Yesterday I sat in the lobby of a professional office just feet from a massive flat screen tuned to a
program I have never watched in my life. The show’s name, its participants, and the topics discussed
are unimportant. What is important to note is the level of crude and disrespectful commentary that
spewed forth at a volume easily projected to every corner of this rather large space.
I shook my head and glanced across the room. Most of those around me sat staring at the floor, flipping
through dated magazines, or tapping away at smartphones.
No one seemed to notice the noise, but we all did. There was no way you could not notice. There was no way to escape. We were all forced to hear the coarsening heartbeat of our culture, punctuated with endless bursts laughter and faux expressions of outrage from commentators gleefully fueling the flames of division.
Taking my cue from others around me, I retreated to my iPhone, aimlessly scrolling through social media
feeds and news sites, only to feel a nauseating disgust at what we have become. It seems to me that as the cultural meltdown intensifies, our go to response is to turn up the volume on ourselves by tweeting,
posting, and sharing, all while trying to land the knockout blow against ideological enemies through
pithy comments that scream: look at me.
Welcome to the war that is deeper than most of us can even imagine.
You may have already jumped to the conclusion that I’m talking about political war. I understand. It’s
how we are all wired to respond, at least in America. What does CNN say? What does Fox News say?
What do our favorite bloggers or podcast hosts say? What do the polls say? How will today’s news
impact the next election cycle? How will Wall Street react?
Our struggle to get beyond the political question reveals a great cultural blind spot created by viewing
the world exclusively through horizontal filters, as if life really is all about us. It is only when we break away from the noise and turn our eyes vertical that we began to understand that the war at its highest level isn’t political, and it never has been. The real war is centered in the heart. The real war is a spiritual war. And we are just ramping up to an even more radical manifestation of this war that will make today’s
partisan slugging matches look like child’s play on a summer beach.
We scream for answers while the culture burns around us, then we deceive ourselves into thinking we
can solve this on our own. We yell our opinions to the world thinking the world will listen, while
refusing to accept the truth that the vast majority of our unknown followers will take no more time to
consider our thoughts than we take to consider theirs.
These are the days of noise, fury, and arrogance, a time when coming up for air is deemed a needless
distraction. We are surrounded by a great cloud of experts, cynics, agitators, and more, all clamoring to
solve the world’s problems, all convinced our voices must be heard.
It is now, during these trying and desperate days, that we must listen closer than ever before for the only voice that really matters. It is a voice that often comes not in the fire, or the earthquake, or even
the violent winds of our times. It is the still small voice of the One who is the only true hope of a culture
at war with itself and its creator.
The culture is fractured. The pain is deepening. The chorus of voices is rising. For every follower of
Christ, the question today is the same question every believer has faced throughout history: whose
voice is the most important to us?