There has been much talk and display in the cyberverse lately of flags. A quick glance to my right here in the lobby of New Kirk Presbyterian means I'm confronted with four flags: the American flag, a Presbyterian Church (USA) flag, New Kirk Presbyterian Cub Scouts flag, and the Boy Scouts of America flag. In my neighborhood, there's a home with both an American flag and a British flag, which caused me to chuckle a tad last Saturday. There's no shortage of USC and Clemson University flags around here, that's for sure. There was a buzz about some churches getting together on the move of lowering the American flag below the Christian flag on church grounds. Lots of Facebook profile pics have a rainbow background now, displaying the flag representing the homosexual community.
We're not stupid. No soldier, marine, airman, or seaman ever gave her or his life for cloth and dye. The PC(USA) hardly has dibs on spirit, word, font, table, and flames on their flag's symbol. The fleur de lis long predates the concept of BSA. Why wave a flag?
The flag is a symbol. Symbols are vehicles. These vehicles carry whatever we project onto them. Symbols are like a command language that activates bits of a particular software program running the hardware of a computer. I like to think that the full potential of the software resides deep within unknown parts of us. Our brains function like hard drives, organizing software for survival processes, yet fragmented and susceptible to memes and malware.
I remember a time when computers--you know, the old Apple IIe--would easily become overwhelmed with commands and get trapped in a "loop." Society gets trapped in "loops." We saw it in Baltimore. We see it when European football gets out of hand. It happens harmlessly on a weekly basis in sports arenas around the world. We all fall victim to it as we pass endless miles of billboards, get interrupted every five-to-ten minutes while watching TV or listening to the radio, or find ourselves hearing the same talking point over and over by this or that celebrity or yet another talking head. Our autopilot--that very survival process--is always under the influence of programming. When "loops" occur, society stops progressing; but, folks stand to gain lots of power in a predictable world.
Today, most computers, smart phones, and tablets can outsmart the loop. Hardware now contains multiple software that can even turn the scope on itself in an effort to pick off the malware and delete harmful viruses. I understand almost nothing of computer science, but I imagine this ability to self-correct is due to much more powerful processors able to think outside of themselves amid other processes. Hard drives have even gone virtual now. There's rumors of quantum computers, which will have the ability to produce a bit reading 0 and 1 simultaneously! That's spooky stuff.
The point here is that, without awareness, we, too, can fall victim to the "loop." Something as simple as a flag can become the vehicle of our projected "looped" thinking. Thankfully, we were designed with self-correcting software in the unconscious; and, that gets projected also. However, deciphering emotions, urges, and all that drives us to act requires that we tap into the full potential of ourselves--allow the processor to do what it does best. Instinct is a lifesaver in the wild. Instinct is a detriment if never discerned.
Flags contain terabits of projected information. When the flags start waving or when conversation ensues about taking down flags, you better believe that you, as well as everyone involved, are processing untold amounts of projected conscious and unconscious information. Your fight-or-flight, first answer may save your hide initially; but, see, you are a social animal. Your reptilian brain is housed within layers of folded gray matter needed to process the intricacies of the hundreds of relationships you're able to maintain all at once. We do best to sift through the mountains of emotions called up and to mindfully look at all we can before allowing ourselves to be moved.
Now is the time for the church to stand up...and be quiet. We muster up our intention and our mindfulness and...be still. We can be absolutely sure that our thoughts and our ways were spawned from all the various programming. Yes: even the church is susceptible, being made up of the susceptible ones. That is why we wait and seek.
Christ's way was an ancient way. This way can be found in an early Egyptian poem, "The Eloquent Peasant" (c.1800 BCE), which states, "This is the precept: act for him who acts, to make him act"(see pg.30 of this translation). Christ's way: be what you want to see; do what you want done; love like you want to be loved.
What would Jesus post in the cyberverse or say in a town-hall-type setting amid all of this flag waving? Hmm.