Now that my Wal Mart master plan has been exposed, the time has come for me to reveal my ownership and backing of the Moscow Civic Association. So I confess it. The whole thing was my idea . . . kind of a back-handed way of making Moscow liberals look bad. Just get them in power, and let ‘er rip. The money was run through some off-shore internet banks, and no one was the wiser. Citizen Ament has performed, I must say, far, far beyond my expectations. And when Nancy Chaney banned the pledge of allegiance, it was just like falling into a chocolate pie.
Once the conspiratorial mind has gotten to a certain point, it is capable of believing anything, able to connect any dots, work the assigned vocabulary words into any story. The above — need I say? — is all tongue in cheek. But we have liberals in Moscow who are capable of believing it.
The conspiratorial mindset tries to find meaning in life by assigning an ultimate personal value to a right response to certain perceived patterns in history. They tell themselves “the story” in a certain way. This kind of conspiratorial loss of sanity shows up in different ways. On the hard right, conspiracy theories abound concerning the Rothschilds, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, etc. On the hard left, conspiracy theories abound with regard to globalization, the World Bank, McDonalds, the CIA, President Bush, and . . . Wal Mart.
Worldviews have four components — the catechism, the liturgy, the lifestyle, and the story. The conspiratorialist has a swollen story, and to complicate matters, he gets the story wrong. Everything is out of whack because the other three elements are subsumed under the inflated story — the story trumps everything.
In Moscow, the liberals have come to believe that I (as in, DW) am actively engaged in trying to “take over” Moscow. Everything about this conspiracy theory is swollen and distended, and maketh no sense at all, as one of our Puritan fathers might have put it. The facts are these: I am a Trinitarian Christian, of the evangelical and Reformed stripe. This means, among other things, that I want everyone to believe in Jesus and trust in Him, and live their lives in accordance with His Word. This is what Jesus told us to want in the Great Commission, given to us in the last part of Matthew 28. But He did not add, in that place, any warnings about not neglecting the secret WalMart method. Or the “reinstitute slavery” method. Or the old “classical Christian school” ploy. In short, there is nothing mysterious about it. The only “take over” envisaged in all this is when the residents of our town are all baptized in the triune name, and are worshipping and living faithfully in terms of that baptism. And I do not have in mind anyone receiving baptism at Carolingian sword-point either. “Tell me more about this Christianity of yours. I’m terribly interested.”
In a spirit of public-minded largesse, let me point out to our local conspiracy buffs how it could happen that I might wind up with more influence than I currently have. But none of these things have anything to do with any plans that I am executing, or masterminding, or funding, or puppet-string pulling, or whatever it is they think I am doing. Most of the time they think I am doing such things is actually time spent in pastoral family counseling, studying, writing, or preparing sermons. You know, the kind of thing pastors do.
So here are the things that our progressive friends can continue to do to make our fine little town an attractive place for Calvinists to settle in, a good place to raise their seven little roly-poly Calvinists. First, they can persist in raising the alarm against us in that frenetic way, beads-of-sweat-on-the-furrowed-brow kind of way, eyes-the-size-of-trash-can-lids sort of way that indicates to the sober-minded everywhere that they are not exactly hearing from a reasonable soul. Second, they can continue to enable the University of Idaho to operate in the financially compromised way it has done over the last decade, ensuring that the academic center of gravity will inevitably shift down to BSU in Boise, leaving us here in Moscow with one big land-grant moon crater. Third, they can ensure — by showing up en masse to every public hearing on the subject of retail stores and gesticulating wildly — that any large-scale revenue-generating outlets go in across the Washington state line, leaving Moscow with the revenue stream of Bovill or Elk River. Like I said, I have nothing whatever to do with any of this. The only relationship I have with it is the relationship of watching something happen.
But for the conspiracy-minded, my ability to see what they are doing is sure proof that I must have done it. And wisdom is vindicated by her children, in this case, all 1.2 of them.