• sonnyholmes

The stage is set. The characters are rehearsed and primed. Around the country we'll dramatize next Tuesday's results with thumbs-down grimaces or thumbs-up applause. We all know it. Next week is going to be the Academy Awards of Drama 2020. I'm praying that I'll be in the audience observing the theatrics and not be one of the drama kings directing the action. That means I'll need to take come kind of chill pill before voting results are announced. And, you know I'm not talking about a medical sedative or tranquilizer or something in a shot glass. That which calms my spirit and eases my quickly inflamed temperament are moments in the Word of God and prayer.

Two realities are operative here. One is my very short fuse. It's rarely ignited as a result of people interactions. Usually my anger explodes at inanimate objects---the smart watch I can't seem to manage, the telephone that dictates so much of life, the thermostat that heats and cools at its own auto setting, and, of course, the car, television, alarm clock, and coffee maker. They are all wired from the factory with some sort of free will mechanism that aggravates and annoys me. You know. We purchase these tech toys and expect them to follow our directions. Wrong. They do their own thing and we can't manage them.

The other truth right now involves my political preferences. This Christian worldview and conservative upbringing tilt my politics to the right. Tuesday I'll vote a straight ticket and will expect that to be the prevailing mindset from sea to shining sea. If not, I'll need to have prayer meeting with myself and wonder how that many Americans could be so wrong. Anyway, my short fuse and personal voting preferences will meet when results start being announced. No, I won't take any calming medicines. No chill pill here.

It flashes a memory across the screen in my head. Just as I was preparing for twelve hours of surgery for transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder my blood pressure was relatively low. The surgeon and anesthesiologist expressed concern, remarking that human blood pressure typically rises somewhat before such occasions. They were fearful that I might have taken a tranquilizer, which wouldn't go well with the anesthesia prescribed to keep me out for so long. After they persisted, I told them that my blood pressure was low because I had the peace that passes all understanding. They didn't say anything else and everything went according to plan.

For me, and I hope many other Americans on either side of the aisle, that's what will keep us off the drama stage next Tuesday and the days following.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious

about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your

requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all

understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers,

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is

lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy

of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and

seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4: 5-9, ESV

It's the biblical remedy for anxiety, disappointment, fear, and all the other human angles on life---anger, envy, jealousy, lust, greed, and all the rest. It's the inner chill pill I always need when my emotions are inflamed. It's peace. I pray it will be ours next week.

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  • sonnyholmes

Well, news is just news. The people who report it can add some flair, give it a zing or two in presentation, or deliver just the facts please in monotone. Still, it is the news. Some of it may be startling or even earth shattering, events and circumstances of momentous occasion. Even the most flamboyant or shocking stuff, however, is still news. It can only be transformed into true drama when it takes a stage more grandiose than the ho-hum broadcasts aired at news time every day. That's where the drama queens and kings come in. You see, they are personally equipped to push buttons, light fires, and transform the news into personal invasions of my home territory. And, they reside beyond the TV screen. These drama mavens drink coffee at the corner Starbucks, sit in the next pew at church, occupy the next cubicle at work, and grimace in the car next to us going to work. Yes, they give a stage to the news. And suddenly it is drama.

Drama is rarely about issues anyway. In most cases it is about self. The news, whether of national or international significance, or more the neighborhood, church, or family life everyday stuff, is secondary to the need for the elevation of self. What motivates and galvanizes the facts and realities of life is the need for recognition. Drama queens and kings need to stand out in the crowd as people of notice. Social media has become the display case of people with analytical skills and thoughts about every subject under the sun. These individuals send up flairs of comment and ideas about even the most mundane topics of the human condition. They promote, advertise, aggravate, inflame, and stir. They bring us grand theatrics!

