As a Christian who believes in, as Moltmann stated, a Theology of Hope, I am distressed by the current state of preaching/ theology and political discourse in our nation, all of which focus on theologies and politics of fear (and loathing).
(Of course, if we had a more nuanced discourse, sound bites would be gone, Limbaugh and Hannity would be out of business and the church would need to focus on the Biblical madate to feed the poor or stand with and bring good news the oppressed instead of fighting liberals, gays, darwinists, secularists and every other thing that keeps them from spreading Good News)
Now that we are in an election cycle, we will start seeing the Left and the Right capitalizing on our natural fears to manipulate us to doing their bidding (thereby giving them their desired power).
Sadly, in the church we will see the same thing. Whether it is from the Dobson/ Perkins clones scaring us about Gay Agendas, the end of the world and Wars on Christmas or from others turning these living caricatures into Hitler-lites, they both desire the same thing; to manipulate us to do their bidding (thereby giving them their desired power- money and numbers). This behavior (predominate on the right because they control the airwaves and pulpits of influence) smacks of a theology or politics based upon fear and hatred instead of hope and love.
It is my prayer that Americans and Christians will not fall victim to this manipulation, that we will see the pathetic little men behind the curtain peddling their bicycles and telling us to focus upon the image on the screen and not their small-mindedness and feel sorry for them- as Dorothy did. It is my prayer that we, who call ourselves Christians, will see ourselves shaped by the theologies of hope which are natural manifestations of a proper understanding of the resurrection of Christ and the Second Coming. It is also my prayer that we will reach out across the partisan lines which separate us, whether theological or political, to build communities of hope- thereby advancing God's Kingdom on Earth.
One part I will promise to play during this cycle is to pray for these Wizards, be they political, theological or the media. I will pray for Totos to pull the curtain back and Dorothys to love them into facing their own fears.
One of my 3 favorite Totos (along with Colbert and Stewart):
A funny thing happened in this post- I was only going to simply tell you how much I loved Keith Olbermann (one of the only brave journalists on television today, speaking truth to power- the central historic role of journalism) and encourage you to watch this video and read the transcript of a recent episode (it is only a couple of minutes long) in which he takes the present administration to task for its use of fear to manipulate the electorate, thereby accomplishing exactly what the terrorists want.
Please watch it, no matter your perspective. It will give insight into what I so often rail against.