Getting Rid of the Sitcom Mentality As We Talk About Charleston, Confederate Flags, & the SCOTUS Ruling

I’d like to think that I’m doing my best to not live my life as if it were a sitcom. Here’s what I mean. Many sitcoms have no memory of prior events but rather every new episode quickly becomes consumed with that show’s plot. I know they only have 22 minutes, and a sitcom’s job is not to inform how anyone lives but rather tb to make money and if possible, entertain for a given time. But sometimes, I’d love for a sitcom to begin with, “Wow, wasn’t yesterday crazy?? I’m still thinking about it!”

I’d really like to avoid living this way, however, it’s easy to get caught up on in a sitcom way of life by the way we consume our news, relationships and schedules, even the way some of us consume our faith. Many times, we are living in reaction to what is front of us. There’s a new crisis, there’s an urgent plot to be resolved and don’t even get be started on the “characters” but the sooner we get through it, the sooner we can get back to “normal life.”

It’s good for our hearts and minds to to keep processing, reflecting, moving through what we’re experiencing because the weekend doesn’t actually make things go away. But rather, the weekend provides us an opportunity to reset, breath, recreate, breath, recenter, breath and renew (and yeah, keep breathing). For church-goers it’s the idea of the Sabbath. For non-church goers, may they be refreshed by their own choosing but it’s very obvious that scores of us are still processing last week this week.

I’m still praying and grieving for what happened in Charleston two weeks ago now. And although my social media feeds have not mentioned it yet, I’m losing my mind of all the churches that have been burned. Some are predominantly black churches being arsoned, some are not. What is going on as I’m a bit cynical towards coincidence. Then there’s the confederate flag issue, which I have a lot of thoughts about but unsure if I’ll post them. Again, really trying to avoid that sitcom mentality trap.

And certainly this week I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking, reading up, discussing, and corresponding with friends and new friends on the SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage. There are so many streams to this conversation that saying anything potentially leaves you insensitive to a host of other legitimate questions and concerns. At this point in our cultural conversation, I think we all know the complexity of this and so I appeal to the reader to do their share of discernment of what I’m saying and not saying.

For those of us who have been talking about same-sex marriage, we knew some version of this day was inevitable. I for one, do not want anyone to be discriminated against and if I may, I do not want to be discriminated against either. Further I do not want to live in a Christian theocracy, but I do not want my religious liberties violated. I want all my friends, whether they be straight, gay, figuring it out, to live happy, fulfilling, peace and joy-filled lives. I wish this for my non-friends too.

This is part of the imagio-dei (the Biblical understanding of the dignity and personhood God gives everyone). Ultimately, I believe our identity and meaning is found in the Christian vision of God who lovingly created us and invites us to live full lives of redemption. And there’s a lot for us to say about that. It should be also noted some of us within the Church have different understandings and hermeneutics concerning our Holy Scriptures. There are also many outside the Church that do not see the Bible as a governing voice in their lives and believe it should not be a predominant factor in the law-making in our society. As a believer of free-will, religious liberty (which includes the right to hold, limit or choose to have religion or no religion), I get that, and respect such convictions as I hope mine will be respected as well.

So where does that leave us? Unresolved to say the least. There are so many conversations that need to be had these days ranging from public discourse to to family kitchen table and various in-house conversations. But this is not a sitcom and we’re not characters or actors or pseudo-reality tv types, may we cease the objectifying and caricaturizing of one another. There’s too much hurt, there’s a lot to process and may our words and actions aim more towards bringing healing, unity, and to strengthen the other versus resolving the “episode” in order to create another to be consumed.

P.S. – I’m undecided how much on all this I will actually blog as context on social media is difficult to capture. I blog in hopes of contributing something helpful to some, and based on the encouragement of some, I’ve found fulfillment in this. But I also fear that I might contribute to the noise and even worse, the hurt. So I’m choosing my next steps on social media as wisely as I can. And from what I can tell from either the chosen silence of some or the closing of social media accounts, I’m not alone in this. For those remaining active online, regardless of position/conviction, may we remember that social media gives us all a “pulpit” and as the weeks goes on, may we use all our outlets (social media and face to face interactions) to go beyond cathartic expression and try to better all that is going on around us.

Feel free to connect by email or Facebook message or phone. And I am always up for coffee. Grace and peace, Tim

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