Worldview Bulletin: Defusing Polarization

Modern evangelical conservatism is creating a surge in liberalism. Unlike many headlines, my provocative statement is not an overstatement device simply intended to garner your attention. Though I hope I have your attention, because this is a very important observation for which I have great hope in seeing this trend reversed. In fact, my thoughts are often arrested trying to solve the puzzle of this all-too-common occurrence.

While a great deal more thought is required, I will share the insight I have thus far. Some I have shared before because it is ever present on my mind. My writing returns to it again and again as of late.

Avoid the Extremes

The more extreme our perspectives become the more nuance is discarded. When our worldview reduces to the party line it becomes combative of the other party to an extent that any common ground is lost. We stand on opposite sides with a large gulf separating us leaving no room for interchange. We create the false idea that we cannot come to any agreement together. Polarized thinking requires that we label any idea that takes any step towards the other party as joining the other party. I am not advocating a middle of the road merging of two extremes – but a return to thoughtful argumentation which requires exploration and understanding of the worldviews we do not hold as our own.

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TRUTH DECAY: Inside Christianity

When truth is lost error grows exponentially in many different directions. We are watching the consequences of the loss of truth playing out in our nation. As a result, powerful people and businesses compete to control information as if it is a commodity of consumerism.

Information alone does not create knowledge – that requires wisdom to take accurate information of real facts and produce knowledge of what is true. Careful investigations take time, discipline, dedication, and integrity. Instant tweets, pictures, and videos from a variety of vantage points all dumped into social media do not produce knowledge. It takes more work to arrive at truth. We would do well to remember that when combing through all the instant information looking to make sense of it.

I understand in a world where we do not trust the professional journalists and investigators that we would want to look for alternative sources of information. But sometimes those who try to fill in the gap are simply not equipped to handle the burden of suddenly becoming an expert in investigative research and reporting.  

In these trying times it is imperative to practice patience, pausing before believing the latest meme claiming to have the real truth which fits neatly on a digital square. What is true would fill more than a book and still we would have unanswered questions. We can have partial information instantly, but truth takes time. Knowledge requires patience.

Reactionary Theology

Another loss of truth is in theology. There is a great deal of reactionary theology going on today. We witness the ugly results of one theological extreme and we pull hard the other way to avoid being like the ones we critique only to fall into the ditch on the other side. Case in point, I hear people react to extremism in support of the President with a denouncing of what gets termed “Christian nationalism” or “white nationalism.” As I have written before, at length, nationalism has no color. However, the very concept of nationhood comes from Judeo-Protestant theology. We cannot eschew nationalism without embracing a non-biblical theology destructive to modern nations.

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Worldview Bulletin: How Should We Then Live? A Nation in Crisis

Our nation is in crisis. The source runs far deeper than the current events which are terrible symptoms of a greater problem.

I am sobered and anguished watching the videos from the tragic attack on our nation’s Capitol Building. It is reprehensible. We can point fingers all day long, but we all have allowed anger, hatred, and animosity to boil over to this extent. These extremists disrespected the very fabric of our national heritage through their violent behavior. It is not about what extremist group did it, it is about that things got this far that it happened. This happened here in our nation, an attack on our Capitol.

I want to hear more Americans concerned for what their beliefs could cause in America. The Founding Fathers were consumed with posterity. What would generations hence learn from them, say about them, carry on because of their legacy and sacrifice? They took painstaking efforts to preserve their letters and writings so that we could learn from their wisdom.

We cannot reduce national discourse to Facebook memes. We cannot depend upon social media to the extent that we feel lost and silenced without it. The Founders had no internet. They could not reach the world in an instant with a knee-jerk reaction. They had to meet in a room with no air-conditioning and hash out their differences to work out our most cherished documents, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison worked to create a series of essays, known as The Federalist Papers, to run in the New York newspapers to inform the public about the merit of ratifying the Constitution. This took time, deliberation, and thought.

Letters were written by hand, copied by hand, and carried by hand to their recipient. Thought took time to communicate. It was precious, not careless.

Preserving our liberty means preserving honor, history, integrity, civil discourse, robust debate, and conduct befitting men and women created in the image of God.

FAKE NEWS

We have lost trust in the institution of journalism in all its forms. The mainstream media has lost at least half of the public’s trust. It has become indefensible as a source of truth.

Journalists are to be a safeguard against government overreach. They are to investigate and inform as they did in breaking the Watergate Scandal (see the masterful film The Post). When we have lost all trust in the mainstream media, we enter new dangerous grounds. When public institutions fail to serve the people to benefit their own interests, the people look for underground sources.

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Worldview Bulletin: Becoming a Thinking People: Slicing Through the Polarized Views

The last few days of 2019 found me suffering with the effects of a bad cold that had me sleeping instead of watching the ball drop as we passed into the now infamous 2020. Little did I know that instead of a year of 2020 vision we would have a year of great confusion, deep divisions, a health crisis, economic uncertainty, social turmoil, and a mad dash for toilet paper!

Despite such a tumultuous year, I have experienced deep enjoyment of the Lord and all His bounty. I have found joy in the smallest of things, a well-made sandwich, a juicy strawberry, a walk along the shore or around the block on a pleasant evening, or a great conversation with my husband. When all the fast-paced parts of life are sidelined the important things come into focus.

I have paid close attention to the ensuing cultural battles polarizing our nation. I watch the dueling swords wielded with unrestrained tongues. I see the fearmongering and shock tactics, the victim mentalities, and carelessness and strife in social media posts.

