They say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. Isaiah 65:5
There’s a stench in the air. It’s the pungent smell of arrogance. I smell it in both American culture and the culture of the Church. It has trickled down from above, not from a heavenly above, but from the heads of churches and of state. Our country, our church, our ideology, our politics is better than yours! In fact, I’m better than you!
The Left is smarter than the Right and the Right is more moral than the Left. Social media and talk radio self-proclaimed pundits bolster their frail egos by preaching to the converted with bluster and conceit. Don’t forget folks, we’re better than them! If they disagree with us and our candidate or our theology they’re fools, idiots––stupid and depraved! Name-calling and slathering paint with the broadest brush possible is a favorite pastime.
All smoke in God’s nostrils!
“The essential vice, the utmost evil,” says C.S Lewis, “is pride… Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” And again, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
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Like Covid, from too close a contact with the angry spirit of the media (social and otherwise), we’ve been infected with the contagion of condescension.
I can only imagine Jesus’ frustration with us over our sluggish progress toward the goal of humility. If our lukewarmness makes him nauseous, our arrogance brings tears to his eyes, the kind that come from campfire smoke blown in his face. The degree to which we treat each other as competitors and the world as enemies, we fail as followers of the one who was born in a barn, washed feet, and arrived at his “coronation” on a donkey.