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Populism

There have been headlines all day about the retweets of various videos that are anti-muslim. The people involved is a story in itself along with how the spokespeople for the main players find ways to respond. But is that the main story?

There is a deeper one about how we play to populism. We all do it at times I suppose. We charge against one side, we appeal to our baser natures, and linger over people fears stoking them. It is the easiest thing to do. It doesn't take any thought, wisdom or compassion to do so and when these are missing from how we engage with the world, then the world is missing any hope.

Populism appeals to the nasty side of humanity because it is one sided. It gives permission for prejudice. It is what religion does, or at least can do, very readily. Anything that appears to be black and white is shallow and dangerous because faith (different from religion) shows us that it is nuanced, and multi-layered and has the ability to hold opposing views at the one time.

Faith is a skillful way of engaging with the world. Look at Jesus' words and responses to people. He never offers black and white because Jesus recognises the whole kingdom thing is about relationships, which are never black and white. How often does he break the rules for people from those who would stone a prostitute to the Syro-Phoenician woman? Living in the world is a skillful thing and you need skillful resources to help and faith is one such resource. Populism breaks those nuances and the subtle balance that enables compassion and grace even for those who do not like us

It is easy to break things. Anyone can do that. The skill and the wisdom is found in living in relationship with diversity.

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