Archives For America

Post Culture War America

November 19, 2012

Recently, Ed Stetzer posted several of his thoughts about the political and cultural outlook for America.flag_cross_525

Among his many predictions, he tentatively called the end of the culture war.

Like, he didn’t call for the end of the culture war.  Like watching an election map take shape and realizing that the paths to victory are narrowing, Stetzer called the culture war over.  

And he says we’ve lost.  Our path to victory has closed.

With multiple states passing referenda that would be opposite of the typical evangelical agenda, he says it’s time to prepare to live in post-culture-war America.

If you think that means hunkering in your basement until the apocalypse, here’s what I think.

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I have a question for you, now that Election Day is over:6a00d834515f9b69e2016302ae4f64970d-800wi

How much damage did the election cause to the church?

Or rather, how much damage did we do, with the election’s help?

I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon. I have no idea what mood I will be in by the time you read these words. While you are reading these words, literally half of this country is very upset. I do not need to be a fortune teller to know that.

Half of us are convinced that the man who will be President for the next four years will cause irreparable harm to this country. Chances are, he will, as most Presidents do. Hopefully, he will cause less harm than the good he accomplishes.

But I fear that the damage done to our churches will not be erased anytime soon, though the election is over.

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Kwot Nyor is a quietly amazing

Yesterday, he spoke to our church. He has been a good friend to my dad for several years.

Kwot is from South Sudan. He spent ten years fighting in the liberation army, defending Christians from genocide. He would go without food and water for days at a time. After a decade of fighting, he worked as a pastor and evangelist. Now, he is living in the midwest United States, but is preparing to return home with the dream of building new Christian schools and churches in the very primitive South Sudan.

This is a place where people worship trees and sacrifice animals to appease spirits. They speak curses and incantations against one another. People cannot read or write. Whole communities share single water wells.

He told us stories of specific people who came for healing, and they were healed. Or, Kwot prayed, and Jesus appeared to them, the way He appeared to Paul. He has dreams that come true. He even dreamed on Saturday night that his car would break down, and on Sunday morning, on his way to church, it did.

Kwot’s stories are outlandish, to the point of unbelievability to an American like me.

It makes me wonder when I hear all the things that happen in places like Africa if God has decided to check out of America.

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Just one more weekend to go…white-house-south-2007-dj

…Many of us have rested many hopes on the shoulders of one man or the other.

We assure ourselves that if only the right man is elected, then our troubles will be erased:

We will have more money.

We will enjoy more opportunities.

We will be safer and more secure.

We will be happier.

We have a lot of hope pinned on what happens next Tuesday.  Half the country will be elated, while the other lies around in sackcloth and ashes, certain that it is the end of modern civilization as we know it.

In times like this, I like to recall this:

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America, the Intolerant

October 29, 2012

If there’s one virtue that is esteemed in our culture above all else, it’s tolerance.

And if there is one sin that is disdained above all else, it’s intolerance.

Intolerance gets many labels: hatred (never just hate, hatred), bigotry, or a different word for every group you apparently are intolerant of.

I think we can all agree that there is something wrong with our modern culture. And I have finally figured out what it is.

No matter what we say, what we preach, how we boast, we are not a tolerant people.  In fact, I would say modern America is experiencing one of its most intolerant times in our history.  Intolerance is running positively rampant.

And the source of all this intolerance?  It might be a little bit surprising.

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Last Friday, I ruined a Bible verse for everyoneamerican-pioneers

Well, that’s because it’s not really in the Bible at all.  The verse, oft quoted by well-meaning Christians is “God will never give you more than you can handle.”  Whenever life is rough, you can count on a Christian friend trying to perk you up with that little saying.

As the comments rolled in, and I thought over the weekend, I realized we were on to something bigger.  Much bigger.

Several people shared ways in which God is giving them more than they can handle.  It was amazing and humbling to read their stories.

As I read what many of you were saying, it struck me that we were only touching the tip of the iceberg.  We’ve actually uncovered an extremely pervasive false gospel that permeates the whole of American Christianity.  It goes against everything the gospel teaches.

It is the false gospel of self-reliance.

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