Reflecting on the Idea of Culture Wars – Part 3

If you have been reading along, you know that I have expressed my frustration of the way, we Christians have discussed and engaged in the idea of the “culture war”. I’ve been saying a lot of what I don’t want and in this post I hope to communicate things that I do want. In fact, I hope we all want them.

First, let us stop calling it a “culture war”. There is one, I know I get it. I am not suggesting that we call it a “cultural misunderstanding”. I know many have not only been hurt but destroyed, physically, emotionally, spiritually, in every way possible. Not only am I aware of this but my heart is broken for this too.

Further, it’s not the violent imagery that I am against. Our Scriptures are full of that type of imagery, “fighting the good fight”, “I’ve come with a sword”, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood”. I am aware of this too. What I am frustrated by is that imagery lends itself to readily to “Us versus Them” mentality. And I find that unloving. The narrative of the New Testament (and you could argue for the Old as well) is that the Christian mentality needs to be “Us and Them” or even “Us for Them”.

in good conscience, I cannot sing, “They will know we are Christians by our love” and preach against the culture war. I do not want to create and label any more “enemies” that what we already have. And to those who call themselves as enemies of the Christian faith, we should find ways to reconcile.

As Christians, we are called to show the sacrificial love of Jesus, demonstrate reconciliation, teach, disciple, serve, and be a part of redemption. That’s a messy process because it involves dealing with the consequences of people’s selfishness, sin (personal and institutional), and pride. Then there is our own sin and failures that do not allow us, myself included, serve in perfect righteousness. I am very well aware of many instances when in the attempt of serving someone, I have hurt that person or someone else. But praise God, there have been times when serving has brought healing, glorified God,

I suspect it’s true for you as it is for me, when we serve, we do not feel like we are at war.

I want to be a part of the momentum created by hope and redemption. I want to encourage people to not only support churches, para-church organizations, and political parties but also support local and global ministries, NGO’s and various charities. Please note that I did not stop supporting the former and choose the latter. Please also note that I do not mean financially only.

Imagine what it would look like if we channelled our energy, resources and focus from our many institutions, broadcasts, magazines, newsletters, fundraising etc. to people, projects, and programs that helped the suffering and oppressed. I know that was a long sentence and I know many will dismiss it as naive idealism but this is my prayer. If the last 100 years of conservative evangelicalism was spent on building institutions, subscriber lists and all too often, self-serving programs, may the next 100 be spent focused outside of our walls.

One last thing I wish to offer. My ultimate hope is not to alleviate the suffering of the world. As one who also suffers in some ways, I know it is not possible to live a pain-free life. Even if we could, I believe there’s more. My great hope is that people be reconciled to a loving God that sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins and allow us to be reconciled to our Creator. So may the Holy Spirit work through, in and beyond us as we live this hope and mission but I have concluded that people are seldom reconciled in war, they’re further hurt and displaced. Let us do better. More on this next time.


  1. Ryan Fitz says:

    I think thats great. I love the idea of the full power of the church and Christian institutions going above and beyond anyone else in terms of helping the suffering and oppressed. Like Jesus did. It made physically sick to read about the Catholic Church in DC canceling its homeless programs because the city’s democratically elected officials chose to legalize marriage equality. The Church is going to punish the homeless in order to make a political statement? They provide a huge percentage of homeless services here in the District. Thats petty and cruel, not to mention a rebuke of democracy. Though I guess the Catholic church has never claimed to be democratic. But anyway….

    The idea of service-learning is the driving force behind my life right now, the reciprocal relationship between service and self-awareness, knowledge, its not just a cliche to say you get far more out of helping others than you put in. I know it, I’ve experienced it with my own life. A faith that leads by example, that really just loves people from all walks of life and all ideologies…I like that.

    Now I know I’m not nearly as versed on the faith and the activities of Christian institutions as you are, but I guess what I’d like to see is a new, young, progressive (and not in the political sense that Glenn Beck likes to condemn) generation take over the faith, and lead it publicly and overwhelmingly with compassion and love.

    On a side note, this is the kind of Christianity that scares me to death:

    Read that article, I’d love to know what you think about it.


  2. Hey Ryan,
    Lol at your “I guess the Catholic Church has never claimed to be a democratic.” No they haven’t – lol. That’s true of most churches until the last 100 years – there is no democracy in the New Testament.

    Regarding the NY Times, I should probably read it again but here’s my 2 cents. Everything is subjective, every written account of history is revisionist to some extent and everything seems to be a power game. In my opinion, the history books were never completely accurate, and they never will be. This is part of my frustrations with modernity altogether – the idea that objectivity and completion can be reached. That kind of truth is only held by God. That doesn’t mean we should not pursue or think or reason or whatever – we just shouldn’t kid ourselves in thinking that God has revealed everything to us.

    Really appreciated your third paragraph. It’s not cliche at all – I can’t agree more.

    I think most of my thoughts are represented by and geared toward communicating the ideas of the young progressive generation that are in the Christian faith (particularly mine). I’ll try to focus on that a bit more and try to include some other voices.

    As always, thanks for reading.

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