ONE EXTREME TO THE NEXT

MJS billboards 1 of 1 hoffman.jpg billboards

Over the long, Thanksgiving weekend we road-tripped through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. There was one stretch of highway that had countless billboards for gentlemen’s clubs, adult book and movie stores, strip clubs, and retailers of intimate goods. I can’t think of an area in America where I’ve seen a higher concentration of advertising on such subject matter. But curiously enough, in the same region there were many Christian pro-life signs along the road, a number of vehicles driving along with us had some type of Christian paraphernalia on the back, and I could saw quite a few mega churches from the highway. And when I say ‘mega’, I mean MEGA!

How could such opposing lifestyles co-exist in the same place? More likely than not, these people do their grocery shopping in the same places, and send their children to the same schools. How did such opposites take root in the same community? Then I got thinking, maybe opposition is at the center of their co-existence. One extreme leads to the opposite extreme taking root, creating balance in that region. ‘Extreme’ may not be the right word for it. Perhaps rather, the loudest outcry gets the loudest rebuttal. This is a place largely expressed in black and white terms. Whereas a milder secularism begets milder reactions in shades of gray.

America is experiencing some polarization. While people are fearing one extreme, another extreme opposition is taking hold. And what perhaps warrants the most fear is the battle for balance between black and white. While the gray shades of secularism pose their own threat, such as indifference and ambiguity, it is a less tumultuous struggle. Balance will be found. Whether that balance will be found in the struggles between black and white or in the muddled shades of gray, America is discerning right now.

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