Last week’s post on the double standard between MAGA devotees and “wokeism” began as an attempt to discern whether or not to reach out to the podcaster and the guest and push back on said double standard.
It didn’t really help, except insofar as I realized that such communications have to be made in love. Actually, I suppose it did help, because I realized: when you have no relationship whatsoever with a person, how CAN you reach out in loving correction? So that answered my dilemma about whether or not to reach out.
The problem is that you can’t talk to people you don’t know, because difficult conversations have to happen in the context of authentic relationship. But you also can’t talk to people you ARE in relationship with, because it damages the relationship.
So how are we ever to escape this toxic, excrement-filled antithesis of the Gospel that we as a society have landed ourselves in?
And how are we to evangelize? Because that’s literally, fundamentally the call of discipleship! To preach good news and bring hope.
Of course, come to think of it, neither side in this debate—leave wokeism out of it and let’s just talk about so-called social justice Catholics versus so-called “traditionalists”—people who believe their world views are formed by the Gospel, and yet hold opposing views. None of us come across as spreading good news. Or hope. We all just sound nasty, toxic, and every bit as excrement-filled as the secular spaces around us.
And I am very aware, these days, of how such hypocrisy, nastiness, toxicity, judgment, and lack of self-awareness is, even now, pushing people right out of Christianity. With good reason, honestly.
I think there is a desire we all share at some level. It goes like this: we didn’t USED to have this problem, so surely if we just turned back the clock, things would go back to The Way Things Used To Be.
The trouble is that The Way Things Used To Be looks rosier in the rearview than it actually was. In the sainted time before All The Hard Questions, we had domestic abuse where women were told to to stay and put up with it; we had clerical abuse in the shadows and overt discrimination against minorities and poisoning of the waters so extreme, a river caught fire, and no pathway for women to give of any of the gifts God gave them except that of motherhood.
There WAS no glorious day when things in society or the Church were as God intended. There is only different dysfunction.
But I am rambling. I wrote that wokeism/MAGA post to try to discern God’s will, and when I did, I found another, more fundamental one, lying beneath it: Then when do we speak? And how?
I still don’t have the answer to that one.