Apocalypse...a revealing. 2020 has not been a zombie apocalypse or a nuclear apocalypse. Rather, 2020 has been an apocalypse, a revealing of humanity and its several institutions: federal government, state government, local government, churches, synagogues, and universities; not to mention high-schools, middle-schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and gyms.
The veil was pulled back and we are seeing more of each other. Not in the come-over-to-my-place-and-watch-the-game kind but rather the soul-ish kind, the unvarnished mirror-mirror-on-the-wall kind. And what did we find? Did you like what you found out about your neighbor or mayor or Facebook friends? How about that stranger who looked at you askance for wearing a mask in the beginning or not wearing one near the end? What did you think about her?
Certainly there is much to say about all the goings on in our several communities whether it be facts fact checked by factual fact checkers or doublespeak parading as news. But perhaps the greatest revealing of them all is our obvious and alarming lack of community. People we thought would behave one way chose, to our shock and awe, a path quite the opposite. Some pastors closed their churches. Who would do such a thing!? Some left them open. Who would do such a thing?!
We don't know each other. Shucks, some of us don't know our own spouses, let alone the machinations of some governor or mayor across the state or across the country. Why don't we? The answer would drown most in a typhoon of words, systems, pundits, books, but I would like to offer two propositions. We in the West have embraced the Fake and have abandoned a common transcendent source of meaning.
We have embraced the Fake. We watch fake news, vote for fake politicians, play in fake worlds, attend fake church, and eat the most delicious fake potatoes. I'm lovin' it. Real is impossible. If I'm real, people will know my house is a mess, that I really don't look that good in person, and worst of all, I can't live up to my own standards. Sinner. Loser. Failure. So we fake it. We fake it 'til the Apocalypse comes, then comes the Mad Max bits.
We have abandoned a common transcendent source of meaning. When the world looks like that of a Javelin- driving, shotgun-wielding Mel Gibson, everyone is on their own - fighting, scraping, clawing for another day of existence. A transcendent source of meaning takes us beyond this world, beyond the immediate, animal, and pedestrian. In a fake world there is little place for such a source. But in a real world, in an apocalyptic world, that place begins to widen and apparent need for that source becomes more urgent.
Our world is an apocalyptic world and the greatest of apocalyptic events came 2,000 years ago at the archetypal Apocalypse, the revealing of God manifest in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Real. He is the Meaning. He is the Great Apocalypse even with all the Mad Max bits.
Peter Van Kleeck Jr. Ph.D.
Informative. Provocative. Compelling.