In 1985, one year after the year in which the all-encompassing State of Orwell is set, Terry Gilliam released Brazil (on the Criterion Channel until October 31 or for rent on Amazon Prime). It is all the dread and paranoia of Nineteen Eighty-four superimposed with the absurdity of Monty Python. The world of Brazil is ridiculous and absurd. There are large air ducts running through even the nicest houses, and small ducts and tubes everywhere. Everything depends on the ant-like bustle of transferring paperwork from one bin to another, and from that department to this. The Ministry’s SWAT-like apparatus is always ready to execute some arrest order or another, making the next of kin sign receipts, in duplicate at least.
When someone mentions the church and politics in the same sentence, the picture most people flash on is a pastor standing in the pulpit, waving a red or blue flag, and telling you why it would make Jesus happy if you voted for a particular candidate or a specific proposition. It is an off-putting image for many, and accusations of preachers exceeding their authority or manipulating congregations often follow. To avoid this, then, churches swing all the way in the other direction, to where we do not want to talk about politics at all in the church. Keep church and state separate, as they ought to be. There is, however, a middle ground between littering the church lawn with campaign signs and making politics a taboo subject.
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up…”Isaiah 6:1
The signs are all around us. We just don’t want them to be real, or at least we don’t want them to mean what they seem intent on conveying. After all, it’s that special time of year when everything appears to carry more weight. So, we take comfortable stances and head down familiar roads. Once again we are told that this election is the most important election of our lifetime, there is more at stake, more to gain if my side wins and more to lose if those idiots try and steal the election.
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