Who else is wondering why life is such a mess?

We all change eventually. I used to wear Vans and had bangs. I ate carbs, slept till noon on Saturdays, and collected things. I lived for years in a constant search of being relevant and cool. But I grew up, threw out those old notions of coolness and relevance, grew out my bangs and started collecting experiences

I also used to be a practicing Catholic.

The Catholic church is somewhat like a person who wants to be cool and accepted by those around her. Back in the day, it was effortless being a Catholic. You go to church, learn a few things, live an average comfortable life, and don’t make waves. The goal was to be “involved” some, but not a saint. No. Never a saint.

But the fact is, the Catholic church isn’t relevant or cool, and that is a good thing — both for the church and for the culture that surrounds us. Being cool is nothing more than a phenomenon that really doesn’t define who we are, what we care about or how we live our lives.

In my opinion, believing in Jesus should NEVER be cool. 

Being a Christian (or a practicing Catholic) should be radically different. The problem is, not enough modern-day Catholics live radical enough lives. It’s as if we have allowed the culture to affect us more than we affect it. No doubt the church has been absorbed by the secular culture of our country.

Growing up, there was this general belief that the nation was a “Christian” nation. This idea was deceiving, at best. We had many “cultural Christians” and “cultural Catholics,” but far too few Christians lived a radical life. For the most part, they went through the motions — on Sunday mornings. 

The 10 Commandments are a marker that should influence. 

Agree? They should be revered as the prescription for a healthy and moral society. Instead, we allow Christianity to take on other labels: political, social or partisan labels. 

The first commandment says, “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.” This commandment forbids glorifying false Gods, yet we do. And what’s worse is that these false Gods no longer take the form of golden calves and wooden images. They’ve taken the form of Hollywood celebrity and pro-athlete. 

Celebrities and athletes are setting our standard for beauty, fashion, culture. We give them God-like stature. What are we doing? We’re not worshipping them for how they help humanity. We’re worshipping glamour.  

I read the other nine commandments today. Our society disobeys and violates divine law on the regular. Our morality is colored. The commandments have been replaced with rhetoric and spin.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

“Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”

“Honor thy father and mother.”

“Thou shalt not kill.”

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

“Thou shalt not steal.”

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”

The honest truth is, we need to return to our evangelical roots. 

The church knows this. Can you imagine if Christians were to rise up and begin to really live out the Lord’s word, serve the poor, forgive others, not judge, love as He loved us, welcome the stranger, etc.? Christians would actually be transformative agents in the world!

We say we love our neighbors but don’t know our literal neighbors enough to talk about faith.

We say we believe in salvation and grace but never care sufficient to evangelize others.

We talk about community but fail to reach out to form strong friendships of meaning.

We make sex a big issue but fail to live out the commands of Jesus about sexuality.

Following Jesus isn’t about you or me. It is about those around us. I’m embarrassed it took me so long to figure this out.

When we live lives that reflect love, character, honesty, mercy, and courage, we can’t help but look like strangers and freaks to modern culture… culture that longs for truth, beauty and goodness but doesn’t know where to find it. This is a good thing. But, we will also be attractive to the individuals searching for something more. This is what we need to aim for — being interesting, curious and appealing to those who want more out of life. This is why we should rejoice at not being relevant. It is an opportunity to live as we ought to.

Of course we can’t hold others to a standard we aren’t willing to live out ourselves…

And this could be why life is such a mess.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13: 34-35

How the 1 percent have been controlling the 99 percent.

The mainstream liberal media has tried their best to depict America’s crisis as a struggle for racial equality — it is not. The unrest that surged through our cities after the death of George Floyd was more predicated on socialist dogma than racial justice. Listening to the “protestors” or reading Antifa and Black Lives Matter’s agendas demonstrate this. It is not a race war; it is about economics and class.

In early August, downtown Chicago descended into anarchy. Countless nights of lawlessness, rioting, and looting led to shootings, battery against police, and several arrests. Ariel Atkins, a Black Lives Matter organizer, said, “I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes … That’s reparations. That is reparations. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance. They’re going to get their money back. My people aren’t getting anything.”

This statement sounds like class warfare to me, not racial justice (or even social justice for that matter). There are plenty of other examples depicting frightful destruction in other cities like New York City and Portland.  

And, if you need more confirmation that America is indeed on the verge of a massive class war, take a look at the Democratic Party’s platform. It includes class warfare rhetoric and chock-full-of socialist policies that would make Karl Marx warm and fuzzy.

How long has this been festering?

Today, it was the George Floyd protests (2020). The Ferguson unrest happened in 2014. But the answer goes back to 1970 when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University, a predominantly white college. Four students were killed in less than a minute of gunfire, nine were wounded, including one permanently paralyzed student. The outrage resulted in a national walkout of 4 million students and the closing of more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors rallied in Washington, D.C., psyched up to end racism within the political establishment.

Ten days after the Kent State shootings were the Jackson State shootings. The police killed two black students (one high school senior and the other a father of an 18-month old baby) and wounded 12 others. There was no outcry by the community and no mobilization to protest the shootings. 

The media immediately focused on the racial aspect, turning the conversation toward discrimination and police gunning down black Americans. The liberal media narrative was pretty straightforward: we are in a black-against-white racism war. Or would you call this a white-against-black racism war?

Back to present day, and we’re disputing whether or not the police themselves are a minority, also discriminated against based on their color—blue. (Yes, they are.)

But the racial agenda distracts society from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on being poor. Being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is real, even among the poor. And that’s how the status quo wants it.

According to the 2019 U.S. Census Report, 34 million people live in poverty. Imagine if 34 million people banded together in an organized effort to pursue economic equality! That would be huge! And that’s why the wealthiest one percent must keep the poor distracted with emotional issues like racism, abortion, gun control…

Worse, certain left-wing politicians conspire to keep the poor just as they are. 

I’m not saying protests like the ones we saw in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. But with each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police are seen as the enemy, gunning for black Americans. Anger rises. Riots ensue. The media assign blame.

Then what? 

What will it take to mobilize 34 million (in peaceful protest) to excite actual change, oust crooked politicians, boycott exploitative businesses, and pass legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity? 

What a year this week has been!

I need to apologize to the media. Not a full-on, hips-squared, arms-around-the-shoulders, tight-hug-apology. A side hug.

I’ve been quick to judge (IMO) what is an apparent political bias by MSM. Something that has gotten louder since the election of President Trump in 2016. I’ve gone on rants about the manipulation and the source of fake news that shows unjustified favoritism by liberal journalists when, in fact, they’re just giving people what they want to hear.

Here’s the thing.

Imagine you’re out to dinner with friends. You order French fries, and your friend orders sweet potato fries. He (or she) (or Him/Her in case you’re a pronoun) starts to tell you about the benefits of the sweet potato over the white potato. She lists the nutrients and starts in about fiber and glycemic index, making her case like an infographic you’d see on the Food Network.

You go home, do a little of your own research, and before you know it, you’re not just eating sweet potatoes. You’re sprinkling cinnamon on your food to increase your HDL level (not to mention it makes you smile and melts you with the sentiment). You sign up for a meal prep service that focuses on macros. And you join the local gym so that you can work out just like the 4,000 InstaFit folks you are now following on social media. (Or you buy 20 kettlebells.)

You go out to dinner with another friend, and she/him/her orders French fries. You order sweet potato fries.  

As a new carb-o-phobe, you start a food fight: the sweet potato versus the white potato. Your friend stands her ground – white potatoes are lower in fat and sugar. You stand your ground – sweet potatoes are lower in carbs and calories. You don’t want to hear what she has to say because you have an army (4,000 strong) that tells you anytime you ask that sweet potatoes are better for you.

While it is possible to find a website that gives you a list of health benefits on both potatoes (and all on one page), this isn’t helpful. It’s confusing. Which damn potato is better? Pick a side.

This might be an imperfect analogy, but the last three words in the above paragraph are all that matter: pick a side. Once you choose your side, you can find swaths of people that back up that same side, empowering you in such a way that you sleep like a baby at night, swaddled in righteousness.

Media bias is the tool that backs up your political side.

I follow Fox News on social media, and I read comments. Yes. I lurk; I read; then I seethe.

I’ve noticed a large portion of Fox-followers leaving comments like, “Fox is acting like another CNN” and “Fox is now FNNX” and “What’s happened to Fox News.” These comments come off the backs of posts like this one:

Madame Tussauds in Berlin loaded its effigy of President Donald Trump into a dumpster on Friday, a move apparently intended to reflect its expectations ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election. “Today’s activity is rather a symbolic character ahead of the elections in the United States,” said the museum’s marketing manager Orkide Yalcindag. 

One commenter went on to say (regarding the post mentioned above) that “Fox used to be credible. Now 50 plus percent is liberal crap.”

Fox is one of the few stations I’ve found with on-air correspondents that lean both very left and right – think: Chris Wallace and Sean Hannity. And all the other correspondents fall pretty much in between Wallace and Hannity.

If all I want is right-wing news, I will stick with Hannity. No doubt, he has a colossal portrait of President Trump hanging above his mantle.

If all I want is left-wing news, I’ll watch, well, anyone on CNN.

I’ll admit I tend to lean right, but I also lean left on issues. That’s where Fox comes in. They report what’s happening, regardless of which political party is causing the ruckus. But I suddenly notice most people only want to see what backs up their position. If something else is being shown, well, then they’re no longer ‘credible.’

I might be muddying biased journalism… propaganda… polarization… people that only eat sweet potatoes…

I haven’t figured things out yet. I need a more giant whiteboard and an extra roll of string. But is the media biased when all I want to hear is my side? Or am I biased because I’m only listening to one side? So, MSM, I apologize for yelling at you for not telling me what I want to hear. It won’t happen again.

I just have to add this because I’m warped. You know what is behind the chaos, don’t you?

… wait for it …

The algorithm.

I can’t prove it yet, but it is.

Update: No lie. I just happened to see a social media post that said, “Did you know it’s OK to have a white potato today and a sweet potato tomorrow?” Damn algorithm.