Culture Wars, Priorities, and Picking Your Battles
Anyone who isn’t dead, asleep, or on another planet should know that there are plenty of problems out there, plenty of issues we should be aware of, and plenty of things that really must be addressed, resisted or fought. Christians of all people should realise that we live in a war zone, and there are major battles raging all around us.
Yet most believers live as if they are dead, asleep, or on another planet. They seem totally oblivious to the very real wars going on around them, or, worse yet, they don’t seem to care in the least. They live for themselves, and show no interest in such vitally urgent matters as the slaughter of the unborn or the war on marriage and family.
That they don’t care about such things is really reprehensible, but what they don’t know about such things is inexcusable. In an internet age, ignorance is no longer an excuse. And if you are getting a jilted and false view of reality by relying on the mainstream media, then start using the alternative media.
We really can’t claim ignorance anymore. We must be aware of the battles taking place around us, and we must engage. There is no place for sitting on the fence. Indeed, fence sitters are effectively aligning with the other side. In a time of warfare, there is no place for faux neutrality.
In wartime, those who are refusing to stand and fight are really traitors, and have gone over to the enemy’s camp. So we have no excuse. When so many pressing issues are upon us, we must take a stand, we must get involved, and we must stand for what is right.
But people tell me so often that it seems there are just so many issues, so many battles, so much enemy activity, and so much constant attack. Well, they are right. Thus we must learn to pick our battles carefully and wisely. We need to determine which are the key battles, and prioritise on these matters.
Let me illustrate this by mentioning some recent interchanges with fellow believers. They are all onside and in the end we did agree, but recounting these exchanges may be of some use here. I have had some people questioning why I post on certain issues, asking if they are really that important, or if we maybe should deal with other stuff.
Some of these discussions have had to do with my recent writings on the 52-year-old man who decided he now wants to be a 6-year-old girl. This is madness of the highest order, but sadly it is being supported by many in the media, the intelligentsia, our cultural elites, etc.
So one person said he did not really want to hear about all this. I said I did not either, but when serious issues like this arise (and the war on sanity, sexuality and society is serious), then we must take a stand. I said simply keeping our heads in the sand helps no one, and simply compounds the problem.
He agreed that these were vital issues, but that he still did not like to have to face them. Well I don’t like to have to face them either, but someone must. If we all just pull out of the culture wars and hope things will just go away all by themselves, we are deluding ourselves.
Another person wondered if there were not other more important threats facing us, and that it might be giving undue attention to this person. I agree that we do not need to unnecessarily draw attention to every act of deviancy, perversion and moonbattery.
So wisdom is needed if and when we focus on something. But this story was getting plenty of attention already in the mainstream media, and sometimes conservative/Christian commentary on such stories needs to be offered. So that I had done: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/12/15/when-folks-identify-as-brainless-nincompoops/
And in this case I think it is a big deal: the destruction of gender, of biology, of reality, of marriage and family, and God’s purposes for human sexuality are all quite big problems. If we think none of this matters, then we are not aware of the war we are in.
My friend agreed, but suggested that Islam was a far greater threat at the moment. He said the homosexual threat will destroy us slowly, but the Islamic threat was even more of an urgent and very real threat. I said I felt that both are totally serious, threatening and dangerous, and that there is no need of course to choose just one.
I suggested that if two madmen break into your home, one pointing a gun at you, and one with a bottle of poison, it is rather foolish to debate which one is more of a threat. Whether slow or quick, both are mortal dangers, and both MUST be dealt with. As Francis Schaeffer used to remark, ‘Satan never gives us the luxury of fighting on just one front’.
So whenever I see the purposes and plans of God under attack, whenever I see his truth and values under siege, I will take a stand. Sure, there are far too many threats that we can face, and we do need to be wise and strategic as to which battles we engage in.
We cannot fight every battle, and some battles are indeed more important and more life-threatening than others. So we do need to prioritise, and we do need to be careful in which issues we spend time and energy on. We need to pray for divine wisdom as to what battles we should spend time on.
The enemy wants to wear us out by having us feel we must do everything about every issue that is out there. That of course is a recipe for disaster and the enemy knows it. So we need to resist the temptation to see ourselves as supermen, and simply move in those areas that God is specifically leading us into.
The Body of Christ as a whole is there to deal with all the various battles. You and I can only deal with some. So let’s be careful in what issues we get involved in. And do not let others detract you from your work if you have a sense of God’s call in a particular area.
If they do not see the need for it, or the urgency of that fight, well, that may be because it is not for them, while it is still something for you to be involved in. Thus we should be cautious about what our critics – friendly or otherwise – may tell us, and we should be careful in criticising others.
We all have a role to play, and we all have different ministries, gifts and callings. We can’t save the universe, but we maybe can save – with the help and grace of God – our neighbourhood. As Mother Teresa once put it, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Or again, “We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love.” Let me finish with some words from the late Chuck Colson. Just moments ago I bought a new book, My Final Word, a collection of his final essays.
The very last chapter contains his very last speech – or part of it. He collapsed half way through delivering it on March 30, 2012. Three weeks later he went to be with the Lord. Thus folks back then never did get to hear the entire speech, although the link below does feature the whole piece.
Let me share a few bits from his talk. He said this: “I happen to be one of those who believe that societies are changed by movements at the grass roots. So how do we get the material out to people so they can use it with their neighbors? I think cultures are changed over the backyard fence and the barbecue grill. I don’t believe they’re changed from the top down.”
I happen to run a website, teach and speak at various places, engage in political lobby work, and so on. Not everyone is called to do this of course. We all have our own ministry and means by which we can proclaim truth in the public arena. But I like what he said. At the very least, we can share truth over the barbecue or in other informal settings.
He goes on to say that this is not about imposing our beliefs on others, as some claim: “Don’t let them tell you that. We don’t impose anything, we propose; we propose an invitation to the wedding feast. To come to a better way of living, a better way of life. It’s the great proposal.”
This is indeed terrific news that we share. It is not just about opposing evil – although it is part of that. It is about letting people know that the biblical story is real: God came to live among us, to set us free, and to restore us to a love relationship with himself.
All these cultural battles need to be fought because they harm people and culture, but more importantly, because they keep people away from Christ, which is their greatest need. So during this Christmas break, recharge your batteries, get some rest, and spend quality time with God. Then, in the new year, I will see you again on the frontlines, wherever they may be.
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