When I woke up today I didn’t feel very good. A cold is fighting to overtake me but I’ve been fighting hard against it.
Consequently, I decided to stay home today and rest. So I turned to the Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University for my live stream sermon of the day. Clicking on the bulletin for the order of the service, I came across these remarks from the Pastor, Dwight Nelson.
“Look, Iâ€™m not suggesting that theÂ just concluded Iowa caucusesÂ and the upcoming New HampshireÂ primary are strategic pieces in someÂ sort of apocalyptic end game. but IÂ would invite you to ponder the powerÂ of the press and/or paid political ads.
Even the talking heads within the beltway of the nationâ€™s capital this past week have been chattering in amazement over the swift collapse of one candidateâ€™s heretofore anticipated victory in Iowaâ€™s caucuses. Riding high in the pre-caucus polls, the candidateâ€™s sudden tumble from prominence has been attributed by most news media commentators to the power of negative political advertising, financed by political action committees (so called â€œsuper Pacsâ€). The $2.8+ million that these technically â€œindependentâ€ super PacsÂ invested in Iowa alone are evidenceÂ enough of the power of negativeÂ advertising. i.e., it works!
Whatâ€™s that have to do with the rest of us who will never touch $2.8 million in our life time? Stepping away from political allegiances or nuances, it does make you wonder, doesnâ€™t it, how fickle we the public are, if three-weeks of non-stop television and radio ads can actually change our minds? Never mind those who justify this gushing of advertising dollars into a relatively, politically inconsequential rural state.
It still makes me wonder how easily swayable we Americans are to the power of the media, the press, the advertising agencies. Which being interpreted means, I wonder if, in a time of crisis or critical decision-making, a relatively small cabal of individualsâ€”with the financial horsepower to back themselvesâ€”could sway an entire nation to pursue a particular course or come to a particular decision. I wonder if the American public (perhaps even the global public) could be as easily persuaded as the Iowans were. Â Include some momentous catastrophe (financial, natural, political) and it wouldnâ€™t take much to â€œguideâ€ the public to a desired outcome, would it?
For all our crowing about the independent American spirit, the truth is that a stadium full of screaming fans can pretty much set the agenda for an entire city, canâ€™t they?Â Apparently the apocalypse thinks so. In no uncertain terms Revelation 13 describes â€œall the worldâ€ (v 3) being led down the primrose path of disaster.
Which is why I love the corollary narrative in Danielâ€”the compelling story about three young politicos who refused to yield to the full-court press of the press and the government. Â The entire nation (as it were) bowed down to the kingâ€™s golden imageâ€”but not Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:
â€œOur god whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set upâ€ (Daniel 3:17,18) Â i.e., we will not be bought or persuaded away from our allegiance to the Creator.
God give us that threesome generation when we will need it! Â But in the meantime, the next time the press or the super Pacs attempt to persuade you in 60 seconds what to think orÂ do, do the Shadrach thing and simply refuse. Â Your allegiance to God in the New year isnâ€™t for sale, no matter when the world ends.”
Amen to that Pastor Nelson!