Transforming Our Culture From the Bottom Up (Part Two)


In my last post I critiqued what I call ‘Top-Down’ approaches to cultural transformation.  Such approaches can be summed up in one phrase: political activism.  Any attempt to transform the culture through legislation and political cajoling–such as court battles, petitions, electing certain individuals into office, etc–will ultimately be unsuccessful because at the heart of every culture is . . . the human heart.  Thus, true cultural transformation, I argued, could only come from the bottom up.  Because, when individuals are transformed, the culture will be too.

In light of this reasoning, I challenged Evangelical Christians to stop funneling the majority of their time, energy, and money into futile ‘Top-Down‘ methods and to start focusing on making true disciples of Jesus Christ.

This is not to say we should be totally silent in the public square or that Christians should not be involved in politics at all.  It is especially not to say Christians should stop utilizing political approaches when it comes to issues regarding the sanctity of human life or social justice.  Certainly, we must do everything within our power to stop the daily slaughter of innocent children through abortion or to put an end to human sex trafficking.  These issues, almost by necessity, will include political and legal interaction.

It is to say, however, that a ‘total’  or ‘big picture’ approach to cultural transformation should primarily focus on discipleship and not political activism.

The idea here is simple: the more Churches invest time and energy cultivating virtue among their parishioners, engendering and strengthening the faith of their children, helping people grow in the knowledge and understanding of God, engaging in acts of service, and inviting the Holy Spirit to transform the hearts of the lonely and the lost through both the preaching and daily living of the word of God, the more our culture will be renewed.  As individual lives are transformed, individual people will bring their faith to bear on important decisions at the office, or in the laboratory, or at the film studio, or on election day, or walking in the park . . .

After all, true disciples are called to live out their faith, to bear good fruit, in whatever circumstance they find themselves in: whether they are a doctor, a lawyer, an educator, an artist, a filmmaker, a shoemaker, a scientist, a soldier, a plumber, a scrap metal worker, or even homeless.  Whether slave or free or Jew or Gentile, we are all called to view our world through the truth of God’s Word.  We are all called to good works–as St. James states, “faith without works is dead.”  The more we behave like disciples, and the more disciples we make, the greater long term impact we will have on our culture and, indeed, the world.

Advertisements

The Liberal Left is the new Religious Right


In the 1980’s, America started to see the rise of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others in an attempt to establish what was then called, “the Religious Right.” The group decided to take a conservative stance and ally themselves with the Republican Party. As time wore on, many people began to question some of the things the Religious Right was supporting, for instance, unbridled Capitalism, war at any cost, forbidding government money from helping the poor, etc. People questioned it because it seemed the Religious Right had abandoned the Bible in their pursuit of being conservative.

Enter what we can call the “Liberal Left” of evangelical Christianity, who began supporting peaceful solutions to global conflicts and supporting tax-payer money being used to help the poor. Both of those, I believe, have strong Biblical precedence. Unfortunately, the Liberal Left began to move further and further left, allying themselves with the Democratic Party and liberalism in general. They began to become silent on the issue of abortion (or in some cases, supportive of the pro-choice position). They began to embrace homosexuality as a lifestyle and go further than argue for the right to marry among homosexuals (which even someone who believes homosexuality is a sin can still believe homosexuals have the right to get married), but also teach that homosexuality wasn’t a sin.

Continue reading

Excellent observastion…


I’m currently reading The Foundations of Christian Bioethics by H. Tristram Engelhardt (Eastern Orthodox), and he made an observation about mainline denominations concerning their stances on bioethics. It links in to what I posted earlier. He points out:

“The mainline Protestant religions, along with many Roman Catholics, have drunk deeply of the passion of aggiornamento [nb – the act of bringing theology “up to the times”]. Rather than finding themselves at home in the emerging global liberal cosmopolitan culture as they expected, they are marked by a double alienation. On the one hand, they are estranged from the moral framework within which the authors of the New Testament and the Fathers of the Church lives and breathed. That world is for them too sexist and unconcerned with political liberation to be anything but deeply politically incorrect, if not profoundly embarrassing. Imagine a culture in which wives submit respectfully to their husbands and slaves recognize that the tyrant from which they should free themselves is first and foremost their own passions. On the other hand, when religions accommodate to the pretensions of the secular culture, they become irrelevant. They have nothing of their own to offer. The choice is an unappealing one: Christianity and its bioethics are either in their traditional form a secular scandal or in their secularly reformed versions largely beside the point. After all, if one wanted accounts of social justice, secular philosophy should do at least as well as, if not beter than, Christian moral theology…”