Culture war as red herring

Dave Black challenges Christians who devote themselves to obtaining a seat at the society’s table (March 22, 7:08am entry):

Evangelical culture warriors are in the news again in a big way. It reminds me of the so-called “space race.” All the money, all the effort to “reach for the moon.” In the church, we have a similar set of misplaced priorities, I think. We aim at the stars (societal change) while the greatest of all objectives is ignored – preaching the Gospel to every creature. Some of us are so obsessed with lesser goals that we fall short of the main accomplishment.

Again, I point the finger at no one other than myself. If you are reading less and less about politics at DBO it’s not because I have become less concerned about statism in America. I haven’t! I have simply chosen a higher goal – one that the apostle Paul said was in fact unattainable in its entirety – to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection through the fellowship of His sufferings (so I take the Greek). Paul did not lecture on homosexuality in Philippi or on abortion in Ephesus. But when his hearers became Christians they no longer practiced evil.

There are plenty of polished comebacks to this approach, dismissing it as piety or separatism or just plain naivete. But there’s no need for Dave to polish a comeback of his own, when the facts bear him out (March 19, 7:55am entry):

Below is a picture of Tesfaye from Alaba, whose 8-year old daughter was beheaded two years ago by the Muslims because her family was Christian. When I asked him how he accounted for the success he is having in evangelizing the Muslims of his rural village, his answer blew me away: “We simply live godly lives, and we love and care for our Muslim neighbors.” His answer brought tears to my eyes. No gimmicks. No pre-packaged and pre-digested program imported from America.

Becky is right: God can use any method, or no method at all. But He always works through people, people who love and care and live genuine Christian lives. One of my constant prayers is that an over-reliance on methods will never hinder the work of God in Alaba. So, can you visualize yourself living in a network of redemptive relationships in genuine friendship? That’s a very powerful means God can use, as it eliminates the temptation to come on as “Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful” who must be virtually perfect (and probably also very plastic). Be real, be yourself, love and forgive others as Christ has loved and forgiven you, and stand back and watch the Holy Spirit do His work.

Dave then makes it very clear that the culture warriors suffer from a confusion about two very different understandings of how to “engage the culture,” one very much a Christian duty and one a Christian should avoid at all costs (March 22, 7:08am entry):

It’s not our main business to denounce organized iniquity in the public square, although that has its place. The best way to expose the unfruitful works of darkness is by producing the kind of Christians who will have no fellowship with them – and who will love those who practice them still. Can I get a witness?

Amen, Brother Dave. Amen.


5 thoughts on “Culture war as red herring

  1. These things are the same kinds of things I’ve been thinking about, too. Rick…especially as I’ve gotten more disillusioned with organized churches.

  2. Rick, I’ll add my own enthusiastic amen! to yours. This is a subject that’s been on my own heart for quite some time. Thanks for posting it. Morgan and I enjoy reading your blogs. It’s a great way for us to keep up with your family and how y’all are doing. God bless.

  3. Mr. Saenz,
    Dave Black seems to know who Jesus is and understands relationship with Him. Too many christian blogs I have visited seem to rely on the refomers for interpretation. When I visited the Conservative Voice website I was shocked at the hostility that comes out of these men of God.
    Maybe it is time to stop visiting these blogs and find a nice church.
    By the way that was a nice story about your cow having a calf. You must have a great farm. Farms are slowly disappearing here in Long Island.
    Thank you

  4. I came over here from Amy’s Humble Musings. So glad she pointed us in your direction. This is a great post and a further encouragement in what we are already reading in our ‘Book Review Friday’ in 1 Corinthians this week. Thanks so much.

  5. I also got here via Amy’s. You raise a fabulous point.

    It’s important, too, in our culture, to not allow ourselves to be insulated from our neighbors. As a homeschooling mom for years, I reached a point of realizing that I needed to be deliberate about cultivating relationships with those who are not yet Christians.

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