Thursday, February 07, 2008

modern day prophet

As I read the Old Testament, I notice what characters the prophets were. They were the outsiders who were always calling into question the establishment. They were the ones who bucked against the traditional religious leaders of their day. They were constantly challenging the prophets and priests of Baal who were blind to the covenant of Yahweh. They were a constant irritant and thorn in the side of the kings and political leaders of Israel and Judah.

But they weren't just against false prophets, wayward priests, and kings who had gone astray. They were for the widows and the orphans of the land. They were often the only voice for the poor and those who have been treated unjustly. They were for justice in the courts. They wanted their nation to turn and repent so that refreshing from the Lord could once again rain down on them.

Who in our culture is well known as an irritant to our government leaders? Who is known for speaking out against injustices and speaking for the poor? Who is it that the conservative religious establishment can't stand? Who isn't afraid to challenge people much more powerful than he is? Who has a devout private faith from which he derives his conviction?

I think most people would be surprised to know that the closest that we might have to a modern day prophet is Michael Moore. As a conservative, it is annoying to even consider that thought. I would rather not give him the honor of a prophet. But the more I learn about the contrast that the Old Testament prophets brought to their time and culture, the more I realized that they were much like Michael Moore is today.

He irritates most people. He constantly sticks up for the outsider, the underdog, and the poor. He manages to piss off both the Right and the Left. He uses his modern day megaphone (documentary films) to call government, business and our culture on the carpet. I don't agree with most of what he says. But then again, most people didn't agree with the O.T. prophets either. The people who least agreed with the prophets were the religious leaders and the political leaders of the day. This seems to be the case with Michael Moore as well.

I think it would surprise many that his convictions on issues come from a place of morality. He is a devout Catholic who attends Mass every week. He is steeped in the Irish Catholic tradition that taught him to care for the poor, fight for the needy and advocate for peace in the face of war. You may not like his films and you may not agree with his politics. But it is challenging to me to know that his passion has a source that is familiar to me. His passion comes from what he sees in the life of Christ. He takes Jesus' words about the "least of these" seriously.

No doubt, Michael Moore has issues. We all do. And prophets tend to have more than most. While reading through the Old Testament, one will clearly see the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies common only to prophets. They often used exaggerated language. They sometimes ate weird things and performed strange acts. Prophets were not mainstream people. They were never meant to be. They were there to act as a thorn to prick the conscience of the people. And right now in our culture, there may be no more irritating thorn than Michael Moore.


Post a Comment

<< Home