Cultural, social, religious, special interest, and political drama escalates when the queens and kings join forces. The antics of Antifa, BLM, the KKK, and so many other trouble shooting organizations have been the headline news in many locales recently. Their intent is to draw attention to their cause to garner legislative or public support. Up front that seems noble. I mean, how many such organizations have benefited society---civic clubs, career organizations, educational societies, associations for the betterment of society, alliances for racial harmony, and so many others. These worthy coalitions are often stage struck by the spotlights and the applause. What was a worthy cause morphs into drama, often the tragic kind.

On stage right now is election 2020, less than a week away. The political operatives of both parties know and understand the dynamics of drama. Senator Biden is less of a drama king while President Trump is a master. Even more, their campaign professionals and handlers can turn every political issue into a separate act in this suspenseful drama. I mean, get real. We're watching movies that we really don't like so we can avoid some of the campaign drama during television commercials.

The danger of drama queens and kings in any setting is their skill to incite behaviors in others. They can whip others into a frenzy, stir unrest and dissension, create confusion, and turn the news into drama. Those of us who observe them must be equipped to recognize their goals and resist them. This is especially true of our Christian population. Several verses are guiding me in these next few days of rampaging drama---

But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I

went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.

Psalm 73: 16-17, ESV

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children

of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true and try to

discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5: 8-10, ESV

Yes, Lord, help me develop some discernment so I don't give the news a stage in my life over the next few days.

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  • sonnyholmes

Few of us will argue the uniqueness of 2020. My favorite image of the year ignited a burst of humor that tickled my ribs because it was bluntly true. If you didn't catch it yourself, it pictured the front cover of Time Magazine, headlining their annual recognition of the Person of the Year. It was a picture of Mr. Mayhem, the Allstate Insurance advertising guy wearing a smirk and Band Aid on his face. . Mr. Mayhem was depicted as the Man of the Year for 2020. If you want to see the Pinterest version of this classic interpretation, click here. Mayhem may be the most descriptive addition to the schemata of true drama. You know---comedy, tragedy, farce, and now, mayhem. Lord help us!

Whatever you choose to call it, it has been a challenging year for most of us. Chart the course---the restrictions, dynamics, and uncertainty of a global pandemic; social unrest and turmoil: racial tension; employment adjustments; spiritual diversity and clashing values; home schooling; family alignments; and election 2020, to mention only a few. Then add the personal challenges each of us have surely faced. In total, it has represented perhaps the most unusual year for a great many of us. 2020, the year of Mr. Mayhem and his disruptive ways. And, guess what? There's surely could be more.

The results of election 2020 will test the fiber of the America thing from sea to shining sea. More than any time in our national epoch the political parties and candidates have marked sharply opposing positions on most campaign issues. Partisans are intensely passionate, perhaps alarmingly so, in support of platform planks and party ideals. Many political observers and media types are anticipating social unrest and further turmoil in the aftermath of November 3 results. And, of course, the artisans of drama, the queens and kings who are the masters of boisterous verbiage and inflammatory show are poised and positioned to instigate election 2020 drama.

Personal conduct is a reflection of the worldview we hold. The Christian worldview through which I observe life has generated a very strong list of political positions that will give me direction in the voting booth on November 3. My response to their affirmation or rejection by the American people is, however, a stronger worldview dictate. What I think is right for America, even when based on my best interpretation of Scripture, is secondary to the clear and firm biblical instruction about how I respond to the ways it is received by the voting public. That's why any disruptive or destructive actions by the political drama queens and kings is wrong. Two Bible verses will dictate my reactions to the vote of the people---

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his

works in the meekness of wisdom.

James 3: 13, ESV

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you

as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2: 12, ESV

Drama 2020 has been a perplexing year. Mr. Mayhem gave us a few smiles as his oddness shadowed us. He can visit us again next week when the ballots are counted and the direction of our nation for the next four years is determined. Each of us should vote our convictions, pray for our population as we make our decisions, and then conduct ourselves with the mind of Christ afterward.

It's the American way. No, the Christian way. The result may be comedy, tragedy, or farce. Let's not permit it to be mayhem.

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