Lying on your back you’re asking, “Why?”
“What’s the purpose?” I wonder, “Who am I?”
If you’ve ever stared into a starry sky.
“Have You Ever” -Brandi Carlile