Every summer I recall my parents would take us kids to the Clearfield County Fair. As we wandered around, the sights and smells gave us a sensory overload!
We would start by walking through all the farm exhibits, cows, rabbits, chickens, hogs, horses; you name it, I think they had it! Mom would want to walk through all the exhibits that highlighted things like canned foods, knitting, quilts, paintings and the like.
While the animals and farm exhibits were interesting, I would catch glimpses of the Mid-Way; the rides, games, and cotton candy were beckoning me to come and see! I would tug on mom and dad’s hand, hoping they would get the hint.
Finally, we entered the Mid-Way . . . WOW what a site. Dad took me on the double Ferris-Wheel, and as we spun high above the clamor, we could see forever, or so it seemed! Getting a bird’s-eye view, we could see it all; and could even see mom; far below waving up at us.
As we began to walk through the gauntlet of games and attractions, some of the game operators began to call out to my dad, and I became a bit uneasy. They would say slightly demeaning things like; Hey you, why don’t show your boy how strong you are, take the hammer and ring the bell; make your boy proud!”
It seemed like every game we went by, some carnival worker would bark out stinging little slogans designed to get my dad to react and buy a ticket to play.
I recall stopping by a game where one of the players was having a dispute with the operator. The game looked simple; a pool ball placed in the center of a circle with a silver dollar on top of the ball.
The idea was to take a cue ball and knock the ball away, dropping the coin in the center of the circle, not touching the lines of the circle drawn on the table. One of the men who had been trying the game, declared it impossible to win; and the argument was heated.
Since we had a pool table at home, I knew I could do it! I asked dad if I could play. He was not too keen on the idea, since I had the money for the game, and he let me play.
I lined up the cue stick and put a hard spin to the left and hit the cue ball hard, it nearly missed the desired ball with the coin on top, but just nipped it, leaving the silver dollar drop perfectly in the center!
The carnival game operator made such a fuss about me accomplishing this task, that he gave me the largest stuffed animal he had; it was nearly as tall as I was! The man, who had been arguing, walked away in disgust!
The experiences at the carnival, reminds me of the current state of political unrest in our country. It’s as if the politicians have become nothing more than “Carnival Barkers” attempting to illicit emotional responses by shouting empty slogans, designed to get a quick reaction.
It seems both sides of the political spectrum are fully engaged with constant “Carnival Barking” hoping to gain the most attention in the shortest amount of time. The goal seems to be convincing those passing by, to join in the hate, and animus of the day.
How are we, as Christians, supposed to negotiate the constant clamor and confusing rhetoric coming from those elected to serve us?
First, we need to keep our “True” citizenship in perspective. Jesus reveals that we are not of this world anymore than He is! “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16)
When we decided to follow Jesus, and make our allegiance to Him, we became part of His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul declares in Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love . . .”
Therefore, even though we love our country deeply, our first and strongest loyalty is to Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom!
So when the political “Carnival Barkers” shout demeaning slogans against people, created in the image of God, as you journey by, you can see it for what it is; an attempt to draw you out of the Kingdom of God and back into the kingdom of darkness.
Secondly, it is OK to get involved with the political system if you choose to. If you decide to jump in, be sure and do so with the prompting and leading of Jesus. Go in with a clear-eyed view of what you are doing.
Just like the little game I played and won; the training, confidence, and the backing of my dad, gave me everything I needed to do it and win; you need the same from your heavenly Father, and you will win too!
So, let the carnival barkers bark; it is what they do! Do not believe every word they shout; most of them are not true at all, it is only a ploy to get YOU off your game and into theirs. Enjoy the carnival . . . but be careful out there!