I love that saying.
My wife was the first one I’ve ever heard say that, and it was in regards to the patently ridiculous “War on Christmas” nonsense that the far right trots out every single year.
If your faith is strong, nobody can take your baby Jesus.
Not “the gays”.
Not “the liberals”.
Not “the Muslims“.
Not “the atheists”.
Not “the feminists”.
However, if you’re fighting for governmental endorsement of your faith, you really don’t have faith in Christ, but a political agenda.
The “Culture Wars” are back and in full swing, mostly because it’s an election year and the (mostly) Conservative Christians need something else to talk about aside from the conservative candidate, poverty, systemic injustice, or anything else of any real consequence. I say Conservative Christians simply because when it comes to the numerous fronts in the “Culture War”, you will typically find them, and them alone, on the front lines, tilting at those windmills.
In short, the “Culture Wars” are simply a distraction.
They’re more likely to define people by what they’re against instead of what they’re for.
They’re more likely to leave the impression of exclusivity if you’re on the ‘wrong side’.
They’re divisive and harm the church, both the institution and the people.
They address symptoms and not the underlying illness.
The illness is a society where the dominant value has become economic. This “economism“, as John Cobb calls it, drives everything and turns faith into a two-dimensional parody of itself… upwards to heaven, and inward to self/personal relationship with God.
Tim Dalrymple over on Patheos wrote a piece called “If you’re selling scorn for Conservative Christians, the market is hot“. While I can respect the motivation behind his piece, I feel he misses the mark a bit.
He lament’s Rachel Held Evans’ piece “How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation” as angry and her view as lacking discernment or nuance. He may be right, he may be wrong, I’ll leave the judgment up to you. Here’s where he misses. This is where he intimates that RHE’s anger spills over:
My generation is tired of the culture wars.
We are tired of fighting, tired of vain efforts to advance the Kingdom through politics and power, tired of drawing lines in the sand, tired of being known for what we are against, not what we are for.
Now, this isn’t angry… not in the “we should fence in the gays” or “the government should execute gays” or any of the other vitriol coming from some conservative pulpits and religious organizations.
I have yet to see, in amplitude, magnitude, or frequency, this same sort of vitriolic speech being preached from liberal or progressive pulpits. Does that mean it doesn’t exist? I’m not naive enough to believe that. Yet I’ve yet to see the McClarens, Wallis’, Claibornes, and Evans’ of the world openly call for physical violence to be visited upon people on the othe side of what are, ostensibly, political arguments.
I would like to ask Tim, and will on his blog as well, that since not all conservative Christians are these fire-breathing, fatwa of hate preaching types… where are the conservative Christian voices speaking out and saying “Hey, this guy doesn’t speak for us”?
As one of the commentors points out that, over on Patheos’ Evangelical Channel, there is not one voice that stands up and condemns the words of
Pastor Worley or any of the recent voices of violence towards the GLBT community coming from the pulpit.
None. Not a single one.
That’s just disgraceful.
So, while I agree, in part, with Tim that the Culture War nonsense is just that.. nonsense.. I would also advise him to encourage his conservative brethren to speak openly and forcefully when fellow conservative
Pastors preach violence from the pulpit.
- Launch the counter-revolution (multiplyjustice.net)
- The Religious Right Turns 33: What Have We Learned? (theatlantic.com)
- What if the ‘culture war’ never happened? (multiplyjustice.net)
- Christian Is Not Synonymous With Conservative (npr.org)
- Jonathan Merritt: 7 Reasons Christians Should Change Their Political Tune (huffingtonpost.com)
- Do Evangelicals Hate Obama More Than They Love Jesus? We’ll Find Out In November (duanegraham.wordpress.com)