Monday, January 19, 2015

Oh good, another ridiculous culture war squabble

So it hit the interwebs today that largely (see what I did there?) irrelevant media personality Michael Moore implied that Chris Kyle, the soldier who is the subject of the movie American Sniper, was cowardly because he was a sniper. In true Michael Moore fashion he then backpedaled on that statement but everyone knows that is what he meant. In fairness to the corpulent Mr. Moore he knows all about putting his life on the life for something he believes in, after all every time he devours another cheeseburger he is rolling the dice. All kidding aside I have nothing but respect for a guy who has made millions and lives a lavish style by castigating people who make millions and live lavish lifestyles. Ironically his attempt at being clever will probably drive untold numbers of people into the theaters to see this film.

The backlash has been swift and predictable. People are rushing to defend Kyle and excoriate Moore. In doing so we see the near canonization of a man who is famous for being a professional killer.  That sounds harsh but it is the truth, he is famous for being very, very good at killing people. Maybe they deserved it, maybe it was for a good cause or even noble but it boils down to being one of the most proficient individual killers to have ever live. It is hard to draw up a more idyllic representative of American cultural heroism than a sniper who killed perhaps hundreds of presumed terrorists, looking through a scope at his next target holding a rifle with a cross tattooed on his arm. Little wonder the movie is doing so well. 

I haven't seen the movie and have no real desire to do so. I also have little interest in sitting in judgment of the life of a dead man. I am slightly bemused and more than a little discomforted to see battle lines drawn over something like this and seeing professing Christians lining up on either side to demonize a man or lionize him. Our entanglements and obsessions with the world poison the church, rob of us of our unity and sully the name of Christ. How desperately we need to disentangle ourselves from the world, not to hide from it but to demonstrate a different way. Using a film depicting the life of someone who apparently had a very troubled, tortured existence for our amusement and to score political points on one side or another is crass and low. Every day there are real issues to deal with, babies being murdered, the lost going to the judgment without Christ, children starving. When did the church get so petty?

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