It is quite fashionable to speak of people living in bubbles these days. Most commonly discussed is, of course, the left/right bubble – followed closely by the “Washington bubble.” But if you really think about it there are lots of bubbles. In the wake of the UK elections this past week I was thinking that, “There is no prevent defense in politics.” Theresa May and Hillary Clinton were certainly guilty of trying harder to protect a lead than they were to win an election and a case could be made that Mitt Romney made similar mistakes. That’s a bubble – wrapping oneself up in the polls and projections rather than listening carefully to what is going on around you and on the street. James Comey, definitely a creature of the Washington bubble, found Donald Trump automatically suspicious because he was not from the bubble.
But there are smaller-scale bubbles too. I have been in two kinds of bubble hell this past week. One is a seven-month customer service battle with a company that has one more chance before I name them publicly. I speak to them of the product desired and they speak to me of their procedures, protocols and distribution strategies never hearing what it is that I actually want. What I want can be supplied readily and easily if the people involved just quit thinking about their systems and starting serving the actual paying customer. They are in their own bubble. The other bubble hell is with a, not shockingly, governmental agency. Said agency has accused my client of failing to meet an information request when in fact all the information they have requested, and much more, has been submitted multiple times. When you sit with representatives of said agency and attempt to highlight specific information they are asking for in what was provided they respond simply with, “We cannot read that much.” That’s the ultimate bubble – the information does not exist unless it is presented in exactly the manner demanded.
Bubbles, it seems, are a big problem,…
…a problem that has been exacerbated by the absence of common Christian thought from our daily discourse. Consider:
…Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Let me rephrase that for you just a little, “God and man were not getting along really well so God left His bubble and got into the regular people bubble.” Now, if anybody had a right to stay in their bubble it would be God. Let’s be honest, God created everything and keeps it working – it’s all His bubble. If there is a problem communicating between bubbles, it’s got to be because we left THE bubble. But that did not stop God from leaving His bubble to reach out to us, to understand us, and to communicate with us.
That passage is from the first 11 verses of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, second chapter. If you want to get serious about God it is vitally important to read the whole Bible and deal with all of it. But if you want to distill it all down, in my book those 11 verses have done the job. Consider what comes just before that quotation above:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who,…
In other words, it is your job to leave your bubble, just like Jesus left His. So prevent defense candidates, it is not your job to protect your lead, it is your job to listen. James Comey – it is not your job to make Donald Trump join the DC bubble, it is your job to join his. Companies, it is not the customer’ job to figure out your system to get what they want, it is your job to give them what they want – you are in their bubble, they are not joining yours – regulators likewise.
One more time, Christian basics solve a problem that seems to be tearing everything apart. Note that none of this requires you to join any specific church, or any church at all. Nothing here demands you donate your money to a specific charity or that you engage in an “arcane” sacramental practice. You just need to follow the example of a seminal historical figure.