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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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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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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Covid-19: Civil Public Square

America’s public square is in dire straits. The public square is the public discussion of all things cultural, political, religious, and societal. The people who participate in this discussion in America are citizens from every walk of life, background, gender, race, economic status, and from a vast variety of theological and political thought. This square becomes broken when conversation deteriorates into group think, quarrelling, and emotional attacks against thinkers with which we disagree.

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Kingdom Worldview Modality

Worldviews are complex edifices that we use to acquire, filter, and disseminate knowledge. They run deeper than the content we consume and the ideas we hold true. They also drive the mood with which we emanate knowledge. Sometimes this looks like an attitude from which we share our knowledge. It is also a way in which we hear information or categorize the people around us. Our worldview mood can be healthy or unhealthy. It can carry love, hope, and good will, or it can take that same information and be destructive, critical, and forceful. At lot depends on how much we have cultivated and matured our worldview modality.

The Christian worldview is more than what we think, but also the way we think. We can be biblical in knowledge and still not be like Jesus in mature wisdom and compassion. We can pass the knowledge test and fail the mood test. Often, I agree with someone in content and yet disagree in perspective on that content. There are ways of thinking that we have fallen into as Christians, especially my fellow Christian conservatives, that betray a mood that undermines our desire to see true discipleship that builds nations. One major crippling persona we take on is that of the victim.

Modern Christianity is plagued with the mood of the victim. Someone somewhere is doing something to us. “They” are preventing us from liberty, mission, life, good education, good marriages, good family values, good movies, good television, (fill in the blank). “They” may be unbelievers, people of a different political persuasion, the government, foreign governments, the United Nations, or maybe we have boiled it all down to “the enemy.”

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Maturing Your Worldview

Worldviews provide an infrastructure for thinking. Most of us have not built out a large enough infrastructure to house the truth God wants us to live out. Modern Christians operate in a very small sphere. Eternal truths are put in a spiritual box divorced from practical truths of life that matter in the physical world. Read more

What does it mean to be Christian?

Generally, we classify a Christian as one who has surrendered his life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Such a one is a born again believer designated as “saved.” In contrast, the unsaved are deemed not Christian.

Being Christian is more than a saved soul. Jesus is not only truth for your soul, but for every area of life. A person can give his life to Jesus and still not be Christian even though he has become a Christian. Discipleship is required for a new Christian to become Christian in thought and praxis.

An unbeliever can be Christian in Read more

Train up a Child . . .

“Train a child in the way that he should go, and he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Often, we think this means that if we raised a child to know Jesus, he will return to his roots if he goes wayward. But notice, the proverb specifically says the child will not depart from his training. It is much easier to place the burden upon the child for his waywardness, but what if what is truly at issue is the training. If a child is trained right, he shall go right, but if he is trained wrong, he shall go wrong.

This is not to say that there is not redemption for a child poorly trained or for the mother or father failing to train well. God certainly forgives and redeems us from our errant ways. But do we want to miss all the time it takes for us to get back on the right road by not being on that road from the beginning? Read more

A New Reformation

Christian culture is shifting in a myriad of ways to embrace the idea that the Gospel is bigger than personal salvation. We are beginning to see that its scale encompasses institutions, cities, and nations.

We are not talking about The Church swallowing up these spheres, but that God cares about nations. His truth is not confined to how we do church and how we live our individual lives but expands to how nations function. We are not looking to create, or at least we ought not be looking to create, another Christendom, but an expansion of the Kingdom into all spheres of society. There is a difference. Read more