To My Brothers/Sisters Saying “I Told You So” After the Giglio Debacle

When I wrote about the Louie Giglio Inaugural prayer debacle, I finished with this statement:

“To my fellow brothers and sisters who have either told me that I am naive about the culture war, that have warned me of the “slippery slope,” and who want to say, “I told you so!” I am working on a post for you …”

As promised here’s the follow up.

I am committed to not fighting the culture war with the tactics of righteous outrage, guilt, intimidation that is clocked in a pseudo-morality and doomsday prophecies. Further, I live on the slippery slope, you do too. This is why you cannot not find more than two people who agree with each other. And you can always say “I told you so!” but I put about as much stock in that line as I do when I hear “Everybody’s saying …”

Ever since I can remember, people have either lived in fear or promoted the fear of the “coming Christian persecution in America.” Every time a Christian, church is attacked or a cultural moment or a new law goes into affect that runs against a Christian conviction, there’s panic, a good bit of outrage and much of the response centers on what we as a Church and a society have lost.

Many are utterly convinced the government hates the Church and there is a conspiracy to systematically dismantle people of faith in this country – the Christian ones specifically. Well, maybe some in government do hate the Church, that would not be hard to believe. As we know there are many people who either hate or are dissatisfied with the Church in some way. There is also a population whom identify themselves as part of the Church but are also very frustrated, disenfranchised with it. They may love God but for reasons stemming from hurt, doubt, or disappointment, animosity exists toward the Church. And even further, some Christians dislike the Church as well.

Clearly, many are angry at the Church and it would be naive for anyone to assume this does not include those in our government but I push back on the notion that the government unilaterally despises the Church and is waging a war against it. I find it interesting that in the first few centuries of church history the Church went from being hated and persecuted by the Romans to being endorsed by it. We can argue about what happened after the Edict of Milan but that happens because Christianity was inspiring society, serving others, and preaching a message of hope and redemption.

What I do see today are the consequences of decades’ worth of power struggles and the ongoing battle of agendas. These consequences include heated arguments on nearly every political issue, people sincerely believing they have all the right answers while sincerely believing their opponents have all the wrong ones and the terms and a divided country defined by “blue states” and “red states.”

I am concerned that because this is not new – the constant arguing, name-calling, and division has become to feel normal. I am also concerned when we speak of what we have lost. The Church has not lost its place in culture because of the sexual revolution of the 60’s or because of Roe v. Wade or because of cable television, women in the workforce, the internet, George W, or Obama or insert your theory here. The Church has lost its place in the culture because it is failing to inspire people with the hope of Jesus in word and action.

Part of me wished that Louie prayed so we wouldn’t need to have another culture war conversation. But perhaps we will find some good in this moment from how to respond when we feel we’ve been pushed out of the public square. And my two cents is that this is not because of secularization or that our influence is being diminished by the government because they despise Christians, but because we the Christian community have lost the core of message of the gospel of Jesus. The good news is that we don’t have to fix the government to reclaim the power of the Church.

Picket signs, angry talking heads, even sincere people yelling “I told you so!” will not help. No one changes their lives by a red-faced outsider screaming at them. People change their lives when they are inspired by something better, something that contains a beautiful truth that radically alters the way they see their own reality. I believe this of course to be the hopeful message of Jesus. Further, people join a community that is loving, encouraging and receiving. That’s why Church as institution is failing and why Church as a Christian community of belonging is needed. To my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, we need to leverage our power, financial resources, time and commitment to build a stronger Church – that is what will make a difference today.

Your comments, sharing, RT’s are always appreciated – thanks for reading.

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