I read the following blog from Sacred Cynicism on Friday. There is so much bold unvarnished truth that you will most likely see yourself in one of the categories and get offended. If you are offended, go to your room & ask God to forgive you and then meet me in the living room.
For my mom it was the pots and pans. When she would get extremely frustrated with us boys she would throw the pots into the cabinet, they would band loudly and she would say very sternly, “go to your rooms!” My friend’s dad would look up and ask his wife, “where is the belt?” That was our clue to run away – fast. Every parent has been there – the moment when you have had enough, and the only recourse is to just snap. We forget the names of the kids and just start snapping off punishments from the top of our head. Well, I am there this week. For the past few months the E-Merge has been quiet. The quiet has not been the result of not having anything to say, but because there is no oxygen left in the room. What is the good of saying anything when no one is listening?
Like the exasperated parent, I have finally had enough and it is time to send people to their metaphorical rooms. I also realize that this is probably the day I lose all of my friends, but some things need to be said. I also realize that there is no room to move forward until we start to listen to others, and learn to see ourselves in clearer way.
You conspiracy people – go to your room, and read a book when you get there. Let me get this straight – our president is there to save us from a giant conspiracy where the government will execute an intricate plan to insert a micro-chip in everyone to track our every movement. This is planned by Bill Gates and a virus that no one knew about 10 months ago is the catalyst for this plan, and Trump is the head of the government that the president will save us from. Did I get that right? My head hurts. Go to your room – you are grounded from social media for a year.
Now to the governors and many other local leaders – go to your room. I am tired of hearing you talk all of the time. I am really tired of the whole, “we are all in this together” schtick. Let me get this straight, you banned people from earning a living while you kept collecting checks, visited you vacation homes and then kept telling people we are all in this together. That is a lot of hubris there. You are grounded until the next election. The voters have a chance to ground you permanently, but they won’t – sigh.
Professional sports players – go to your room. Let me get this straight – you decide not to play and we will be so distraught from you not playing that we will bend to your opinion. Is that correct? Here is the problem – I really haven’t noticed you aren’t playing. I might have but the road I take home from work was shut down by a protest so I missed dinner, and missed the time you were supposed to play anyway. This might come as a surprise but many of us work hard just to pay the bills, and find it hard to listen to millionaires lecture. Go to your rooms. Your punishment is to get your wish and not play anymore. I look forward to seeing you in the cubicle, or on the assembly line.
Let me talk to some of my white friends. I know you are there, I can smell the sunscreen from here. Go to your room. There are things worth talking about and we need to lean into the conversation. Some of our friends of color experience things that we do not understand, and we need to be aware of it. There are things we do when we get pulled over in a nice car because it is a good idea to do them. Some of our friends have to do it because it is a necessity. Some of us get upset when we get in the slow check-out lane at Mariano’s. We would be furious at the treatment some of our friends have regularly faced. We assume that there is a diversity of thought among our white friends while we watch a culture that often assumes people of color march in lock step. There are barriers some have to cross that we do not have to. We must humbly step across those barriers. We must take the first step – always. Your punishment – you are banished to the slow check-out lane for the next year.
To some who are protesting vehemently – go to your room and read some historical biographies. You have a point but unless we discuss responsibility at the same time this will get nowhere. Perhaps holding up someone who steals the weapon of an officer and points it at him is not worth lionizing. Neither is someone with arrest warrants for sexual assault who chooses to fight police officers. Certainly, we can agree that there are issues that are worthy of discussion, like the militarization of the police. Can we not also discuss the absolute necessity of self-control, character and treating police with respect? Self-government is an impossibility if we insist on not controlling ourselves. Your punishment is to spend six months reading the speeches of Martin Luther King.
Now it is time for the church – go to your room. Some of you are posting right wing memes and telling everyone that if one is a Christian then they must agree with your meme. In recent months the left wing folks have been even worse. A Christian would only have this opinion. Stop it. Unfortunately, it has not stopped there. We have carried this discussion to mask-wearing. If you don’t require everyone to wear a mask, then you are selfish, not enlightened like me. Others see churches that require a mask and see the same selfishness at work, making a decision based solely on a sense of personal safety. Your punishment is you have to listen to a sermon every day for the next six months – and you thought the old 2-week revival was bad. While you are listening you must write nice things about people who look at things differently than you.
Here is another group, I see you rich white kids with the bricks and the Molotov cocktails. Go to your room, which is probably still in your parent’s very nice house, except you don’t like your parents so you choose to take it out on the small business owner. Your parents built a home and a life, but somehow you hate them so you want to burn everything down. What is your point? That small business owner you destroyed – let me tell you about that family. They were in business in Kenosha in the late 1980s. You are too young to remember and have never troubled yourself to learn history, but that was when Kenosha was boarded up. The auto plants had left and half the businesses were gone. It was bleak. Except that guy you burned down stayed, even though it was tough. When things started to come back that business was a catalyst for others. It probably also sponsored a few little league teams and donated things to the church. The existence of that business has changed the life of hundreds of people. For those keeping score that is hundreds more than you. Your punishment is to be grounded to your room and having to listen to your parents read the stories of your grandparents to you, so you can learn about their hard work.
Finally, last but not least – everyone who participates in “cancel culture.” Go to your room and give your cell phone to me. You spend your time telling people who can talk and who can’t talk. In order to speak someone has to be the right color, or belong to the correct group. We are very tired of you. If we are going to belong to the same culture, we all have a right to speak in that culture. Plus, you seem awfully insistent on dividing everyone into their own tribe. We have been this way before and it is a disaster. Your punishment is to be transported back in time to the Balkans in the 1990s. You need a front row seat on what happens when we relegate everyone into membership of a group. Your punishment is you must watch German chefs cook Mexican food for a group of Italians. That scene is something to truly celebrate.
Now everyone has been punished and sent to their room. While we deserve the punishments we have received, it might be good to give each group a way out. You can come out of your room when you are ready to meet in the living room without an agenda. There is no way forward when we start with our agendas, and refuse to listen to others. Someone needs to start and it should be the church. This is our chance to show what an alternative community looks like. This is not a community where we all agree, but where we all love each other anyway. Someone needs to lead – it should be us. Politics does not offer a solution. Violence has never offered a solution. People leading by example might. I’ll see you in the living room.
Now that you have read it. how are you going to change things for the better?