A rundown of all you need to know about 2017. Can it be better than 2016? It certainly wouldn’t take much to improve on last year. Join us as we run through a whole host of topics related to the new year including New Year’s Resolutions, Trump’s inauguration, Meryl Streep, Mc Donald’s, Ken Ham and so much more.
Title: Hello 2017
Program: Snarky Faith Radio | www.snarkyfaith.com
Host: Stuart Delony
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I am your host, Stuart Delony. Thankfully, thank God, that I can say this. Now, this is the first show of 2017. We made it, folks. We somehow made it through 2016. Twenty-sixteen (2016), that cluster [makes horn sound] of a year, but somehow, we made it, and we barely made it out intact. There were so many folks that were beloved to us that died over this last year. Even as the year inched closer to an end, I would just be like, “Ugh,” we just have to make it a little further, a little further, and we’ll finally be done with this wretched year that is 2016.
A personal story, it was New Year’s Eve, when I got a phone call that one of my favorite uncles, my Uncle John, had passed away. I — well, I can’t actually use all of the terms I was thinking in my head about this wretched, awful past year that we went through, but that was really just the cherry on top. He was a good man. He was a beloved man, and he was just too good to be a part of the awfulness that was 2016.
I digress. We have moved beyond. We have made it. The door was closed and a new door is open. A new year is in front of us. I’m excited about the possibility of this, until about midway when I start getting snarky again, and we’ll just dump on the year, as well, as we move forward.
Yes. We are here, 2017. If you are here in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, you know we had baby snow-pocolypse going on right now. I will tell you this. I will tell you that, right now, this show is coming to you from a closet in my house. Yes, the roads are icy. I did not necessarily want to get out and try and tackle the studio with the way things are going; snow on the ground, ice on the roads, especially in the evening with black ice. If you are listening to me right now, live on the radio, drive safely on your way home.
Yes, I have kids. I am in my house, and I have found a place that is the only place that I’ve found, that I believe, is quiet enough for the show, which is a closet. So I begin 2017 in the closet. You can read into that however you want to, but I am just glad to be here. We will be bringing you a bunch of great stuff moving forward in this year. I am excited about 2017 for Snarky Faith. I want to say, “Hey, thank you,” for those that have been with us for the past couple of years. Also, if you’re new to this whole thing, “Welcome. Welcome to the show.”
If you’re new to this, I just really want to give you a rundown of what Snarky Faith looks like, what we are about, all of that. We are simply folks that — if you didn’t already catch this in our intro — that we are all about skewering through life, culture, religion, spirituality, all of that, coming from a realm that, essentially, religion has done us wrong in many, many different ways, but that doesn’t mean that faith should stop in the midst of it.
So speaking about faith or the faithless, whichever way you want to look at this, we’ve gotten, recently in the news, a Trump inauguration rundown. So we have, of the pastors that will be attending the inauguration of our dear Don, we have: televangelists, Paula White; rageaholic, curmudgeon, Franklin Graham; and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson. When you actually spell Wayne T. Jackson, the “s” in Jackson is actually a dollar sign [sarcasm].
When I read this, I was like, “Wait. What? No Creflo Dollar? No Joel Osteen? This is shameful.” I was hoping for a full house of all jokers if that’s actually possible, or, maybe, we could just say four of a kind with all jacks or jackasses. [sarcasm] Yeah, that’s pretty much what we’ll have to just deal with and move forward on.
Oh, what a ride, my dear listeners, this next four years will be. Wait, never mind. We have Franklin Graham. We have Paula White, and we have Wayne T. Jackson. They, somehow, must be related to Trump, right? Isn’t that what he does? He, pretty much, just hires people to be around him that he’s somehow related to. Relations could be that he touched you inappropriately, or, somehow, he has used his own seed to make you, which, sadly enough, if you combine the grabbing and the seed, that actually, puts a pretty wide swath of people that could be partially on his cabinet or his advisors. No, no, no, when we speak of our dear Trump, he’s all despot nepotism or bust. We have to remember that he is our orange president erect, and deserves a chance. [sarcasm]
Who am I kidding? This is going to be a train wreck, the kind of train wreck that happens when you don’t have Amy Schumer there to help us laugh it off. Yeah, that kind of train wreck, the kind that’s not funny, and there’s death, and there’s screaming, and there’s gnashing of teeth, and there’s suffering, and all that kind of stuff. [sarcasm] Yep. We just got rid of 2016. Twenty seventeen (2017), let’s hop on the train.
