What’s Your Medium?

Facebook, created by Mark Zuckerberg and other lonely undergrads as a distributed system to rate and stalk girls, is anti-social media. That may seem harsh, but while some use it to organize charitable events, that must be set against Facebook’s unregulated distribution of propaganda (such as Russia used to help Trump gain the White House) and monetization of every site and post through targeted advertising.

The Holy Spirit, the original world-wide-web, joins people in bonds of love. That is social media.

Allocate your time accordingly.

Filling the Holy Spirit

In Love Works, I have a short section called “Hat Trick” in which I explain the Trinity. The only subtlety is the Holy Spirit.

I have to start here: we are God’s medicine for the world. It might be hard to see, because our Darwinian programming coupled with the strength of our minds makes us incredibly powerful predators. We are the fourth of Daniel’s beasts – the huge monster that devours all before it with our iron machines. But we have been wearing down our Darwinian impulses and subjecting them to the discipline of love. It’s a slow process, in human terms, but when seen against the background of a billion years of creatures that came before us: we’ve made enormous progress over the last 30,000 years.

The reason love wins is because, where predators turn on each other after their prey is consumed, those that love stick together. They take refuge in Christ, who had the strength to be consumed by sin and yet continued to love. It is in his sacred heart that spirits that love find refuge from sin. From that refuge, as the Holy Spirit they dispense wisdom – the insights gained from their practical experience of loving – to those still trying to shed their attachment to sin.

Sister Gloria picked the parable of the Good Samaritan for our contemplation this week. During the discussion, several people mentioned that when confronted with the call to offer mercy and compassion to a troubled soul, they resisted, thinking “Well, you’re only getting what you deserve.”

As I see it, though, those are the most valuable moments for the Holy Spirit. The impulse to offer compassion and mercy is the Holy Spirit saying to us: “Yes, this troubled person represents a powerful pattern of destructive behavior. Bring us near to them. Be our eyes and ears, our hands and feet, so that we can learn how to bring strength to them.”

Every person that falls and is redeemed blazes a trail through human nature. They create a nexus in time that reaches out through the Holy Spirit to others facing the same struggles.

We sometimes fail to offer mercy and compassion because we are have been convinced by the materialists that only clothing and feeding is important. Ultimately, though, those things are meaningful only in that they bring the spirit closer to salvation, and thus a return to the place of our origin.

If you don’t have the means to solve the material problems (and that’s becoming true for more and more of us), don’t discount that power of mercy and compassion. Mercy and compassion bring the Holy Spirit close to those in need, helping them find the strength to resist destruction, and tendering hope that helps them seize the initiative in their lives. When we call it close in moments of need, the Holy Spirit burnishes our souls, preparing us for full citizenship in the kingdom in which love reigns.

Rush, Roger and Rove – er – Trump Come on Over!

After the loud conversation back and forth across the floor of the Barnes & Nobles Café, the extollers of Trump’s strength and the virtues of Chinese authoritarianism had settled back into their seats. Suddenly the one at the table next to me stood up and made his way across the floor. He was excited about the Asian gentlemen who had stood on a bench to take a photo of the floor layout, and then probed around under the magazine racks. “That’s just what they do – case the target, looking for places to hide bombs, then they come back spraying bullets.” Five minutes later, the store manager came by with a note written on receipt paper: “He’s our shelving maintainer.”

Shortly thereafter the gentleman’s wife arrived to guide him out of the store, offering me a pleading look.

Fear is such an easy tool to use to suck power out of people. It’s not just Donald Trump – the strategy was perfected in modern American politics by Lee Atwater and picked up by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove. It’s the world-view of Roger Ailes at FOX News, a man that maintains a second entrance to the building so that the terrorists don’t know where to wait for him.

There is indeed a lot to be afraid of in the world today, but Roosevelt’s observation still holds true: “The only thing that we have to fear is fear itself.” Those that heed people like Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump are subscribing to a mentality that divorces them from reality. It is a mentality that they propagate because it is only through that effort that the mentality survives. While there is comfort in the weight of its presence, as its adherents lose their ability to generate value in the world, the mentality must continue to spread in order to keep its power.

I confronted this for the first time back in 2002. Kevin told me that he had a dream in which he was walking to school and entered a secret tunnel that led into the White House. I asked him which backpack he was wearing, and he said “The one from Mom’s house.” I decided to go spelunking in her one night, and just bore down into the fear. I finally broke through into a psychic fog. Feeling my way through it, I discovered that it covered the entire nation. Curious, I put my ethereal hands under it and lifted it off the ground for a few seconds, then let go. It settled back down to earth.

It seemed that people found comfort in it.

Donald Trump’s popularity reflects the realization by the Republican base that their fear-generated loyalties haven’t brought them strength. Well, that’s not going to change until they choose to ally with authentic strength. It’s waiting there for them, what Christians call The Holy Spirit, that eternal repository of the wisdom of loving. It’s a mentality that finds beauty and joy in all things – particularly the weak and wounded that focus its attentions. It’s coming closer to us, and when it arrives, Ailes, Limbaugh, Rove and Trump will discover that all they have done is gather together those that need it most. It will sweep through the ranks of the fearful in an instant, because those that maintain fear have stolen the strength that once allowed pride to insist that it could go it alone.

This is what was meant by “like a thief in the night.” The mighty will trumpet their virtues, and convince the weak to tender loyalty for false promises of relief. But finally the weak will have nowhere to turn but toward love, and the mighty will realize that Christ had been there all along, waiting quietly in the background for truth to dawn in the heart.

And so what would I do, if I was on the stage with Donald Trump, when he begins spouting inane fear-mongering nonsense?

Ha, ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Laugh for a good thirty seconds.