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America: A Polarized Nation in Need of Truth

Watching this election coming down to such a narrow margin we can see that we are witnessing the effects of a divided nation. Perhaps we have become numb to our deep seeded divisions which have so polarized our nation. How do we participate in the healing of a nation rather than participating in its divisions? How do we do this without compromising truth? The answer is not standing in the middle of the road trying desperately to merge one worldview with another. It is not claiming neutrality for no worldview is neutral.

Theological Nature of Politics

Politics is both theological and spiritual, but it is not to be religious. There is a difference which I will flesh out. How we see nations and their inner workings on every level is deeply theological. The very idea of nation comes from the Bible. Majoring on personal responsibility or on programs to provide welfare for the poor are both derived from biblical theology. It does not mean that both arguments are equally correct, but that their origins are both coming from a Christian worldview expressed in how we look at economics and government.

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Worldview Bulletin: Property and Liberty

In the wake of looting, my fellow conservatives take to social media to complain about the destruction of personal property. I have paid careful attention to the counter argument. These well-meaning individuals argue that it is ludicrous to be moved by the destruction of property, but not injustices to black lives. I can understand why the conservative outcry invokes this response. It does appear heartless. More needs to be said than what a meme can hold.

Without the proper space for real discourse we tend to emotively argue based on memes and click bait articles instead of wrestling with the substance of these topics.

Inanimate objects, stuff, things, personal effects, and buildings are not, and will never be, on par with a human life of any age, color, ethnicity, or nationality, born or unborn. However, to take issue with destruction of personal property is to take issue with the destruction of the value system of liberty. Personal property is tied to the dignity and liberty of free people. This is where it is indeed a matter of lives and livelihood and not only a matter of stuff.

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Worldview Bulletin: Perspective for Politics

We have entered the political season where there is a race of the century to see which path America will take. Worldview is a crucial component of this election. How we see what is going on and how we see people amid the political conflict is also a matter of worldview.

In this bulletin I am going to break down the different elements of this complex situation before us. To be clear, I am a conservative evangelical Christian. But I will be stepping on the toes of my own group as well as other groups in this discussion.

It is Only About the Kingdom

First, I want to speak to those Christians who believe being pro-Kingdom means being anti-nation. We hear from this group that Jesus is on the throne and all that matters is King Jesus. While I am ever so grateful for their devotion to Jesus, Jesus is not running for President. Our theology is useless if it does not make a difference on earth in the present-day reality. Jesus not only rules in heaven, but on earth. And on earth, God designed us to live within nations. We see this from His call of Abraham to be the father of many nations. Then we see the progression of Moses leading a people out of Egypt, training them in the laws of God to prepare them to be a nation in a physical land where God desired for them to flourish within its borders.

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American Reform for Black Lives

Welcome to my WORLDVIEW BULLETIN:

I hope everyone had wonderful celebrations of our nation’s Independence this past weekend. While we are aptly reminded that not all Americans experienced liberty on that famous day of July, the groundwork was laid for a nation under God and not under a foreign monarchy or a nation where the State is god. Without that liberty being foundational to America, we would all be experiencing a very different world. But at the same time, we would be grievously remiss to ignore those whose freedom came much too late and who are still rightly fighting for the full enjoyment of that precious liberty.

It is easy for those of us who do not face challenges of race to think all this was taken care of with the civil rights legislation in the 1960’s. But how many of us know that laws alone do not change a culture? Even when good laws are in place, laws and policies of injustice can and do remain.

Do we really want to return to normal?

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America, Christianity, and Avoiding the Ditches

I have loved American history since I was a child. Preserving the stability of my nation is a deep passion of mine. America is my homeland. In so doing, I wish to address a topic that we face today in modern theology. There are always ditches on either side of truth.

One ditch is to equate all things Christian with all things American. When we do this, we make America the center of God’s plan and its strength or weakness the barometer of our end time theology. Doing so creates fear at elections, and at the moral climate of our nation for we think it directly tied to God’s count-down to the end of the world as we know it. We tend to spiritualize everything to the extent where we are uncertain where politics end and Christianity begins. The two get so intertwined and lost in each other that we equate our Christianity with a political party making the “other party” not Christian in comparison. We are then judged, not by our works, but by our votes.

Now here is the rub. There is a ditch on the other side. Read more

Amazon Author Interview

Author-TalkHere is the full text of my Amazon Author Interview. I wanted to make it available to all my readers. Enjoy!  ~ Karla Perry

Christine Tate says:

Good morning everyone and welcome to another week of Interviewing Christian Authors where we meet a new Christian author each week and explore their work. I’m Christine Tate, the moderator for this thread, producer of the annual Virginia Beach Christian Authors Festival, and author of The No-Homework Women’s Bible Study: Group Hug and My Prayer Journal: Remembering God’s Answers: Purple Daisy Cover Design.

This week, we’ll be talking to Karla Perry. Welcome Karla! Please tell us about your book, Back To The Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability.

Karla Perry says:

Hi Christine, Thank you! I’m excited to be a part of this Amazon Interview.

My book, Back to the Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability is a journey into the past to discover the truths we left behind as a nation so that we can pull them into the present and secure a more stable future for our nation. There are many Christians who want to go back to a golden era and recreate yesteryear, but I want to inspire people to dig into American and Western history to pull into today what made America great so we can move forward and not go back into our idea of a golden age. In doing so, I discuss some of the things that made us go off road as a nation. In this vein, I cover philosophy, education, history, science, postmodernism, journalism, the family, and the church.  Read more