Sunday, March 20, 2022

Beyond the Culture Wars

I struggle with how to address today’s culture wars from a spiritual perspective. These political movements use the language of religion, morality, family and patriotism. For that reason it is difficult to address them from a spiritual perspective. When I use spiritual language to warn about the dangers of such movements, my words sound like I am part of the culture war.  

The truth is I am not interested in fighting the culture wars. My loyalties are not to parties, leaders, or ideologies. My loyalty is to the Peaceable Kingdom. I can see the Kingdom of God from where I stand. I stand in it. It is here now, and it is breaking into history for those with eyes to see. I endeavor to speak from a Kingdom perspective.

At times I speak in the language of the biblical prophets. “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God!" At other times I use the language of the mystics, speaking of union with God. At such times it is tempting to remain neutral, to abide in a lofty spiritual realm that transcends earthly battles.

Yet biblical spirituality does not allow for that option. The prophetic witness of scripture will not let me. To remain neutral when evil surges is to side with evil. As Martin King said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Jesus spoke out against the collusion of “church and state” and was tried for treason in the culture wars of his time. At his trial Jesus declared, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over…. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” I choose Christ’s Kingdom over the worldly kingdoms. The Kingdom of God is not the possession of any nation, religion or political party.

From the Kingdom of God I watch earthy kingdoms rise and fall. There will always be wars and rumors of wars. There will be always be earthquakes, fires, floods, and natural disasters. Jesus said the poor will always be with us. Scripture says there are antichrists and false prophets in every age.

Human history is a play of good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong, yin and yang. It has always been this way. As actors in this drama of history we play our roles. We work for good against evil – as we understand them – always realizing that we see through a glass darkly. We might be wrong, yet we must persevere nonetheless. To do any less is to surrender to fatalism.

In the midst of it all we remember that our citizenship is in heaven. We are children of God. The flesh is temporary, but the Spirit is eternal. It is important to keep an eternal perspective on temporal matters. The great causes of our day will be forgotten. When the earth is swallowed by our dying sun and humankind is a distant memory in the mind of God, it will not matter if Republicans or Democrats prevailed in 21st century America.

I will still speak out, vote, contribute to causes, and protest in the streets when necessary. I will write, blog, podcast and record videos. As I do, I will keep my eyes focused on the Kingdom of God. I will not trust in leaders, armies or political parties. I will not trust ideology. I will trust the God who is beyond my human understanding. As the apostle Paul says:

“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Amen. 

1 comment:

Jay L said...

Excellent. Thank you