In the lead article for this month’s issue of Disciple Magazine, I’m trying to wrestle with some practical issues facing the Western Church as the “new morality” of unfettered sexual gratification (which is really neither new nor particular to current debates surrounding same-sex marriage) gains traction in law as well as culture. This is not another Jeremiad (at least, I don’t intend it as such), but a reminder that the time already passed was sufficient for finger-pointing and hand-wringing, and that our focus should be on Christ’s call to live in obedient holiness and share His truth with a watching world.
Christian leaders and writers across denominations have been wrestling with what that means for our daily practice and identity as members of the Body of Christ. Few expect an impending trip to the lions, but the consensus takeaway is that things will be different. Russell Moore (a Southern Baptist) speaks of becoming “a prophetic minority” (playing on the 1980s “Moral Majority”) willing to be reviled while lovingly and unflinchingly speaking truth to the world. Rod Dreher (a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy) has been most vocal about what he calls “The Benedict Option”—not a wholesale return to monasticism, but the intentional withdrawal from mainstream culture and cultivation of Christian community to preserve the truth and shine the light of Christ in a new dark age. This is beyond the “culture wars” of decades past. These are not discussions within a nominally Christian population about public morality, but serious questions about how the Church as an institution will weather the coming storm.
There is a real sense of fear today—fear of what we stand to lose, fear for the world our children and grandchildren will inherit. Beyond its value as a healthy motivator (more on that to come), though, this is not the time for fear. Whatever comes (though we seek to understand the times, we cannot know all that God’s plan holds), we ought to be concerned with how the Church will survive and thrive, because we have been given roles and responsibilities in the Lord’s kingdom. We strive to protect the Church, not because we want to preserve our comfort and influence, but because we have a job to do.
Read the whole thing. This train of thought is (as evidenced by the links throughout) not original to me, but it has been weighing on me of late. Tell me what you think.