You might read the title and say, “What? No, they’re not. The Culture Wars are spiraling out of control.”
Well, maybe a better title would be, “Christians Have All But Lost the Culture Wars.”
But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hear me out.
What Are the Culture Wars?
The Culture Wars in the U.S., as a concept, is multifaceted. To summarize it very generally, in the late 20th century, Christian leaders were saying that if we make morality a top priority in our country, then people would see the goodness of God.
And yes, if we could make morality a top priority, then it is true that God would bless our nation and the people would see what Alexis de Tocqueville meant when he said,
“I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”
When it comes to morality, the church has the answer.
But in today’s society, neither do the people listen to what the church has to say, nor does the church say it in a way that people can understand.
Essentially, the culture wars are about changing culture at large, but in practical living, it ends up being primarily about politics. The way we’ve gone about waging war has been by legislating issues like abortion and homosexual marriage.
And this is why we’ve lost the Culture Wars.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against conservative politics, but that platform that was effective in the 70’s and 80’s is losing ground, and we’re not impacting people in the same way.
There are some major shifts taking place in our society that have changed the conversations. They have changed the war.
The Warrior is Dead
It used to be that a strong, firm voice would compel people to follow and would convict people to agree.
The warrior could fight his way to victory.
But today, that strong voice just makes people roll their eyes. When we take our stand and appeal to morality, people don’t even listen.
So if we want to impact culture, instead of being warriors, we have to be seen as diplomats. We have to bring reason and humility to an otherwise hostile situation.
Stay calm in your discussions. Do not be quick to anger. Be reasonable, and admit that you don’t know everything.We have to be diplomats. Bring reason and humility to an otherwise hostile situation. #faith Click To Tweet
The Battles Are Changing
It used to be that the Republican platform was all about abortion, homosexual marriage, and small government, and those were enough for Christians to impact the U.S. That was the battle. It was all we needed to focus on.
But it is now being recognized that the “Christian” side should be putting compassion at the top of the list, as well (as if compassion, for Christ-followers, should ever have been low on the list to begin with). Issues like welfare, immigration, and the Syrian refugees are coming to the forefront.
I’m NOT saying all Christians have to use the same application of biblical principles (and therefore the same political stance) on those issues. But we have to recognize that these issues are now part of the conversation, and our answers will communicate that Christians are either compassionate or selfish.
So whatever view you take, please, please, please, explain your view from the standpoint of compassion (If you don’t actually have compassion, then we’ve got bigger issues, no?). It’s the only way our culture will listen.
The Battlefield is Unrecognizable
Christians used to understand the battlefield. It used to be that every single person grew up in a home that at least acknowledged Christian principles and knew who Jesus is and what He stands for. The context for arguments of morality was already understood by everyone.
But today, we live in a post-christian culture. More and more, people have this false idea of Jesus that he was some kinda Eastern mystic hippie with a beard and sandals, who is your homie and would never judge any lifestyle.
The conversation has to start somewhere other than “Be moral because it’s what God expects”. People can’t relate, because they don’t even agree on what God expects in the first place.
Not Fighting for Culture Anymore
Please understand, I am NOT saying that issues like abortion and homosexual marriage aren’t important. I’m just saying that we become irrelevant if all we have to offer the culture is a good argument on those issues.
You want to stand up for God? Then learn about the people we are trying to reach. Impact culture, not because our political party says you should, but because we are citizens in God’s country. We can’t do what we’ve always done.We are citizens in God's country. #faith #life #politics Click To Tweet
We can still have the same values. After all, Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. But the people around us change all the time. And if we love them, we will meet them where they are at.