American Growing Pains

By Chelsea Wojes                                                                                         Friday, October 4

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” – C.S. Lewis

It is day four of the U.S. Government shut down, and millions are plugging in their two cent commentary on the “idiocy” of politics. “The most reckless Republicans I’ve ever seen…” or “How can anyone pledge loyalty to the Democratic Party?” are just a few of the polite comments I’ve witnessed on my social media accounts. But despite the nasty commentary of many news outlets, not to mention the horrendously boring finger-pointing game our culture likes to play, we find even more bizarre things happening as a result of government stagnancy.

For example, today I read about a couple who had plans to marry at the Jefferson Memorial but could not because of the shut down, and instead got married on the Colbert Report. The Colbert Report. Really? I mean, really? (I’m having one of those “Really?!” moments with Seth Myers and Amy Poehler from SNL. If you haven’t seen them, YouTube it.) I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that today’s American culture cares so little for the institution of marriage, that they would whore out their “big day” to one of the biggest outlets which gives popularity to the insane, irresponsible leaders of this nations of ours. Steven Colbert may be a brilliant writer, but the bottom line is that between him and Jon Stewart, they feed – not hinder – to the corrupt government we have elected in this nation. Highlighting or making satire over Washington politics doesn’t create awareness – it creates more sensationalism to a group of people we should have kicked out long ago. Who are we to blame politicians when we can’t even stop ourselves from giving more popularity (not demanding accountability) to an already broken system? God save us all during these times.

As a Catholic convert (I consider myself to be a “toddler” in this arena), and as one who knows just enough to get me a B+ in my high school American government class, I am not educated enough to have a discussion on our faith and politics. In fact, my rule of thumb when voting is to “vote for the lesser of two evils”. That aspect aside, I would rather highlight a painful culture shift we are encountering. We are giving rise to a culture who would rather tell everyone on their Facebook and Twitter pages what they think of our government, but will refuse to vote or, better yet, stand at the picket lines in defense of democracy. This week’s government shutdown can quickly be chalked up to capitalism gunning down democracy, and here I stand, knowing full well that my generation is plugging in its $1.29 to give rise to the social media machine rather than becoming educated for justice or faith. These social media outlets are not helping us; they’re hindering us. We’re not using them for good; we’ve become the Joker in this situation. We’re standing on a precipice facing an ocean of doubt, destruction, and faithlessness. We prefer to look down at our iPhones verses looking up to the sky in prayer. We’re becoming voiceless words in an infinite space of internet, rather than using the power of peace to help us out of this mess. We wonder if America will ever turn around. We hope that hope is not lost. How painful will this government shutdown be? How will the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who depend on the federal government for food, get their meal? Where is justice in this situation? Some even ask; where is God in all of this?

Not a Bible

My answer is always: right in front of you. Not down below in your iPad, not on YouTube making some video about cats, and certainly not on the Colbert Report, marrying people. The Lord is present with us at all times, but we’re so consumed by gadgets and gizmos that we lose Him. Our faith tells us that God will not abandon us, even in our darkest hour, which I would argue is coming upon us in this technological revolution. Our faith also teaches us that justice is firmly rooted in love and right relationship but we do not live in a world which has right order with things. The Colbert Report is a great example of that. How do we combat this? How do we fight for the good and destroy the evil? In my opinion, we start simply:

The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace.” –Blessed Mother Teresa

Are we going to change our world overnight with silence? Maybe not. Are we going to force the government to finally “act justly” through prayer? Maybe not. Are we going to re-commune with God by finally putting down our techno devices, closing out our social media apps, picking up the Bible and praying? I know so. The faithful do not lose hope, because we know that God will do all things in love and justice. Though, like teenage growing pains, we may wonder how painful it will be getting to “the best”.

I encourage everyone I have a heart-to-heart with, to find time in their day to be silent and to prayer. It may not cause big waves immediately, but it will begin the interior change we so desperately need in order to rid ourselves of the social media culture shackles. Faithful friends, I implore you to start the change in yourselves.

Chelsea Wojes – A professed Catholic convert and Aquinas College alumna, Chelsea hails from Traverse City but has found her home in Grand Rapids. She works for St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and confesses to working towards homesteading and using social media for good, not evil. 

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