So our daughter is only 6 months old, and she is already facing an onslaught of propoganda. The two most common words around our house right now are ma-ma and da-da. Each spoken respectively by the parties represented.
You can probably see where this is headed.
Leslie and I are in friendly, but fierce competition to see which one of us can get Eden to say our names first. And I am proud to say that last night I won. Eden said da-da.
Well actually she said daaaaapblllt. She wasn’t looking at me, and it sounded like an Indian war cry, but I think she knew what she was saying.
In the coffee shop at church there is a woman who works there named Rose Mary. She has lived a really interesting life, starting from when she was a little girl in Germany in the 1940’s. She actually grew up in Nazi Germany.
I was asking her the other day about what she remembered and what it was like. She told me that she remembered listening to Hitler’s speeches on the radio and she remembered her dad not allowing them to read the newspapers. The reason, she explained, was because her dad was against Hitler. He did not agree with the Nazi’s, they actually had a Jewish uncle they loved.
But Mrs. Rose Mary explained, disagreeing with Hitler was not an option.
That’s the thing about propaganda. It does not invite disagreement. It acts to divide and polarize, closing the lines of communication. The actual definition of propaganda is “biased information with a particular point of view.” It’s myopic, it’s tunnel vision. And it’s not like we can say that was only a problem during the Third Reich. It’s still very much alive today.
I could tell during the presidential election who a person was voting for by asking them one question: Which station is more biased, Fox News or CNN (unless they were libertarian, that threw off the survey). We act like we are impervious to propaganda but we are more divided than ever. I hear people parroting exactly what they heard on the morning news thinking they came up with it.
I found myself this election year being an absolute jerk to people that disagreed with me. I couldn’t see how a person could be so ignorant and divisive. While I was myself being ignorant and divisive.
Don’t underestimate the power of propaganda. Because it’s working.
It is disheartening to see followers of Jesus become so divided over every issue that politicians and publicist have managed to spin. Now this isn’t to say that there are times and places to stand up for certain things, but just looking over this last year it seems like we have chosen our battles poorly.
Maybe it’s time to take a break from what we allow in our heads all the time. Mrs. Rose Mary’s dad knew that the only way to defeat propaganda is to not listen to it. Maybe it’s time to invite honest dialogue with those you disagree with, without assuming that you already know how wrong they are. Things aren’t always that black and white.
Unless, of course, it’s to get your daughter’s first words to be da-da.*
* Leslie wants me to be clear that Eden did not actually say da-da, however Leslie is wrong.

About jonathanstorment

My family and I love reading, traveling, daddy/daughter dates, playing hide and seek, good music, and long meals with friends. We still miss LOST, and all four of us have Superman uniforms. We are passionate about bringing Heaven to Earth and want to follow Jesus while repainting discipleship for those around us. We are followers of Jesus and I preach at the Highland Church of Christ. We participate in something called A Restoration Movement, and we've come to realize that might be larger than we thought.

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