Dear Christians, The Culture War is Over, We Lost.

blue merica
{I don’t normally post on political topics, or even on solely spiritual ones. Mostly I write about filmmaking from a biblical worldview, or church tech, etc… but I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while. Regular posts will resume after this brief interruption.}
Dear Christians,
In a short time the Supreme Court will rule on marriage in America. But no matter what that ruling is, it won’t change this fact:
The culture war is over. We lost.
We lost because it took 20 years for us to realize we were at war. This war of ideals started in the 1960s, but the Religious Right got going in the 80s. By then we were already on the defensive. We were most concerned about maintaining the power to enforce our rules. But legal authority alone does not engender revival.
We lost because we decided to let school and church teach our kids the most important lessons. We shirked our responsibility as parents. We are supposed to “train up a child” and teach them what it means to live a righteous and holy life. Instead we left that education up to Sunday School teachers who saw kids for 1 hour a week. How can we be surprised when a college student leaves home and then drops out of religious practice? We didn’t teach them what was important. Someone else did. How can we be surprised when our children’s views differ from our own? We didn’t teach them.
We lost because our own faith is little more than weekend window dressing. We go to church, and then go home and live like everyone else in the world. We don’t live as Christ did. Non Christians look at us and see little beyond a seemingly irrational, deeply-held belief that we are right and they are wrong. But if we are different and correct, why don’t we live differently? Why don’t we love differently?
We lost because we were fighting the wrong war. By all means, vote and speak up about morality, injustice, and erosion of freedom. But those things are not the reason we live on this earth. God didn’t ask us to protect our way of life, he asked us to be ambassadors of the reconciliation. I fought in this political war. I wrote about it, I voted my values, and railed against changes. It’s easy to get riled up about things that erode your status quo, it’s hard to live a life that proves your claims are real and better. The war against sin is less about other people’s actions, and more about our own.
We lost because we were fighting a political war when we should have been fighting a spiritual one. Do we believe our enemy is not flesh and blood? Do we really believe there is a spiritual aspect to this conflict of ideals and morals? It’s easier to rally the vote and cry about discrimination than it is to get on your knees and pray and trust that God hears and is in control. Want to change the world? Coercion through legal means doesn’t change anything but outside behavior, and that’s temporary at best. Change the world- truly change the world by changing hearts.
We lost because we were more concerned with making sure everyone behaves correctly than we were with making sure everyone has a personal, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. We were more concerned with proving America was founded on Christian principles than leading Americans to Christ. We were more concerned with telling people what was sinful than we were in helping people find the one person who could take that sin on himself.
We lost the culture war.
Let the spiritual revolution begin!
2 millennia ago a small group of believers was not in a position of political or legal authority. In fact, many were killed for their beliefs. They focused on one thing, making disciples. They didn’t shy away from speaking the truth, they called people to repentance. They lived lives that marked them as different.
Let the spiritual revolution begin!
Their lives were not easy, and they were often persecuted. But they were faithful. They made disciples. And that small group of believers grew to over 2 Billion today. Somewhere along the way we, in Western culture, lost the sense of urgency, lost the love for people and desire to see them in a reconciled relationship with God. We became satisfied. We became preoccupied with maintaining the status quo. I fear the only thing that will shake us from our steadfast satisfaction is the shattering of society as we know it.
The culture war is over, and we lost. Let the spiritual revolution begin!
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think below. Normally I post about media from a biblical worldview, like these short films/shows.

How Not to Please God

The book of Judges, many times, reads like a cautionary tale about how not to please God. There are some stories where the people of the kingdom (actually the non-kingdom) of Israel did some very bad things. Like in chapter 19 verse 22 and following, where the men of Gibeah demand the master of the house throw out his guest so that they can rape him. So the guest throws his concubine out, and they rape her to death. Then the guest is so angry that he cuts her body into 12 pieces and sends them to each tribe.

It took this level of outrage to cause Israel to react. So, in the next chapter they congregate and ask the man why he has done this with his concubine. So he relates the whole story, and the people of Israel get angry at Gibeah (which is from the tribe of Benjamin) that they immediately went to punish the men responsible. But the people of the tribe of Benjamin would not comply, and there was a civil war for three days. Israel kept asking God if they should keep fighting the tribe of Benjamin, and God kept saying yes. When it was over most of the tribe of Benjamin was dead.

Then look at Judges 21:1:

Now the men of Israel had sworn at Mizpah, “No one of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin.”

Notice that the text does not say “God said…” Here is Israel, who has fallen to such a state that Gibeah is beginning to resemble Sodom and Gommorrah. This horrible thing has happened. They have sought God and followed his will in handing out punishment to the men of Gibeah, as well as those in the tribe of Benjamin that stood with them. After all of this, Israel goes a step further and swears to cut off the rest of the tribe of Benjamin. Now they have a problem.

They have sworn before God not to give their women as wives. But they don’t want the tribe to die off. So what is their big plan?

They go to a city that did not join in the fight against Benjamin, kill the adults and take the young virgin girls and gave them to Benjamin. God did not command this, they decided this was a good idea. But even that is not enough. Then they tell the people of Benjamin to go kidnap young women from those taking part on the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh. Men of Benjamin hide in the vineyards and take girls who come and dance there.

And that’s the resolution of the story. Everyone goes home like this was all great and grand. OK, not really, this was one huge mess. The book ends with this statement:

“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25b”

It’s pretty easy for us modern, western civilization types to sit back and look with disgust at this whole situation. Throughout the whole story human life is worth very little. Women and children are worth even less than men. We wouldn’t find ourselves in that situation.

But we might be able to see facets of this in our own lives if we are not careful.

When we take what God has directed us to do, and go beyond that, we are in danger of doing what Israel did here. We may not actually kill anyone, but we will destroy relationships and hurt people if we are not careful. God may have set a task before you, but did he tell you to roll over people on the way to accomplishing it?

Nothing Israel did regarding wives for Benjamin pleased God. He never asked them to make a foolish promise. He definitely never asked them to kill a village and kidnap 400 virgins. And he never told them to kidnap more young girls. It was unjust, and contrary to who God is. I’ll be the first to admit that God took extraordinary measures to protect Israel and the line of David until Jesus was born. He was serious about purity of the faith. But this isn’t who he is.

In your zeal to do what God has asked you to do, be sure your behavior reflects the God whose will you are trying to follow.