In response to Throwing Baby Out With The Bathwater the last post on Grain John Allman asks a basic yet very important question:
“Western societies are well advised to recover their religious roots in a cultural tradition informed by Jewish and Christian beliefs.” [Wolfhart Pannenburg]
So, what, in practice, should (say) a thirty year-old Christian do? Or a 30 year-old non-Christian who doesn’t want to become a Christian? What might either of these citizens do, towards ensuring the outcome desired, namely that the western society he or she was born into in 1983, recovers its religious roots in a cultural tradition informed by Jewish and Christian beliefs?
Become Passionate If someone were to key your car, gouge the bodywork and cause real damage would you shrug your shoulders and pass it off as just one of those things? ‘After all casual vandalism has become part of everyday life in many areas and has to be accepted, no point in getting hot and bothered about it.’ The natural reaction to such an event is firstly an emotional one, the desire to want to let the vandals know what you think in somewhat forceful terms.
When the cultural vandals of our intellectual elites do more than casual violence to the culture which gave us the values and freedoms in which we rejoice it is not a mark of mature responsibility to pass it off as an inevitable part of modern life with a shrug and ‘What can one person do?’
We all, Christian and non-Christian need to become passionate about the deliberate destruction of western civilisation. This is more than a matter of intellectual squabbles, it is about how we and our children are going to live our lives. Cool detachment is not an appropriate response.
Become Aware Mostly we are only vaguely aware of what is going on around us. We know of individual incidents which impact us or catch our attention; workers disciplined for wearing a cross, casual insults against anyone who differs from the establishment progressive view or people being driven out of business because they refuse to conform to the dictates of the new morality.
Most of us, however, are unaware of the underlying philosophical presuppositions and the motives of those who control the media and the academy. Things only happen in a certain way because people first of all think in a certain way. The young Christian must do more than react emotionally against what is occurring in our society, he or she must learn to discern why it is happening.
We have a world of knowledge at the click of a mouse. Sure, there is a lot of chaff amongst the wheat, but it is not too difficult to do a little winnowing. Young Christians should approach someone trusted for guidance on what is appropriate for them at their stage of spiritual and intellectual development, but most of all they should explore the world of thought around them and come to their own decisions.
Become Involved The best way of learning about something is to be involved in it. Reading about how to swim is all very well, but it is much better to get into the water. Our thirty year old Christian should become involved in an organisation which focuses on an area which particularly interests them; education, law, art, politics, marriage, family life, abortion, there are many worthwhile bodies presenting a Christian worldview in the cultural marketplace.
Support them with prayer, financially, letter writing, going to meetings, and pretty soon they will find their understanding of the issue growing. As well as giving support to people who very often are facing difficult struggles the young Christian will learn by immersion.
Go to conferences on the subject that interests. This will not only support those involved in the issue but young Christians will find they grow in understanding and are strengthened to carry on themselves. Importantly they will find that they are not on their own, there actually are people out there who think just like them.
Become Open At times it is easy to get the impression that the church is really a secret society, we tend to operate undercover, never revealing our identities, never betraying our true allegiance, it’s a wonder we don’t have secret handshakes. One of the great successes of the homosexual lobby was to ‘normalise’ homosexuality. They made what was once seen as degenerate and a perversion not to be spoken of in public seem acceptable, a normal part of everyday life. This didn’t happen by accident but was a deliberate strategy.
Christians should come out of the closet, be open about their beliefs with their friends and workmates, make Christian points in discussions in the pub. Most of all Christians should take advantage of one of the greatest mission fields in the UK today, the church.
Many church members are receptive to explanations of how the faith impacts social and cultural life. Too often they are used to getting this from one particular theological interpretation from the pulpit, let them know that there is another, more biblical, interpretation of society than the one they are often fed. When our young Christian speaks out there may be a welcome surprise in finding that so many agree.
It is not going to be easy. Our young Christian should remember that whenever a movement of any value has started within the church it has usually not been at the instigation of the supposed leaders. More often it is what could be termed the middle management and the foot soldiers who have shaped the future. If you wish to look for reformation look to the grass roots.