What I want to tell you guys is that I don’t want you to worry as we step into this new year with a new president. Do not worry. We, here, at Snarky Faith will keep the snark flowing as your release valve to help you keep your sanity.
Why, oh why, can’t we just keep Jesus out of politics, right, when we begin to think about all these folks? Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what fun would that be. Really, when you begin to break down the roster of religious leaders that are there for the inauguration, it’s almost like a joke. Actually, it is a joke. Think of this, you can set this up, and it would kill. It goes this way: Two prosperity gospel preachers, one rabbi, a Catholic priest, a Hispanic Christian leader, and the son of Billy Graham all walk into a bar… That’s how it goes. This is the joke. This is the life we’re living in right now. If you can’t laugh about it, you’re probably going to blow your brains out. [sarcasm]
So we have this. We have the prosperity gospel twins here in the mix. We’ve got Paula White and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, and they totally, totally make sense for Trump to have them there. They both believe that the streets of heaven are paved in gold. Because of that, they believe that their mansions here on Earth should, probably, be covered in gold and all sorts of gaudiness that goes all around that. They’re all about parishioners sowing seeds and grabbing glory. Donald does have a bit of a fake gold thing going for him whether it’s his complexion or the façade of anything that he builds, or, for that matter, anything that he likes to grab. [sarcasm]
You see, the prosperity game is all about making a name for yourself, and then, rolling in the dough, rolling in the bling. That’s all from the Trump playbook. Do you remember it? It’s called the Art of the Steal [sic]. [sarcasm] We have to remember that money, wealth, and power are all symbols of God’s favor and power. Aren’t they? [sarcasm] So who am I to argue? That being said, if you want God’s favor in 2017, I want you to know that you can go to www.snarkyfaith.com, and we are accepting checks. Remember, the bigger check equals a bigger blessing. Of course, I’m kidding. We’re still your same snark for free every week.
All of this seems weird in stark contrast to what God has asked of us like in the book of Micah where it says, “The Lord has shown you what is good. He has told you what he requires of you. You must act with justice. You must love to show mercy. And you must be humble yourself as you live in the sight of your God.”
What? What is all this? Mercy, humble? I mean, how does all this fit into this prosperity — I’d say prosperity gospel, but now, we’re, also, entering into the prosperity presidency. Maybe, I’m wrong in this, and I’m fully well admitting here that I could be wrong because I could be reading this from a totally different translation. Maybe, they are reading it from the KJV, or the FML, or the WTF? [sarcasm] That is always a good possibility of what could be happening here.
Then, there’s the Twitter accounts that are going on right now, the Twitter accounts for our next Führer. I mean, how is this a thing? Can someone have daily temper tantrums? Yeah, thanks again 2016 for Trump. That’s one of those things that are going to continue to pay wonderful dividends for the rest of us. I believe it was Depeche Mode that said, “Words like violence, break the silence, come crashing in, into my little world. Painful to me, pierce right through me, can’t you understand,” oh, my little Trump.
Hey, things couldn’t get any crazier than they already are. It’s not like they’re putting a McDonald’s in the Vatican, right? That would be absurd if it didn’t just happen. It opened on December 30, of last year. Screw you, 2016.
On a lighter note, let’s talk about the destruction of our planet. That’s always fun cocktail conversation. Seriously, have you been keeping up with climate scientist, Katherine Hayhoe, lately? Yeah, she’s amazing. Yeah, she’s a friend of the show. You can go on our website www.snarkyfaith.com and find our episode with her, and I’ll put a link here in the show notes for you. Why does all this matter? Why do climate scientists, like Katherine Hayhoe, matter? Why does all this matter in the face of global warming and climate change? Well, it simply matters because of this, my dear snarky listeners. Just half of American evangelicals believe that global warming is actually a thing. Just let that drift into you. Half of evangelical Christians out there honestly believe that global warming, that climate change, is a thing; half of them. It’s actually sadder because you can compare that to 63% of Americans that actually believe that it’s a thing, and it’s a real problem that has deep religious roots that many would deny.
