Chapel Hill Family,
We entered the second rotation of our Rolling Lenten Fast this week. We continue our daily prescribed fasts which we undertake as we seek to calibrate our focus on and trust in our God of love and grace. As we do so, there is a tiny part of our fast I would like to highlight and emphasize in this election season: individualism as it relates to our media consumption.
On the day in which we fast from individualism, part of what we are challenged to fast from is from media sources which help keep us in an echo chamber and affirm what we already believe. They also demonize all who believe and behave differently than we do. What if on this day of fast we commit to stepping away from our favored media sources and listened to other voices? What if, on days we are not doing this fast from individualism, we fact check the assertions of our favored sources of information? What might we learn about ourselves? What might we learn about political rhetoric? What might we learn about the demonization of those who are different from us?
Then, I challenge you to hear from the voices of those who have a different point of view, not just in media but in conversation. Do not dismiss them as politically correct, or a snowflake, or a right-wing nut, or any other pejorative terms used in political “discussion.” Listen to them and try to understand why they believe what they believe. Find what you have in common.
We need to do this, even after Lent, because 2020 is yet another election year. Political voices will be trying to create fear and hate to rip us apart. These voices will seek to appeal to our inner confirmation bias which tempts us to accept things as true when they are not because they affirm what we already believe. This is not to say there are not important issues at hand and that solving these issues will not necessitate conflict. But we, baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, can lead the way in handling these conflicts in nonviolent, non-demonizing, peacemaking ways.
Grace and peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen