Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Cold Takes

As I've been off Facebook this Lent, my phone usage has fallen nearly 100%, and my news consumption is limited to the paper copy of The Wall Street Journal that is tossed somewhere in the vicinity of my lawn every day but Sunday. The upshot is that I've been blessedly insulated from a world of hot takes about everything from the New Zealand shooting to the college admissions scandal.

This is entirely positive, and I know this because I'm positively itching to read every snarky take on the college dealio. I'm ready to attend The University of Schadenfreude, as Dom Bettinelli termed it. The few pieces I've read in the Journal have just been flabbergasting. A father saying he doesn't really care about the moral aspect of the cheating, but only that his child doesn't get caught out? The pampered YouTube star who couldn't care less about academics but was using college to further her marketing deals with various companies, whose starlet mother (of Full House fame) faked an athletic profile for her?

It seems harmless to revel in this, because a) only a moral moron would know this wasn't right; b) it's totally, incontrovertibly illegal; c) these people thought their immense riches could buy everything; d) everyone involved sounds personally repugnant. I want public humiliation, I want jail time, I want a constant stream of articles so I can wallow in the fall of the rich and famous and stupid. And yet, what does it serve me to rejoice in the downfall of the undeserving? There's noting that helps me grow personally or spiritually in snickering over this situation. It pulls me away from more substantial and worthy topics. It reveals an ugly underside of my character.

More significantly, though, these people involved in ruining their own lives are still loved by Jesus. Each of them is a unique soul who reflects a never-before-seen facet of God's creative love. He loves them just as much as he loves me, who got into college on my own merits, without any coaching or even any support, who did all my own work and pulled my own weight. And none of this effort made God love me any more than he did at the moment of my creation. And it's only of value if it helps me love him more.

Which gloating over the college scandal does not. I think that there's an appropriateness to noting that pride goeth before a fall, and that actions have consequences, and that mail fraud is a federal crime, for Pete's sake. But if there's been any benefit to being off social media during Lent, it's the reminder that my life goes on regardless of the drama du jour. The drama will pass and be forgotten whether I remark on it or not. My local life is incredibly unaffected by most things that pass in the world. I can love my family and my neighbors and my God regardless. Also, drama will happen whether or not I have my finger on the pulse of the discussion of the day, and my being present or absent from that discussion will not make anyone in the world a whit more sensible. No one needs me to be the voice of reason.  If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead, even the little social death of being off Facebook for Lent.

1 comment:

Rosebud said...

That was my favorite thing about being out of the country.

When we would get drama-drama-drama-drama as kids, my dad would end our sentences: "And yet, tomorrow the sun will still rise. And right now, there's 2 billion people in China who don't give a damn."{about our problems}

Being in a place where the sun had already risen and, indeed, no one gave any tinkers of any kind about our paltry dramas, made me appreciate his wisdom.