Today’s Glimmer of Gloom: History as a Tool

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In the midst of the political elbowing for space on aticket, we are hearing a lot of references to history. Mostly about how thefounding fathers would support a particular politician’s current policy.

And often the view of what happened back then comes off abit skewed, or twisted, or, uhm… wrong.
But it isn’t the wrongness or potential not rightness thatis the big problem.
Take for example a moment from the past year with the formergovernor of Alaska. Upon leavingan exhibit about Paul Revere, she was questioned by the press about what shelearned inside.
The primary thing she learned was that Paul’s midnight ride was for the purpose of going outthere and warning the British that they can’t defy our second Amendment rightto bear arms.
There was much brouhaha at the time about the level of accuracy inMs. Palin’s statements; but the depressing part of this story has nothing to dowith what Paul was or was not doing galloping around in the night.
The glimmer of gloom comes from how history is being viewed.
You see, Sarah Palin did not walk into that exhibitwondering,
“What can I learn from this piece of history? How can thisfounding revolutionary impact my view on life, the world, politics, etc?”
Instead, knowing full well that reporters would be awaitingher exit, she walked into that exhibit wondering,
“What can I get from this that supports my current views? Howcan I use this moment to garner some political points for my existing stance?”
A lot of us in the Christian faith have the same approach toour Holy texts. We approach the Bible saying,
“I believe in such-n-stuff. What can I find in the Biblethat shows that my view is correct?”
We could, instead, approach the Bible saying, “I wonder whatI can learn from this Holy book today?”
One approach opens us up to wisdom; the other just promotesthe stagnation of the wisdom we currently hold.
What would it be like, I wonder, if we all approachedhistory with the desire to learn and grow from it, rather than just using it asa weapon in our arsenal of being right?
What if the lives of our patriarchs, whether patriots orsaints, were tools to challenge us, to question us, to expand our thinking, ourbelieving, our living?
But then again, there are no political points to be had inimproving who we are, only in bolstering who we once were.
So maybe not.
Just my thoughts,
Sean
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