Like Being in a Chat Room… But Real!”

The vast majority of the time, I have no regrets about only having very basic cable. We get TBS and its lovely line-up of reruns and bad movies, several several religious channels, and the local-access station, on which I’ve been known to watch entire meetings of the Greensboro zoning commission.  (That is, we can watch these things when our television is working properly, which at the moment, it is not.)

But every once in awhile something comes up that makes me wish we had cable. And almost always that something is Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. Now he’s come out with this Rally to Restore Sanity, and I kind of want to hug him.

As usual, he’s blurring the lines between entertainment and news, and also as usual, I’d pick him over most politicians if he would run for something. But I have to say, I think he’s really on to something this time, and I dearly hope that he’s a little bit serious, and not just doing it completely for laughs.

Earlier this week, I had lunch with one of the women’s groups at church. This is the group of women who are mostly in their 70’s and 80’s, and they meet once a month for a short program and lunch. They always invite me to eat with them, and I do, not only because I enjoy their company but also because they always have (I’m not kidding) cheese curls and some kind of homemade dessert. This time it was ice cream and a delicious chocolate cake. They warned me not to ask what was in the cake; I took their advice and devoured it.

I can’t remember how the conversation started – I don’t think I brought it up – but we found ourselves talking about last week’s brew-ha-ha about Quran-burning. To a person, they all agreed that the church in Florida was out of line, and that the situation had gotten escalated far more than it should have. Even the folks who don’t know much about the religion of Islam understood that the people who practice it have little in common with the extremists who use it to terrorize. I don’t mean to suggest that they all agreed about everything – but they were able to talk about it in a reasonable and civilized way. And they weren’t dismissive, either. They know it’s important to understand what’s happening, that we don’t want extremist Christians to represent Christianity any more than we want extremist Muslims to represent Islam, and that the world is different than it used to be and we ought to do a better job of living together.

And then they packed up their cheese curls and got back to doing what they do best: checking in on each other, visiting the sick, teaching Sunday school, folding the newsletter, taking food to the food pantry, studying their Bibles, looking for new insights, and trying to love God and understand the world.

That’s why I think Jon Stewart is on to something by suggesting that the loud and crazy people have hijacked the conversation. Maybe I’m being naive, but I think most people are like my church folks: concerned, curious, thoughtful, anxious, worried… but reasonable.

I love the idea of the Rally to Restore Sanity, and I’m sorry we don’t still live near DC, because maybe I would go. But, really, I don’t know if another rally on the national mall is the thing to.

Actually, I think people ought to spend more time in church kitchens.




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