Monday, September 2, 2013

The Weakness of Outrage

The week started with an explosion of somewhat disingenuous outrage over the final fade of Hannah Montana as Miley proved once again that the harder child stars try to prove themselves adults, the less likely they are to be anything but caricatures thereof, regardless of their talent. The disingenuity arose out of failure to similar outrage at the spectacle of her married dance partner “blurring the lines”. A word which, heretofore, most of us seemed able to get along without, made its way like a brain worm into the common consciousness.

The back and forth in the blogosphere and the parasitic entertainment media guaranteed a level of notariety which was clearly the point all along. Who would have imagined that Miley could out-Gaga, Gaga – as Gaga out-Madonna’d Madonna? Publicity, positive or negative, is the only goal. It was a take no prisoners approach. Well played, Miley. Sadly so. Once again, we have done this to you with our incessant demands for more shock as entertainment. And, we have done this to ourselves.

The gears of outrage continued to grind throughout the week but shifted, slowly and somewhat reluctantly, to a new cause by week’s end. Estimates vary, but somewhere approaching 100,000 Syrians have died at the hands of their own government in their faltering opposition to Assad’s failed regime. There has been a fair amount of hand-wringing over the past several months and more than a few tongues wagging and tut-tutting. But the recent allegations of chemical warfare, with hints of supportive evidence, have provided escape velocity to the public outrage. Something must now be done by someone!! Soon!! China and Russia walked out, effectively guaranteeing little more than continuing outrage from the United Nations. Britain dropped out of the forming coalition, leaving the United States and France to be the someones to do something.

The bookends of last week underline an important truth – outrage is neither strategy nor action. Harumphing at whatever volume is not engagement. But it creates the impression of action, of caring. And that, it seems, is enough for us.

But citizens of the Kingdom are reminded, yet again, that principalities and powers are at work in these two flesh and blood moments. And that realization makes action steps clear. First and last – and always – we pray. Then, taking on the defensive armor provided, we hold the ground assigned to us. Prayer is our most effective offense in times like these. After we have prayed, we may be assigned to, or choose, additional action – but until we have prayed, we have done nothing strategic in the coming of the Kingdom. For which, in times like these – and all times are like these – we pray.

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