Disregarding the influence of dystopian literature for the last year proved impossible for the bibliophile in me. In fact, I venture to say such fictionalized books oddly underscored the reality of a surreal experience. Every Katniss Everdeen-like protagonist flooded my 2020 thoughts and continued when the pages turned the world to a new chapter of the same book in 2021.
In reflection, I think a good title nowadays would be Brainwashed: the Tales of a Deceptive Media & Consensual Censorship.
The last year taught me what people willingly give up in exchange for the illusion of safety. In fact, illusion seemed more important than actual safety. The dizzying circles on the ground spread apart in the perfect measurement to prevent hazardous encounters intrigued me most. I stared at the shapes, and I dreamt in circles and sanitizer. I awake to storefronts still promoting this false gospel while loud politicians silenced the Good News. The world flipped the script, and people, even some Christians, willingly flipped with it as they constantly justified fearful behaviors. I find a measure of ridiculous amusement when people walk into a crowded restaurant with a mask and then sit at a table and remove it. Falling down a rabbit hole of psychedelic psychosis is not just for Alice. This a human reality.
I count it a grace of Almighty God that I’d stopped watching the news about a year or two prior to the outbreak of fear. Let me tell you explicitly: living life as a news junkie changes you. What you WILLINGLY listen to affects you. What you eat daily can kill you, spiritually, mentally, and otherwise. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, but too many digest the bread of the world instead of the food of righteousness.
And I realize not everyone believes the Good Book, so it made sense for those who let the media become their god. Who else do you believe when your belief has never been firmly rooted in the Word of God? When it’s never been tried or tested? When it’s never been put to experience? How do you stand firm when the winds blow if you never had a firm foundation to plant your feet?
In The Hunger Games, Everdeen learned how to rebel against a government that caused destruction to the common people while The Capitol prospered and flourished. The Capitol created a divisive environment. The Capitol treated humans as something to be controlled. And while I do not hail Everdeen as my heroine to follow, some serious lessons remain in the pages in this trilogy as in other dystopian features.
Furthermore, people believe most what they’ve experienced, which is the other side of trying to explain this illusion to others. You can NOT mention “illusion” to most who lost a loved one from the what the doctors said was due to the pandemic. They’ll call you insensitive to their plight. It’s like having a loved one killed in the line of duty and then believing anyone who serves on the police force or on the battlefield will suffer a similar fate.
Just because it happened, allegedly, to someone you know does not negate the mass illusion that the government and media blew out of proportion. And no government or media is going to say they made a mistake. They will try to cover their mistakes with pretentious remedies and more media tickers of how many people are now safely “vaccinated.”
It makes you feel, codeword, “safe,” right?
It empowers you to step outdoors again and be in the presence of people, right?
But you know what makes some live this way daily: the unchanging Word of God. Joshua instructs us to never let the Word depart from our mouths. We should meditate on it day and night, night and day. Repeat. If we replaced media time with the Word of God, it would transform our minds. Our minds then transform our lives by adding to our faith, which is the moral code for the just. We live by it. Faith when the world tries to overwhelm with fear.
The greatest weapon against fear IS Faith. It looks ridiculous, but it also allows feet to walk on the surface of deep waters.
My deep waters in 2020 and today look like walking into grocery stores without a shield or mask to buy groceries. It looks like jumping on a trampoline with friends and family to have a good time. It looks like continuing as I had been in faithful service to God. Just living. And it looks like attending church regularly in fellowship and unity with the people of God because assembling together is what God instructed us to do. It’s what we need to do. It is what strengthens us. It is what adds to the Church daily even when others fall down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.
And, dear friends, I’ve learned early in my life to avoid the detriments of following the broad media circus to down into Wonderland.