Cultural Crisis? (a response to @MarkDever)
“Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.” ~Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Bride.
But there is also hope, which produces light. And there are those who chase the light and those who avoid it. Ultimately no one ever holds the light, there are only glimpses afforded us as we approach, or as it passes by us.
In their attempt to explain that which no one can hold many religious leaders offer quips to ease the pain. These flippant remarks are ignorant, and while they are offered with good intentions I wonder if they actually can be destructive? Are these innocent attempts to defend God and explain the unexplainable actually subtracting from the understanding of the divine instead of adding to it?
I see this play out most notably in the public space in the form of a presumed culture war. Religious leaders like Mark Dever offer solace to their following that “hey, Christians have always been persecuted” and “7 tips to survive the culture war“. At first I was unable to put words to what bothered me so much about this post, I appreciated Pastor Mark’s urging to avoid taking an alarmist position, yet something about his words made me sad. While I don’t doubt that Dever and others like him really do believe they are being persecuted I cannot help but wonder how much of a slap in the face these views are to those who have faced actual persecution for their faith. The issue that ultimately saddens me is a misinterpretation of the current times. Just as Jesus was pressed to define, “who is my neighbor” as a means of justifying the divvying of that culture into those whom merited kindness and those who did not, so too this generations’ question,
“Who is my enemy?”
is nothing more than a veiled attempt to maintain the old order and defend a form of Christian bullying rather than entering a meaningful dialogue.
I was recently reading in a book on parenting internationally adopted children and a a brief statement struck me; “Differences do not separate.” So I ask, who is your enemy? The decline of the fundamentalist Christian view from the forefront of national opinion causes many to assume we’re at war. They take an us vs them stance and use inflaming language that laments their persecution. The truth is of course that there is not any persecution in differing viewpoints, until we create one.