Monday, March 30, 2015

Chely and The Polemicists

"When I was a child, I understood as a child;
I thought as a child." 1 Cor. 13:11
As ISIS works their sadistic magic around the world, I am comforted to know that Chely Wright is working in a studio somewhere, writing songs, being gutsy, being determined.

ISIS is only one of the many insistent pulls in our world--pulls to organize life and people as either cherished or anathema, and every object as either sacred or profane. There is no in between according to their worldview. And to prove their point, they practice a giddy, breath-taking brutality that horrifies some and woos others.

Apart from the unthinkable violence, much of this mindset feels familiar. The tactics are far more tame, but the pathology is similar. Polemicist groups insisting that their way is correct, and any who disagree have no rights--no right to be married, no right to conduct business or be part of the marketplace, no right (in a figurative sense) to exist. ISIS is, perhaps, just another belligerent bunch of humans desperate to sort the world into two categories--and then eliminate one of the categories.

There is a childishness to that mindset. It's easy. It doesn't require reflection or the mental stretch of holding two opposite ideas in a comfortable tension. And it demands absolute acquiescence. Or else.

I'm assuming Chely sees through all of this as she writes her songs. She has two children of her own--maybe they play with the little plastic sorting games that toddlers love. This goes here, this goes here, this goes here...and if it doesn't, throw a tantrum. Thrash, kick and yell. Change laws. Threaten livelihoods, and then threaten lives. After all, it's worked in the past.

I just betcha (call it a hunch) that Chely's new songs may signal a resistance to that pull. Maybe they will suggest logic and vocabulary for listeners who need to be the adults in the room, who stand up to the tantrums and quite likely take a few hits for it. And for the listeners in countries governed by ISIS (yes, they listen to Chely over there), they may well find comfort, deep deep in their hearts.

(Reminder: I do not know Chely Wright personally or know anyone who knows her personally. The musings in this blog are mine only and represent no one else. I promise.)