Worldview Bulletin: Kick the Buckets: Ditching the Sacred / Secular Divide

Christians far too often operate in what is called the “secular / sacred divide.” We bifurcate reality creating a private personal religion and a secular “neutral” public world. We essentially create two buckets. We erroneously categorize our lives to where God’s truth applies and where we believe it does not. We misjudge the secular as neutral, even sending our children to “neutral” secular education. Consider the two buckets where we compartmentalize sacred and secular.

In the religion bucket we have:

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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: 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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Restoring The Word ‘Nationalism’

The Devil likes to redefine and repurpose words so that we reject them and lose their intended purpose in the process. He has attempted to hijack the word “nationalism.” The word has become politically and racially charged because it is being used incorrectly.

We first saw this with Hitler when he tried to make the world German. But what Hitler was doing was not nationalism, but imperialism. To quote Author, Speaker, and Reformer, Vishal Mangalwadi, “German Fascist imperialism was able to hijack words such as nationalism in the 20th Century, because Read more

Speaking the Truth in Love

HOW we say something can be as important as WHAT we say. It is not enough that what we say is true. We can say it in a way that is brash or in a way that is kind. Sharing the truth in love does not mean that we share the truth because we love, but that we share truth in the way that love shares truth. Love always hopes. When we share what is true we are not rattling off the negative facts like a pessimist. We share the truth with hope.

When we speak of a problem it is not the end of the world (or the nation), it is an opportunity for a solution. Before you call me an optimist, neither optimism nor pessimism is Christian. To hope is Christian. Without biblical hope, all we are left with is the world’s philosophies of optimism or pessimism based on our personal preference. Truth carries a substance that is otherworldly. It is the reality of heaven infused in our very words. It is the power to release hope where there was fear. It is the power to give life where there was death. It is the power to give freedom where there was bondage.

Love does not dishonor others. Just because something is true does not mean we can speak it in a manner that brings dishonor. Love always protects. It does not just protect family and friends, but the stranger we have never met that we are talking about on social media. It does not just protect the one whose name we know, but the whole group we may be discussing. It protects celebrities and governing leaders too. I Corinthians 13 is not only how we are to treat those in our inner circle it is how we conduct ourselves in the way of love. A mature believer is one who speaks truth in love (Eph 4). Love is the way truth is shared not merely the reason truth is communicated.

Love is not easily angered nor easily offended. It speaks in such a way as to set people free, not to keep them bound by their wayward ways. It does not point fingers, it shields the one under attack. Not because the one has merited the love, but because Jesus did the same while we were yet sinners. “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Truth is not communicated in offense. Offense is communicated, and the truth becomes secondary.

Politics is not an excuse for negativity, dishonor, anger, offense, or ridicule. While truth can be partisan, love is not. This means that we still have the responsibility to communicate truth in love no matter what the position of the other may be. They are not idiots. They are not imbeciles. It is possible “they” are the ones who see something we need to see. It is possible “they” have never seen what we see and therefore cannot know what we know and think like we think. Most likely “they” are not doing anything to us on purpose. It is important not to assign motives to people. It only serves to maintain the culture of “us” versus “them” when we do that.

Governing how we communicate truth will require that we slow down and listen to ourselves and how we may sound to others. It also necessitates that we listen to how others hear what we are saying. I have found that communicating my ideas to people who do not believe them help me to learn how I sound to them. It matters. If I fail to understand how I sound to others, I cannot do better at letting truth be heard in a way that honors the one listening.

To be continued . . .

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

Nations, Empires, Globalism . . .

American-Flag-Government-PaWhat is a nation and why does it matter? Nations are a biblical idea. Empires are a worldly idea. But today we face a new challenge, globalism. Globalism is a secularist idea derived from a perversion of Christian ideals.

God promised Abraham to make him the father of many nations. Israel was the first prototype nation. As a nation, Israel would bless many nations.

A nation is one people, united under one language, government, and occupying one land. A nation has borders. The land without those borders does not belong to it. The land within the borders does not belong to the nations outside of it. Read more

Where is your hope?

235065a3c5a39e64e7fb49673014c0ffThere is hope for America no matter who is elected come November 8. The White House may be the seat of political power, but it is not the seat of the Lord’s power. The seat of the Lord’s power is in our churches. The power to transform our nation is the same power that birthed our nation. It’s the same power that fueled The Reformation 499 years ago.

Initially there was no American government to give freedom to America. The people learned to govern themselves in freedom from the Bible. It was from that place of freedom that our Founders wrote a Constitution to protect this nation from abuses of such freedom. Read more

Rekindling Hope in a Dark World

light-of-the-worldThe Western world has run amok, but I am not going to react to it. We have all heard of the violent acts in Florida, Dallas, France, Baton Rouge, Germany, and now Florida again.

The best thing I can do in response is to stay the course that God has called me to travel. I will continue teaching people to honor those in authority and to respect all people regardless of race, class, gender, or religion. I will not become reactive, distracted, or intolerable in response to current events.

Before the families have been notified, social media surges with political opinions and demands. We can denounce such violence all we want, but it will not stop it.

Frankly, I am more concerned with the responses and lives of Christians in this nation than I am the damage wrought by terrorism. Read more