Happy New Year, friends! Hope you had a sweet time with those closest to you ringing in 2021. I’ve been thinking about the old SNL skit with Dana Carvey. Do you remember the Church Lady? She was appalled by the behavior of many and had many opinions about how others should live. Her righteous indignation stemmed from her 20th Century religion, implicitly Christian but certainly not representative whatsoever of the gospel of Jesus.
Oddly, and only somewhat amusingly, the 21st Century has ushered in a new religion with devout fanatics. Uptight Dana Carvey-like church people are everywhere. Most of these people are not aware that they are religious zealots. They fail to overtly acknowledge the tenets to which they subscribe. But there are two primary ways to identify them: (1) they tell other people how to live; and (2) they derive meaning and self-satisfaction in showcasing their own superior choices.
Thomas Sowell wrote about this in his 1995 book The Vision of the Anointed. Sowell observed that the “anointed” of society believe they have the answers and must impose them on the uninformed masses.
Great social or biological dangers can be averted only by the imposition of the vision of the anointed on the less enlightened people by the government…Perhaps even more important than the specific tenets of this vision is that these prepositions are not treated as hypotheses to be tested but as self-evident axioms. Evidence is seldom asked or given — any evidence to the contrary is often ignored or answered only by a sneer.p. 242
The sneer of “church people” may have been a thing 26 years ago, but social media combined with untrustworthy media and an intense season of fear-mongering have combined to produce a concentration of benighted condescension never before seen. In 1995, there was some effort to obscure the desire to control. But not anymore, there is no hiding of intent. Instead the aim to control is unabashedly front and center. The we-know-better-for-you-than-you-do mentality doesn’t even meet with much resistance. If you know me at all, you know I find it all utterly revolting. People I would think would resist have succumbed to joyless judgmentalism. Not one of these people — not the Dana Carvey character — nor any of the modern day equivalents have one minute of true happiness, not one. Do you really think this is what Jesus meant when he said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”? Of course not! May the abundant life of John 10:10 be a consistent aim of 2021.
How are you glorifying God for His many gifts to you and living abundantly? Are you praying for those who are in bondage (whether the bonds be fear, addiction, or something else)? I am resolving to do these things better in 2021.