If I do recall back in the book Genesis, you know, the book that Ken Ham loves to use to build theme parks from. Yeah, that one. Back in Genesis where you have this ethic that is deeply embedded in the nature of God where God creates the Earth, and he puts it in our care. It’s one of the first things that God commands humans to do. That we’re not supposed to rape the Earth like Ben Roethlisberger would after a few drinks. Yeah. It’s a pretty big deal. God created the Earth. He gave it us to take care of, and we’re really doing a crappy job of it. The fact that we like to deny it, the fact that we like to stick our heads in the sand, the fact that we like to stick our fingers in our ears and say, “La la la la la la la la la. This isn’t happening. This isn’t real.” Yeah, we can do that all we want, but it’s still happening. It’s still a problem. The more that we deny it’s a problem, the further we are to being able to fix it.
Back to Katherine. Katherine Hayhoe recently started a PBS show called Global Weirding and it is definitely, definitely, worth your time. I love the work that she is doing. She just has a great heart and a passion for this. I think she’s just a wonderful and great individual, and you should check it out.
So you heard me speak of Ken Ham earlier. Right? Ken Ham, our old buddy. Old Kenny’s a favorite of the show. By that I mean, we love to rip on Ken Ham, and that he’s probably never heard of this show. [makes a sad “wa wa” sound] Ken found himself in a bit of a Twitter war. Oh my gosh, Twitter war. Can we go a whole show without talking about Twitter wars? It’s not with Trumpy, thankfully. Well, I don’t know “thankfully”. I think it would be pretty amusing to see the two of those get into it. It just so happens that if those two would go at it, I’m pretty sure the world would come to an end. [sarcasm] It’s kind of like crossing your streams, Ghostbuster style, or urinal style. Feel free to pick which analogy works best for you.
No, Ken Hambone [sic] — Wait. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to connect those two things. It’s causing a really weird image in me; Ken Bone, Ken Ham. If you were to take it — if anyone remembers like back in the days when Conan O’Brien had his show and he had this segment that was called, “If They Mated,” where you would take two celebrities and mash together their faces in some sort of grotesque creature. Yeah, it’s too much to handle for me to think of Ken Ham, Ken Bone. It’s just disgusting, so I’ll move on.
So Ken Ham. He is our lovely Mr. Biblical Literalist. Now, if you want to know what a biblical literalist is, you can also go to our website and see a show on that. We did an entire one on it. So he’s a biblical literalist who believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old. He believes that the Earth is literally 6,000 years old. He’s having a little bit of a Jurassic-style problem that even — I’m going to insert here that Chris Pratt probably can’t fix, but I wish he could. It would be an amazing movie, and I would watch it. I would put down my money, and go to the theater, and watch Chris Pratt somehow fix Ken Ham and his ark problem.
No, but Ken Ham is the proprietor of the Ark Encounter. It’s a theme park in Kentucky, which is, essentially, just one huge ark like Noah-style ark. You know, that kind of ark, Old Testament ark. Yeah. You know, it’s kind of one of those Don Quixote meets the Field of Dreams meets your crazy uncle who likes to throw out fake news stories like it’s real. It’s that kind of a park, and it’s in Kentucky because when anyone thinks about Kentucky, they think of intellectualism, or ideology, or scholarship, or having all your teeth. [sarcasm] Yeah. Really, when I think of Kentucky, all I can think of is a bunch of hillbillies and probably, college basketball.
So the Ark Encounter is a multimillion-dollar park that seeks to preach and teach to the already initiated. Yep, it’s Ken Ham’s faith. I keep wanting to say Ken Bone now. It’s Ken Ham’s faith that led him to spend millions of dollars on feeding the poor. [sarcasm] Wait, never mind, I meant, spending millions of dollars to make millions of dollars from a theme park. It’s this prosperity thing that keeps popping up over and over again. Are we seeing a theme in this at all, Christianity? I feel like I want to have a dad talk and pull up a chair and say, “Hey, American Christianity. Let’s have a talk. I’m seeing some problems. I’m seeing some patterns here. I’m seeing that we keep going back to this thing, this love of money and love of screwing over people but then acting like we’re taking the high road.” Yeah, that thing, that prosperity thing.
