Are you a “rip it off slowly”, or rip it off quickly person when it comes to the dreaded Band-Aid?
Whatever happens it’s going to be “ouchy”, right? So which “ouchy” do we want? Quick or slow?
A friend asked me last night if I was feeling pleased that many of the things I’ve been predicting in my blog over the past year are coming to pass.
I said no. I said I was more pleased that they’re happening as quickly as I predicted they would, despite those who mocked me as a “sky’s falling in” sort of bloke.
I jest, but when the same sex marriage plebiscite was passed I said it would be a precipitous event, not a slippery slope. Things would happen quickly.
I said things would happen quickly because that was a Rubicon moment: The moment when we publicly admitted, as well as politically and legally enacted, the end of one vision of the good life, and set into place another vision altogether.
The end of a common vision, and the commencement of myriad individual visions.
The vote did not end that common vision, merely admit that it had dissipated and fractured.
The irony of course, in this age of over-stated diversity, is that a new vision of the good life, crafted and enhanced by culture, politics and law, is rising up to fill the gaps. And it brooks no rivals, no matter how diverse.
Witness the pace of the conversation in Parliament. Witness the lack of any wiggle room in the public square about religious freedom, which is being talked about already as a “concessive” right that must be subsumed under other universal rights (which fell out of the sky on tablets apparently, irony of ironies).
So there was a certain naivety to one of my more progressive Christian friends from a past life who, when I mentioned before the plebiscite what might happen to religious freedom issues said this on Facebook to me: “Let’s just get this voted through and we’ll deal with that later.”
I don’t know how much later he meant by “later” but here we are less than eleven months later and the alternative government – and many within the current one – have made it clear that the old era of ethical communities deciding the makeup of their members is merely a mask for bigotry and retrograde thinking. .
I’ve half a mind of asking this friend on Facebook if he actually meant the “we” bit of “we’ll deal with it later” or if he’s more than happy to let his more orthodox Christian brothers and sisters swing alone in the breeze.
And come to think of it, many of the more progressive voices in the faith in Australia have suddenly lost voice or gone all sotto voce on this one. Perhaps they lost their voices screaming loudly across the globe at the US Supreme Court fiasco of the last few weeks, and now they’re sitting at home sipping lemon and honey recovering as I write. They want to get involved, but they’re too worn out, what with all that hash-tagging and all.
The pace of change will catch many unprepared. And we’ve seen this in the faith-based education debate.
Whereas just twelve months ago the conversation was about a slow wind-down of funding over the years, what we’ve seen is that in the space of a couple of weeks the language used to describe the faith-based schools and their employment policies being touted not as archaic, but as dangerous.
And it’s little wonder. As a full time evangelist/apologist friend observed today, in just five short years the primary message he is countering is not “Is Christianity true?”, but “Is Christianity safe?”
And there’s a whole host of mainstream media and advocacy groups, along with the medical and social sciences professions who are happy to say that it is not.
So here we are. The bandage is, it would seem, not going to come off slowly. Our faith-based schools etc are not going to die the death of a thousand tiny cuts as the cultural narrative ebbs away at their riverbanks. No, it’s more like a tsunami that will wash things away – and quickly.
Maybe we just need to grin and bear it. Rip the Band-Aid off quickly; get on with strengthening and recreating a vision of the good life among a chastened, and retracted Christian culture. It might be ouchy at the start, but we’ll adjust.
And in the process we can get on with creating that counter-culture, a true vision of the good life, indeed, that will provide more than a Band-Aid solution to the cancer of our Sexular Culture.