Propaganda vs. an Altar

I woke up this morning from a night of concern. Minneapolis and St. Paul have been experiencing a week of unrest that saw looting and the setting of fires to property all over the city. The politics of blaming the Governor and the Mayors for not reacting soon enough filled the air waves, and the outrage of Citizens who watched all of this unfold was growing. The protestors who were sincerely protesting the abuse of the police at the death of George Floyd, had their agenda highjacked by the looting and rioting. So, our community was filled with anger, fear, and unrest.

As I write this, no one is sure our nightmare is over, but it does seem a bit calmer. It is in this context that I find myself reflecting on two contrasting themes.

1. Propaganda

Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political, religious, or social cause or point of view.

We all know there is a bias in how news is delivered to the public today. CNN and FOX News have their respective followings, but their message is quite different. Both have a way of presenting a polarizing message to the public. Both can be reporting on the same news story, yet they will sound completely different. We like to think that propaganda is strictly used by foreign governments to present a lie to their fellow countrymen and to the world. However, the United States has engaged in propaganda for decades to present a narrative to the world about who we are and what we believe.

This may sound biased to you, but there is very little honesty in what we hear today. Truth, at best, is a half-truth cocktail of fact, fiction, and fantasy, all designed to influence - not inform – with a goal of manipulating you into a mindset of supporting an agenda. COVID-19 was one of the biggest manipulations of our century. Has anyone ever wondered why the numbers of deaths and the number of positive cases in the United States are 3 times that of any nation in the world, including China, whose population is four times the size of the United States? Yet China has had fewer cases and deaths than the United States.

· China: 83,001 confirmed, 78,304 recovered and 4,634 deaths.

· United States: 1.8 million confirmed, 309,000 recovered, and 105,000 deaths

Your conclusion on this? Don’t even try … it won’t make sense. Unless you decide that statistical figures can be manipulated for reasons of some agenda or something went radically wrong in the way we were treating it. I think my point will only be proven as time goes on, so at this point it is only my opinion. However, I call you to be vigilant in testing everything. Question everything … don’t just accept the word of anybody, including the so-called experts … they have been proven wrong all along. Statistics too can be massaged to make a point, just like a lie. We are so prone to accept the wrong information, and social media and the Internet are full of people who will mislead you. Propaganda is a real problem today. I hope you understand that word and add its meaning to your Discernment factor.

2. Altar

Altar is another word I think we have forgotten in many of our Christian circles. As I was reading through the Torah, or the First Five Books of the Bible recently, I was amazed at how many times Altars were erected to Honor and Worship God. I realize that Jesus became our one-time Altar when He Died upon The Cross, and when we Accept and Honor Him as our Lord and Savior, He becomes our Altar with God. Yet, in our own lives, our personal commitment to Him does demand that we become an Altar to Him. An Altar to Him is the epitome of what Jesus said in:

Matthew 16 24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Shifting to this kind of thinking takes a real concerted effort on our part to make Him real in our lives. He is more than just a religious observance or a tradition we have been comfortable with; Jesus is the Living God who interacts with us if we search for Him. If we treat our lives as a Living Altar of Honor to God, that means we change the direction of how we see the world, starting with ourselves. We don’t live in a bubble of Praise and Worship, but we see the world as God sees it, and our lives then become Messengers of His Message. We are not concerned about our opinions, but we are always looking at refining His Opinion (His Word) in our lives. This Altar (our lives) becomes a place for God to reach into our society with His Peace that roots out the hatred and anger that many have stored away. It cleanses the hurt, the disappointment, and the pain of being robbed of dignity, respect, and our right to be human in our world.

What we have seen in Minneapolis and St. Paul this past week is a reflection of our distrust of each other, our anger with each other, and even our hatred for each other. We can even say we have seen the inhumanity in how some of the police treat people, and we have seen the inhumanity of the riots that had nothing to do with George Floyd.

If we are honest, we have a lot of blame to go around. But what is next? Do we just rebuild a city from the ruins and forget the cause and effect of what went on this past week? Do we charge and prosecute the police officers and say we did a good job of justice? Do we forgive what happened and move on to getting back to a normal life?

We can put all kinds of new ideas together, and policies in place, but unless the heart is changed nothing will ever change. God is our Hope, our Answer, and our Peace. The propaganda of this world keeps us apart, keeps us agitated with each other, and keeps us at unrest. God changes a person’s life from the inside out and makes our lives an Altar of Honor to His Name. That is when a person is at peace with themselves and can become an Altar of His Message of Love and Forgiveness for everyone.

Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler

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