So Ken Ham. He’s mad now at the Washington Post because the Washington Post asserted that his attraction is implying that dinosaurs died in the flood. I mean, that seems maybe reasonable, but Ken Ham’s having any of that. Why is he not having any of it? Because the attraction shows dinosaurs were on the ark. Thanks for clearing that up, Ken. Of course, they were on the ark. [sarcasm] That makes so much sense. You know, the Earth is very young, less than 6,000 years old, and the dinosaurs hung around on the ark for a while until they didn’t. [sarcasm] I don’t know even where to go from that. That’s just a bunch of ridiculousness. So Ken’s mad at the Washington Post.
Also, on top of this — again, once you hop up in the news — for all of those out there that are delightful news whores, the Sara Palins and the bunch of that, because it’s not simply enough to milk people for money and simply just run around and be crazy people, it’s the fact that you continuously, over and over, somehow find reasons to be in the news.
So good old Kenny is, also, calling for a new Protestant reformation. He says that it’s been over 500 years since the last one, and apparently, simply because of that, we’re due. [sarcasm] If we’re really going to take the new Earth belief that he has of 6,000 years, that we’ve only had so many reformations because they only happen so often, that we’re, apparently, due for a new one. [sarcasm] So when I talk about Ken Ham, I just want to give you a little bit of free association. You know what keeps popping up in my head? It keeps popping up in my head that I, god, I wish I was talking about Jon Hamm. Wouldn’t it be amazing to watch a show about a 1960’s advertising executive on Madison Avenue that had a dream, that had a dream that he should make a life-sized ark to make a ton of money about a bunch of foolish Christians? Sorry, that’s a total aside. I’ll get back to the point.
So Ham, his issue and his point of saying that we need a new reformation, a new one just because it’s due, he wants us to turn back to reading the Bible literally because, apparently, he does. If he does, then everyone else should. [sarcasm] Yeah, that’s his conclusion to the question, what’s wrong with Christianity in American today, is that we need to read the Bible literally. Thanks for playing, Ken. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
If you really want to know what’s the problem with American Christianity, I can give you a few off the top of my head. Let’s say: materialism; consumerism; megachurches; Ken Ham; the fact that we don’t like to live out the ways, and ethics, and teachings that Jesus calls us to do. Yeah, that thing. I would probably circle back to there. You know, when Jesus tells us to: love one another, to love our enemies, to move forward and help those who need help, to speak out when those who are being marginalized are being oppressed. You know, those things? Yeah, I think that’s the problem.
I don’t think it’s about how we’re reading the Bible. I think it’s the fact that we’re not taking the words of Jesus very seriously, that we are called to love those who are being oppressed. We’re called to love those that we, in our own effort, would love to call “enemy.” Jesus says that we are called to love them, and that, my friends, will preach, just not at a Trump inauguration.
As we step into this new year with promise and hope, which, oftentimes, ends up looking like resolutions that we make, and we break, and we become this grand cliché. Before I step into an entire diatribe on resolutions, I will step into something a little bit personal, something that I would call a bit of a confession.
I am a commissioner of a Fantasy Football league. Our own, Dr. Ben, is on that league. A few of my children are on that league. A bunch of other folks, that I love and care for, are on this league. I will preface all of this by saying the past two years I’ve been the champion. It has been glorious. It has been beautiful. I have been unstoppable. I have, actually, never played Fantasy Football and not been a league champion until 2016.
Here’s my confession. I had a really, bad year. I had a really bad Fantasy year. No amount of statistics and research could put life into the lifeless body that was my Fantasy team. [laughs] So not only did I perform poorly, I ended up in the playoffs, in what they would call the “consolation prize” playoffs. You know, for those few people in your league that have mucked it up, but they just want to keep playing. So, no, I did not have the worst record in my league.
