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Entries in Culture Wars (3)

A Work in Progress

How evangelicals act in public life is, in the end, what really matters.  Efforts to “take back America” or “Make America Great Again” rather than be the church that exemplifies a new way of being human seem far more typical today in the hue and cry that characterizes the culture wars.  It is counterproductive, to say the least, if those ostensibly working on behalf of God’s kingdom do so by means that fail to correspond with the message of Jesus.  As N.T. Wright observes, “it is no good announcing love and peace if [one] makes angry, violent war to achieve it.”   This is no less true when it comes to the culture wars.  These figurative battles matter, not the least because politics is meant to prevent literal shooting wars (which are preceded by culture wars gone wrong), but how one fights matters too.  The church, a key institution for cultivating the virtue necessary in this grand experiment called American democracy, is not currently up to the task.  It has been rendered ineffective and irrelevant as the result of both external forces and internal heresies.  Bad religion has contributed to bad politics.  For the sake of the state as well as society, the church must first get its own house in order.

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Whad'Ya Know

To borrow from the title of my conversation partner’s blog post, I’m “hard pressed” to find many disagreements with her thoughtful commentary, which is an encouraging consequence, or at least, should be.  Right?  Finding common ground is a good thing, isn’t it?  Then, again, I suppose not everyone would be happy to hear a Republican and Democrat agreeing about something.  A certain skepticism would likely arise at this discovery.  Why?  Well, there must be more to the story—so goes the suspicion these days—which reminds me of a tale I haven’t told for a while, but seems worth recounting now.

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Without Question, It's Worse

Despite all appearances to the contrary, hope remains.  There is no good reason, it seems to me, more of us shouldn’t heed the guidance provided by Jeremiah 29 and seek the peace and prosperity of the “city” by living in the midst of those who do not share our faith, yet serving them faithfully nonetheless. Evangelical followers of Jesus might increasingly feel like aliens or foreigners in our own land, but given our status as sojourners—not to mention citizens of heaven—should this matter?  Must we demand to take our country back (whatever that means) or do we simply live into a new reality as exiles actively awaiting the redemption and recreation of all things? 

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