I meant what I said on Thursday, I truly believe the rule of law is at stake in the Kavanaugh confirmation process. I have a pretty high degree of confidence that many people think I am being hyperbolic in such talk. And yet, if I am, my hyperbole is quite minor compared to some of what I am seeing out there. People have so much wrapped up in this now. There are, I kid you not, “support groups” to help people get through all this. In other words, people have so much emotional stake in this game that their daily functioning is being diminished. That people find this THAT important is truly terrifying.
The events of Friday should prove a point I have made in these spaces over and over again. What is wrong with our nation cannot be fixed by government. Donald Trump was elected to change the game, to drain the swamp, and yet here we are in the swampiest bit of bayou modern times have ever produced. The purported swamp drainer put the plug back in the drain when he ordered the FBI “supplemental investigation.” Not that I blame him – the pressure was going to cause the drain pipes to explode. The origin of that pressure was the public, not DC. When so many people are so wrapped up in something that they need support groups, government responds, it does not lead.
The problem is not DC – the problem is us. We identify with people rather than think about what is happening. We think that our ignorant, uninformed opinion matters just as much as the opinion of someone that has spent a lifetime learning about something. We hold some sort of Utopian ideal that when a person feels unhappy, the world, the whole world, is supposed to come to a complete halt and fix it. We think the world is somehow responsible for our happiness. We think our feelings and ignorant opinions matter more than the law. We think the Supreme Court sets social norms…. I could go on like this for a very long time.
Do you notice how self-absorbed all of that is? That’s what’s keeping me up at night through all of this. Kavanaugh not making to the SCOTUS would be a massive and painful political loss for my side of the aisle, but I could still get a decent nights sleep in that unlikely event. What’s keeping me up at night is what this is saying about the nation, and more importantly the church.
The level of self-absorption made evident in this fiasco marks more plainly than even the legalization of abortion or same-sex marriage the retreat of the church as a significant factor in the formation of our society and culture. At least most churches still hold those two things to be wrong – but most churches have joined the culture of self-absorption with great gusto and enthusiasm.
Most Evangelical churches deride, correctly, the so-called “Prosperity Gospel,” while failing to recognize that all their promises of personal fulfillment and “wholeness” is the same thing, just not based on money. Jesus came to save the world, of which I am definitely a part, but He most certainly did not come to save me and stop there. Yet Evangelicalism has become so focused on individual salvation it is as if the Gospel itself is all about me and me alone. The church cannot stop this tide of self-absorption because we are flowing with it – almost enthusiastically.
The nightmare that the Kavanaugh confirmation has become is easy to condemn. But before we do that, I think we need to start taking planks from our own eyes.