Tuesday, January 15, 2013

So You Wanna Start a Riot?

In an election year as polarizing as this one was, starting a riot is not a difficult thing to do. Throw in last summer's Chick-Fil-A day followed by Louie Giglio bowing out of the inauguration and it becomes clear that a culture war is not something looming on the horizon, it is in our midst. 

This battle of values is something that many Christians are eager to sign up for. Recently, while surfing hundreds of channels and finding nothing to watch, I landed on the show of a well known TV preacher. I tuned in just as he was reaching the crescendo of his message, "We are soldiers in the army of the Lord! And we are fighting a culture war for the soul of a nation!" As he wiped the sweat from his brow, the congregation responded with resounding cheers and amens. Hands were raised in support throughout the room. I was perplexed. I could not argue with his first point, although childhood memories of singing, "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war..." still creep me out a little. However, the second half of his mission statement put me on edge. Are we really called by God to engage in a culture war? Is the mission of the church to fight for the soul of a nation? Could I please have some New Testament scriptures to support this? 

Ironically, a decade ago I would have joined in the cheers and high-fived the tv screen. I was an American and a Christian, therefore it was my God given duty to defend her honor and help get this country back on track. However, around the turn of the millennium, a conversation with a good Christian brother would leave me troubled and questioning my deeply held convictions. In short, he was a pacifist while I was a member of the NRA. He was from the northeast, I was from Texas. At first I thought it was just a geographical issue. However, what I really couldn't shake, what annoyed me the most, was that his convictions, though vastly different than mine, were based on scripture, not just culture, patriotism and "good ol' common sense". He also pointed out how these ideas could be seen exemplified by the early church. When he asked me for scripture to support my beliefs, I had none. Literally, nothing. After my initial defensive reaction (surmising that he was just another unpatriotic commie-pinko-liberal who had infiltrated the church), I began to realize that much of my world view had been shaped through the environment I grew up in: the Bible-belt south. Although he didn't completely convert me to pacifism, this conversation was the catalyst to a journey of seeking out what the Bible teaches about how a Christ follower relates to the world around them. I realized that I could no longer blindly embrace the views of my community, my parents, a political party, or even a church. I must seek to know God's truth myself and continually ask, "what does Jesus say about my mission on earth?", and "how do I see that lived out by His early followers?" While many of my perspectives were changed greatly through all of this, it only took one unexpected conflict to instantly reveal the "work in progress" my heart still is....Read the complete article here:

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