When it came to the playoffs, I ended up being pitted against my dear friend who has been playing Fantasy Football with us for two years and really doesn’t know what he’s doing, and ended up the year with zero wins. We get to the playoffs, he’s the first team I play against, and then, I lose to him. I lose to him in a very, ugly fashion, which throws me into, essentially, the toilet bowl bracket where there’s no hope, there’s no dignity, there’s only trying to make sure that you are not the supreme loser of our league. So my confession is that I was the winner of our ceremonial toilet bowl trophy this year from 2016.
You may be saying that I’m upset at 2016 simply because Fantasy Football, and by in large, you may be right, but there’s been many other things in this year that have been horrible. This was the icing on top of the cake of my 2016. Part of my penance for being the supreme loser was that I have to come on live radio and admit that I was the Fantasy Football loser for our league. There you have it. I have borne my shame to all of you. Now, I’ll move on from my Fantasy Football confession.
So when we begin to think about this new year, the hope, the promise of where we want it to go, of the places and things that we want to see in the midst of it. It always drives us to that place where we call New Year’s resolutions. What I want to do here is caution you, caution you, against being a cliché. Twenty seventeen (2017) should not start off with you having resolutions.
When I began to read about this, I began to look into the deeper topic on how we started resolutions, what happens with it. Everything you can read about it online usually descends into the cliché, not about resolutions, but about broken resolutions. Then, I stumbled onto this blog post by Meghan Telpner who is a Nutritionist at meghantelpner.com.
What she was doing, which I absolutely loved — I loved her take on resolutions. What she was trying to do was to reframe the conversation. She was trying to move it towards a place where we don’t look at resolutions because resolutions, for the most part, end up being self-serving for us; I want to lose weight. I want to look better. I want to not “Netflix and chill” 24/7 in this next year. It ends up being something that’s about me, me, me. Most times, they’re also very, very specific, especially when we go back to that idea, which is one of the perennial ones, of being able to lose weight. That’s very much me titled.
When she had written her post — and this is back from 2014, but I think it still speaks very clearly — it goes into this idea, and I think that she’s pushing this thought forward where we shouldn’t look towards resolutions. We should look towards intentions because resolutions can, oftentimes, be very finite. They can be very much looked at in the form of metrics like I want to have less debt. I want to lose weight. I want to do this, that, and the other.
When we boil it down to a series of metrics, which can, oftentimes, be helpful because you get a better return on investment — if we’re going to use that kind of buzz word, an ROI — on what we’re hoping for in the year. What ends of happening when we boil everything down to a series of metrics is the fact that it only keeps us looking at that plot point on our map for the year. It doesn’t have us looking to the horizon. It doesn’t really have us looking forward. It really, for the most part, has us looking backwards meaning if I keep using this analogy of the weight idea, which is, I would assume, the number one resolution that people go after.
When we begin to look forward, we’re not saying, “Oh, I’ve done so well this last year. I want to capitalize on that and keep moving forward.” No, it looks at, “I have made decisions that I am not very happy with and I want to fix those.” The problem with that is that it doesn’t keep us looking forward, and it, also, doesn’t keep us flexible in how we’re engaging the world and environment around us.
In her article that I was going through, I liked that she started asking a bunch of very open-ended questions. She began to say, “What would your financial situation be? What would your love for family look like? What would your health be like? What would your professional realm look like?” When you begin to paint a broader stroke instead of a very specific one, the entire anatomy of your outlook changes. When I go through Meghan’s writing, she had said (and this is back in 2014) — she uses the intentions that she had, that she would be: present, and loving, and healthy, and fearless, and creative, and focused, and carefree, and light, and passionate, and adventurous and awake, vibrant and abundant, transformed, peaceful, and happy.
When we begin to lay forward intentions, they take on a totally different life than resolutions. You see, an intention is something that we hope for, something that we carry with us when we step out into our day. When we say something like, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” it sounds very different than being able to say, “I want to be present and loving in every interaction that I have in moving through this year.” To say that I’m healthy and fearless, it just opens things up. What it does, also, is that it becomes something that has to become the whole of us. It’s the difference — and you’ve probably heard this before. I’ve probably said this on another show, but it’s the difference between being and doing. I like using this phrase.
