Lately I have been reminiscing about a pilgrimage I took to Poland a year ago this summer and reflecting on the deep impact the country and its history have had on my life. From the Nazis to the Communists, the country was wounded by what seems to me to be an idea. Both the Nazis and the Communists both had an idea about the worth and potential of the human person. All because of a certain ideas, the people of Poland suffered at the hands of dictators, war, and death - all because someone had an idea.
The more I watch TV, see advertisements, listen to talk shows, and take part in everyday conversations, I am more and more convinced that the battle we face in our culture is a war of ideas. It really seems to come down to who is screaming the loudest, who has the most money to buy a TV advertisement or billboard, or whose ideas seem to be the most popular or appealing. Who has the better ideas? MTV? Barak Obama? Us Magazine? John McCain? Ellen Degeneres? The Republicans or Democrats? Or how about the popular crowd at school? We are in an all-out war in our culture and it comes down to ideas. And the reality is, there are REAL causalities, REAL people who suffer because of the embracing of ideas that are contrary to who we are as sons and daughters of God and the nature of the human person.
So are their any better ideas? I thought you would never ask.
The idea I propose is a pretty old idea. I cannot claim it for my own and I did not just make it up last week. The idea stands on Tradition and the most popular book ever published. You see my friends, the idea is not a passing way or reliant upon the stock market or a political poll. The idea that I propose to you is a person and that person is Jesus Christ. Ever heard of Him?
Don’t you ever get tired of it - the noise, the opinions, and everything that comes with our culture? I sure do. I can barely listen to the radio or watch TV without being bombarded with the forces of our culture with the ideas they have of what will make us happy or fulfilled. Have you ever kept a list of what comes up on the TV in a given hour? The last time I sat down I kept track of the commercials. It went from patch contraceptives, to makeup, to weight loss pills, Dr. Pepper, Nike shoes, and a pitch for the TV show Mom Swap. I was amazed! The commercials covered sexuality, outward appearance, pop, shoes to buy, and a show about how messed up the family unit is. All it was, was ideas being presented for the consumer to take in and choose. We are in a war of ideas and the battle is all around us.
Everyday I encounter and have the privilege of listening and working with young people who have made a choice in their lives for Jesus. In all their stories they all came to a point where they tired of being let down, used, and feeling unfulfilled. You see my friends, the ideas of our culture give us a cheap imitation of happiness and lead us to desire something more. And when we are done looking and searching, Jesus is always there to welcome us back and invite us into a better place - a better idea if you will. An idea you were made for. The idea is that we are only complete in God, the one who made us, and that true freedom and happiness are found in becoming fully ourselves. In this relationship with Jesus, we come to understand what love is, and experience love in a way our culture has never seen or cannot take way.
In the end, my friends, this idea that the Church and Jesus claims as the true way and life, is not only an idea, but a way of life. The battle is ours to win. Let them waste their time, money and ideas, the victory is ours.
Don’t give into the ideas of our culture! Jesus is the only idea and life we need!
God Bless You,