Americans are experiencing levels of bunker mentality these days. You may ask, what in the world? So, here---the wordsmiths at Merriam-Webster define bunker mentality as "a state of mind especially among members of a group that is characterized by chauvinistic defensiveness and self-righteous intolerance of criticism". It's when we hunker down and move ourselves out of the line of fire. Even with the anonymity of social media we often avoid explosive and controversial topics out of fear of being blown away. Today that angst silences us. We simmer and smolder, doing our best to contain the embers of anger, frustration, and other emotional crises. There's heat in our bunker. And this heat is flammable and dangerous. Pay attention to the destructive forces we've experienced over the past couple of months. Who doesn't want to sink deeper in that safe fox hole?
Quieting these inner impulses is easier said than done. Observation of life in these mean streets arms our emotional weaponry. Today, regardless of our personal cultural, political, or religious beliefs we're challenged by the rants and raves of those who aren't hunkered down. Many leaders and merely egocentric citizens who enjoy spouting off are tossing grenades of opinion to light our fires and generate our responses. It's warfare, then, is among these vocal miscreants who relish controversy above facts, and crave the attention of those in safe places. The question is: how do we resist these urges to enter the fray? How do we counter these lures toward anger and worse?
Peace is a physical, emotional, and spiritual reality. It seems to be the absent qualifier of the explosive human urges driving the evening news today. How much physical peace can be visible in people rioting in our cities, destroying the world around them, and even threatening human life? Check out the murder statistics in our nation, or the many other criminal activities that put human life on the line. It's not a peaceful world right now. Even more, let's discuss school reopening strategies, or wearing masks, or reparations, or monuments, or changing history. Good grief! Where's the peace?
Pause here for some personal experience. Last Saturday Harriet, Liz, and I remembered the murder of our son and brother Brian Eliot Holmes on July 18, 2011. Nine years. Let me tell you, every single day since then I have fought the internal impulses of anger, vengeance, disappointment, frustration and their emotional cousins in response to his senseless death. One truth has calmed and disarmed these volatile firestorms. It's one of the Bible verses brought into our lives in the days after his death. The Apostle Paul wrote---
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 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.
Philippians 4: 4-7, ESV
It is the profound promise that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. What a blessing to know that his promised peace is the guardian of my soul. This peace is my only hope in a world that could ignite the worst in me. I don't really have to live this bunker mentality. It's because this peace keeps my emotions from inflaming my own heart and the people around me. It really is the guardian of my heart and mind.
The other day my friend Kathy Klopp posted this quote on FaceBook---
People say, "Why is God turning his back on the USA? " He didn't. We turned our backs
on him, and this what what a world without him looks like.
It's a world without peace, dangerous and potentially destructive. You see, without this spiritual peace, our emotions become inflamed, and peace with others is threatened. Without this peace, many of us seek refuge in the bunker mentality. And, peace then, is never lived or spoken.
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_pelos'>pelos / 123RF Stock Photo</a>