I had a professor that told me long ago that there’s a huge difference between the being and the doing because we are a human being and not a human doing. When I see these resolutions, when I see these resolutions versus intentions, I begin to see this dichotomy between being and doing.
The doing, those are the small things. Those are things that are measurable. Those are the things that we can tick off, that we can look at specifically and say, “Yeah, I’ve done it.” When we look at the intentions, those are the things that carry us through the entire year.
Say you do lose those 30 pounds as part of your resolution. You’re done. Your whole goal is to make sure you don’t gain them back. If your intention is to be present when you are around people and with people, that has different power. That has different implications upon how you walk out into to the world every day.
To be present means I’m present with my loved ones. I am present with my friends, but I am also present with the cashier at the grocery store. I am also present with that person in the drive-through window that’s giving me coffee. I’m also present when I pass by somebody on the sidewalk that is asking for some change. You see, one is very inward and micro. The other is very outward and macro and requires way, way, way more of ourselves on a daily basis.
I think that even though we joke about it, that resolutions are meant to be broken, intentions become about living a new way of life. They have implications upon every fiber of our being, every interaction, every conversation that we have with people. When we begin to step into this year with new eyes and new intentions, it will bring us to a new and different place. I believe those are the ways to really begin to incite change within ourselves and incite change in the world around us. There’s a risk to those.
We like resolutions because they’re measurable. Intentions, they’re scary because we don’t know where it’s going to take us. We say, “I want to lose 30 pounds because I want to look a certain way.” When we say we want to be present, we have no idea where that journey will take us. As I move into looking into this year, the hope, the promise, and all of it, my hope for 2017 is that we can all learn to listen better, to learn from one another, to take time to see the God-given humanity in those that are different from ourselves.
My story is not your story, but that doesn’t make your story any less valid than my story. I want to see us to return to dialogue instead of posturing and yelling. I believe that we need to learn to listen to the voices that are different from our own, to learn from their stories, to take to heart the critiques of our values and views, whatever they are. I want to be more helpful and see the good in humanity, but, also fight for what is right, to see that the marginalized should have a voice, to see that the forgotten are given dignity, and to see life in terms of a spectrum instead of black and white or ones and zeros.
I want to use this space to offer another way to look at faith and belief, to see the words of Jesus take life and move into this world with skin on them, to find adventures and avenues for finding ways to heal the broken, to give voice to voiceless, to chart a new way to live, and walk, and interact with others. I want to see other people with new eyes, and I deeply believe in the words, and the ethics, and the teachings of Jesus because they say that love should lead us. They say that anger, and violence, and revenge are never the solution to a broken way of being. They only cause more heartache and pain.
I want to walk out the ways of Jesus, and that means that we must put our own needs secondarily to those that are hurting, and broken, and of need. It means that we learn to love those who don’t agree with us, which may be stretching for a guy who runs a radio show built around snark and sarcasm. I’m in progress. I’m learning. I believe that there is a different way beyond this paradigm of survival that we find ourselves living out. I see that there’s another way to exist beyond just trying to grapple to get more, and more, and to get ahead.
I see a world that is hurting and broken and that somebody needs to step forward to offer a different narrative than the ones that we are being currently given, ones that are driven by hope and change, one that doesn’t seek to ostracize those that may hold different beliefs than ourselves, but a way that seeks inclusion and dignity for all people. I want to see 2017 as a time to take back the story, to take back the purpose for why we are here all together on this planet we call Earth, that we are better together than we are apart. If we are all created in God’s image, then we shouldn’t tear down one another in order to feel superior. It’s not about winning. It’s not about being right. It’s about doing the work that needs to be done to heal the brokenness that we’ve all had a hand in creating.
I see the environment moving beyond the tipping point. I see a people more fractured than ever before. I see paranoia running rampant. I see distrust and no benefit of the doubt happening in our midst. I see a place that is doomed for failure if we continue down this path that was given to us by those who came before us. [sighs]
There is an ideal that we have that leads us to say that I need to get mine, and that has to change. We must look toward the common good. We must look towards the local and the community in ways that we can incite change. We must do this in a dogged way that is unrelenting. We must not rest. We must not stop even if we don’t see any immediate results in the future.
