That sick feeling you had when you got rolling today; what is that?
After you finished the get-ready process and tuned in on what’s waiting for you – out there, in the world you’re commuting into – how did that tune you up for your day?
Oh, yeah: we’re at war… and you’re in the middle of the battlefield.
It’s a sweeping declaration, but it’s true on so many levels. If you have a news consolidator that you use to get current on world affairs, updates on the War on Terror will make the way to the top story. A bombing in a place of worship or a crowded public market will evoke anxiety. If the global front is in momentary respite, a hearing on Capitol Hill will be portrayed as untempered blood-sport; there is no sense of dignity within the marble halls when partisan divides draw live fire.
Upon arrival at the office, “locked and loaded” is a posture assumed if you want to finish the day without landing on the casualty list. Whether vying for promotion among co-workers or the fight for a contract between the competitors in your niche, it means war from 9:00am to 5:00pm. That red-dot on your chest isn’t lint: someone has you in their sights, and the kill-shot may be imminent…
The troops are lining-up on the 2020 political battlefield. Dozens of self-nominated contenders aspire to be the commanding general for the two parties who will fight to the death for power in Washington. Whoever becomes the nominee will mobilize their forces against the opposition. The strategy for victory will be the same: Divide and Conquer.
It’s traced back to Julius Caesar as his plan for triumph in the Gaelic Wars. Drive wedges between the enemy’s ranks, then move against the segmented groupings, one at a time. Dis-unify a significant force; raise an “every man for himself” panic, and then overwhelm them.
For the next 18 months in America, Identity Politics will employ Julius Caesar’s approach to the battle. Divide and Conquer: separate people into groups – based on their perceived special interests – and use those compressed qualifiers to manipulate their movements on the electoral battlefield.
The question will be asked constantly, but thinly veiled: Who are you, at the core?
Categories are multiplying. Gender? Once binary, now there are multiple options. Privileged, or exploited? Capitalist, or Socialist? Sexual Orientation? Once impossible to imagine in polite banter, there is now an alphabet-soup of differences based on preferred approaches to intimacy. Religious, or godless? Global view, or domestic focus? The identity-tags pare the crowd to make us a divided populace with increasing isolation and victor-or-victim reactions unleashing a torrent of trouble.
Paul wrote to the cosmopolitan Christians in Corinth and called-out the “orientations” (in Bible terms, that’s sinful behavior that has become second nature for those living outside a relationship with God, on his terms)that were commonly used in the cultural context. Would Identity Politics work to divide the church? Paul’s challenge: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6). They were no longer the person they were, before they experienced the Lord Jesus.
Whatever the rank assumed by the culture, Christians possess a new identity: who they – and, we – had become through Faith was now the over-riding answer to the greatest question of life.
Who Are You? You are now a Child of God, and that’s the only identity that matters…