It's not all that surprising that people are turning to conspiracy theories for meaning. In an age where most sources of expert authority--teachers, doctors, scientists, lawyers, religious leaders--are increasingly viewed as anywhere from unreliable to outright evil, figuring out who to trust can be a difficult choice.
The events last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, came as a shock to white Americans. "How can white supremacy still be a thing?" we ask ourselves, while our black siblings wonder how we ever thought it wasn't.
It's never really been a secret that we live in a messed up, broken, constantly-changing world: just look at this week. And we know God is out there! We tell ourselves that every week, or even every day. But slowly, God's abiding presence goes unnoticed, pushed away and covered by everything else happening in life. Where is God when a gunman massacres people in a church? Where is God when anger and hate get in the way of love? It can feel like God isn't present at all.
"This is not an altogether cheery or happy metaphor, Jesus. Because whether or not we are good, fruit producing branches or bad, dead branches, being a part of the vine of Jesus involves cutting back, stripping away, and losing something we were holding onto."
"The reality of the reign of God coming near has always been difficult to comprehend because we understand it as a "already/not yet" reality. The reign of God has absolutely come near, and it's effects are felt in the present. But it hasn't yet been fully realized--there is still more to come. We've only gotten a taste of it."