This American obsession with Manifest Destiny, and consumerism, and materialism, and needing more, and more, and more regardless of the global implications, must end. I see a faith, I see a Christianity that has lost its way. If it were an elderly person, we’d take away his drivers license because he can’t see clearly anymore.
It is my hope that the words of Christ can transform us closer to the image of our servant King. A man that cared enough about a different way, that was willing to die for it, it was about a nonviolent revolution that eventually shared a bed with the ways of the world, something that started off beautiful that became very ugly. American Christianity should be an oxymoron, but it’s not. It’s become something that rarely resembles its creator, and it’s lost its way.
My hope is to see a faith that becomes something that drives change, that gives dignity to the forgotten, and offers healing to the hurt and abused especially those that have been hurt and abused by faith because there is always another way. I see this year as one that can carry with it profound change and tremendous possibility but can easily slide back into being business as usual, where we sit back on the sidelines and complain about the way the world is without acting, without sacrificing, without stepping into the gap to create the change we all hope for and desire. I see it as a chance to begin to move the ship back into the right direction even if it’s just a few degrees in the right direction.
I see this as a chance to push back against the corrupt powers that we voted for or voted against, to push for change in the streets before it moves into the legislature. We put far too much hope in our votes and our politicians. We have abdicated who we are supposed to be as a people that create and craft the world into the way we want it to be. It has become far too easy to blame politicians, to criticize, to rage against them, and at the same time, for us to do absolutely nothing.
If we want change, this is ours to make. If we want to see a difference in this world, it will not be done by those elected but by those who elect to stand for a higher ethic and a different way to see our future. We should not begin by looking at resolutions but looking towards a new posture, a new set of intentions that will ground us, and drive us to change in 2017.
I will leave you with the words of the ethereal Meryl Streep as she gave a lifetime acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, recently. She said this as she closed in her speech:
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks into my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asked to sit in the most respected seat in our country. He imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, and in power, and in the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something that we were going to work through supper, or the long hours, or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
In her words, I’m just captured by them because I think we all have the privilege and the responsibility to learn to live in a way where we act out of empathy, where we stand up for those that don’t have a voice, when we do the hard work of making change happen in our communities, when we put aside our desires for more and our desires for “How can I get what I want?” We put those to the side, and we begin to ask ourselves, “What is the greater good? Am I living for myself, or am I living for the greater good of this world? Am I investing in myself, or am I investing in the greater good of my community?” When we begin to live that way, when we begin to put those types of intentions forward, it transforms everything.
In this show, it’s so easy for me to rail against the powers-that-be because we’re the small guy. We don’t have the power. It’s easy to poke shots and make fun of those who are in power and acting irresponsibly. I think it’s just because of that, that we need to have our voice. We need to step forward.
So 2017 says to me, if you are unhappy about the way the world is, make a change, make a difference. If you are disgusted by the way our politicians are running our country, invest in your community. Do the hard work it takes to make sure they stop making those mistakes. It could be something like protesting, or it could be something as simple showing kindness to somebody that direly needs it. I see every day as an opportunity to make a difference. I see every day to make a change in myself. I see every day as an opportunity to make a change in the world around me. Are you with me?
I don’t want to look back on this next year and complain, in the way I did, about the last year because, ultimately, it could funny, it could be snarky, it could be sarcastic. It’s a copout. If I want to be able to complain at the end of the year about 2017, I better have worked hard to make a difference. I better have sweat, and bled, and tried my best to able to make a positive change in the world around me. That is all we got this week on the show.
As we end this broadcast, just a reminder, that you can catch us on podcast at www.snarkyfaith.com. If you are one of our dear listeners who love us, go over onto iTunes, look up Snarky Faith, and give us some love in the form of stars. Give us a clean bill of health over there. You can also find us out on Twitter and Facebook. I’m excited about what this new year has for us and where it’s going to take the show. Thank you so much. I appreciate you for being a part of the conversation. My best for you and yours in 2017.
Transcribed by Miriam Delony