Are We At War?

Let’s say we all agree that there is a battle for souls going on, there is a struggle against principalities, there is a real Devil and we are engaged in a struggle- given.

But having said as much, do we fight with logic, reason, debate skill, erudition, point/counterpoint jousting, or is there another way? If we identify as “the people who are always at odds with the people who are not them” how are we differnent than the Amish?

And is that so bad? Amish folk are what they are, they don’t try to live in 2 worlds. But are they salt and light?

Let’s consider the current “Big Three”- Abortion, Evolution, Homosexuality (going alphabetically, so as to show no preference). Will anyone be debated from one camp into another? And if that is not the only way to go, what are some other ways?

10 thoughts on “Are We At War?”

  1. 1 Peter 3:14-16 (The Message)
    The Message (MSG)

    Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
    The Message at Navpress NavPress

    14Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. 15Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost
    courtesy. 16Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath.

    Ithink there is a place for “debate” but debate is only one method in communicating truth. Sometimes it is the debate process that triggers the loving conversations that are needed.

    In answer to: will debate of the big three ever convince some. I think certainly.Will it convince all, certainly not. Paul said that he has become all things to all people that some might be saved. I think multiple approaches are needed.
    It looks like the Engagement not extraction post starts to hit your first points.

    PS the big three: Their commonality is that they are Big issues. But looking closer they are very different, not just the obvious. They touch different arenas of life etc… still fleshing these thoughts out in my mind.

  2. The scope of the Big 3 is that one of them is intensely personal, while also involving an as-yet-unborn stranger (Abortion), one is about as impersonal as science can be, but touches on personal issues in a philosophical way (Evolution), and the third is again, personal, but has an impact in a societal way (Homosexuality).

    Between the three, they really do give everyone something to argue/think about.

    Back to the “War” point, I just read a chapter in Blue Like Jazz that Krug recommended that dealt in part with language. The metaphors we use to describe things really inform our approach. The author mentions the “battle” with cancer and how patients are said to be “fighting for their lives” when, statistically, the disease is mostly not fatal. He says we use language to describe love that makes it a commodity (investing, value, etc.). Interesting stuff.

    We are admonished to don armor, but to use it with the “utmost courtesy”. No wonder it gets confused!

  3. Let’s introduce some controversy into this thread…

    While I’ve benefited from Dobson’s writing and advise on parenting, I tend to agree with the blogger (and many of those making comments on that blog) on most of Dobson’s other public words and activities, especially over the past 10 years or so. I just don’t think this (i.e., culture war language) is in general (I don’t want to say “never”) the way to show Christ to our culture. Of course, exactly how we do that is a much bigger — and admittedly multi-faceted and complex — discussion.

  4. I agreed with the Blog about Dobson. Basically, what happens with these issues is:

    1. It is stated that it is important to identify the issue and a ‘need to take sides’. Identify who is with you and who is against you.

    2. Accept the commonly stated ‘reality’ that every issue is a major one that, if lost, will be a catalyst for everything else going down the drain. Along with this is the belief that things are getting worse and worse every day. (Merry Christmas!)

    3. Do whatever it takes to convince those on the other side to come over to your side.

    Does this convince people of the love of Christ? Do they look at us and say “I want what they have!”. I agree with Donald Miller in his book Blue Like Jazz when he states that “Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you LIKE them.” We do not love the people on the ‘other sides’ of these issues. We state that we do, or at least we say we don’t ‘hate’ them, but do they feel God’s love through us? No way.

    The result, sadly, is that conversations are ended, sides are drawn, fists are clenched and the chasm between those who know Christ and those who don’t is widened.

  5. I guess you’re going to be disappointed, bwhite, as I don’t know if you have raised any controversy at all — here, anyway. I agree in general with the points made by the blog you mentioned, and professor. I very much doubt any non-follower said, “That Dobson guy is right! What must I do to be saved?”

    I wonder if the Happy Holidays Haters (and by the way, I also abhor the phrase “Happy Holidays”; I just haven’t issued any press releases) would have more success if they said something like, “With the joyous season coming upon us, we wish to remind everyone that Jesus is the best gift anyone could give or receive. Don’t forget to welcome Him into your homes and lives as you welcome friends and family, etc..”

  6. So then, is the answer to step back, live out and share Christ’s love to best of our ability to an ever increasingly liberal world, quietly?

    I would agree that we could skip many of the issues, i.e. Happy Holidays. But I think, back to the original post, we are obligated to call sin what it is, sin. Jesus did not whitewash anything with the Pharisees. He exposed their actions and their hearts, for the sin they contained.

    We can share Christ’s love and how he loves every life and how there are options to abotions in a very kind way, not picketing.

  7. Cowboysfan, you mention a buzzword: liberal. Unfortunately, that has multiple connotations, and I think I’m supposed to believe all of them are bad. As in “liberal church”, “liberal politician”, and now “liberal world”.

    The original meaning of the word is “free” and “generous”. In that sense, I hope to be the most liberal guy around. I want to have a liberal church, full of liberal people who are liberal with the world.

    On the other hand, conservative means “tending or disposed to maintain existing institutions; opposed to change or innovation.” Using this definition, I heartily oppose conservative Christians, conservative churches, or conservative thinking. I want to save us all from conservatism.

    I don’t think this is too off-topic, since we’re talking about how we address social or cultural issues. Rather than use easily misunderstood terms like liberal, let’s come up with some other words and expressions that more accurately describe our desire to follow Jesus. Suggestions?

  8. Lately I have difficulty calling myself conservative. We have slid so far down the slippery slopes I find little in much of culture or american lifestyle worthy of conserving. Status quo leaves much to be desired. Maybe Reformative, if thats a word, is a better description.

  9. A nagging question for me as I’ve read this, and especially in regard to some other books I’ve been reading: Are WE Pharisees? Some writers contend that we are, I’d like to not just accept that as a blanket.

    On the other hand, some seem to suggest that “the world” is comprised of modern-day Pharisees, and I don’t see that, either. As I understand it Pharisees and the subsequent criticism of them by Jesus applies to the religious leaders, the protectors of the status quo at the expense of the weightier matters of the law. Thoughts?

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