Monday, July 12, 2010

Distorted Reality

Today we might look with disdain on geographical provincialism. But we are trapped in a new provincialism of time. We are trapped in the ever-present now. We now live without a past or a future. We act with no regard to consequence. Effects admit no cause. The result is that we live in an age of ideology. We can make up any theory we like about how the world operates, and we look for data to support it. Of course, the problem with the modernist's worldview is that it is sustainable only if time is erased. Because actions and ideas do have specific and related consequences, the only way we can keep our ideologies from crumbling under the weight of reality is to distort reality.
Warren Cole Smith, A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church, (Colorado Springs, Authentic Publishing, 2008), 44-45.
The concept of the new provincialism in Warren Cole Smith's book was very intriguing to me. Especially in regards to his belief that we now live with an abandoment of the past, fixated only upon the 'ever-present now.' Without the past or the future, we can make decisions and build our own realities because we are comfortable with the here & now. In an era of incredible technology & information, we are able to look for facts and completely justify/support our personal stances & ideologies. As a result, we can never see our own mistakes or faults because "our data" clearly showcases we are correct. When the cold realities of life hit us - we simply maneuver around them back to our comfortable distorted reality.

Much of what Smith is addressing in his book pertains to the current evangelical church and its complete distorted reality. However, I think this simple idea can realistically apply to anyone and anything. All of us are guilty of living lives of distorted reality based upon self-constructed idealogies. We have convinced ourselves we are correct simply because we have "numbers" to back ourselves up. Our politics are shaped by our upbringing, personal biases, and the content/media we filter into our thinking. However, instead of recognizing this we argue against other people because their thinking/idealogy is so dumb & narrow-minded. Well guess what?!? They have facts too! The reality is that all our modernist thinking is based upon circumstantial evidence that we have compiled that is based upon current trends, facts, and figures.

The way you believe church should be run, the way you believe politics should be operated, how big or small you think the government should be, and what you prefer to do with your spare time is all based upon your own construct of reality. We all need to do the world a favor and get over ourselves. Think beyond your own feelings & beliefs. Your way, my way, his way, her way - they're all wrong in some way. Until we see that we each view life through a distorted lens, we'll never get anywhere. The question is not whether or not your idealogy is crumbling - its whether or not you are astute enough to see the pieces falling down.