We aren’t supposed to change the world

That’s what I’ve been told.

During this explosive time in history, we are seeing a lot of blame and blame-shifting on social media. Many people feel defensive right now, and in some cases, that is to be understood.

One problem I have, that relates specifically to Christians, is the blaming of “media” and “left-wing radicals” and the unwillingness to do any soul-searching.

We don’t like the way “the culture” is handling this. We don’t like the way the culture has handled gender inequality, either. There is this idea, whether spoken directly or implied, that all of this unrest has been generated by Democrats or progressives or radicals or the media. This implies that the issues are not real, so we end up gaslighting those who have experiences that differ from ours.

As short and sweet as I can say it: the culture has beaten Christians to the punch*.

Throughout the centuries the Bible has been used to support things like slavery, segregation, the prohibition of interracial marriage, the silencing of women, sending women home to abusive husbands with the instructions to not make him mad, or give him his next beer in a submissive attitude. Don’t stir the pot.

We have protected pastors who have abused women and children under the guise of protecting the image of Jesus. We have covered over a multitude of sins, for no other reason than to save face, and maintain power.

We left a major gap in culture, have been silent too long, and sadly, the culture is ahead of the church. We dropped the ball. We chose pride over humility. We refuse to openly repent of the sins of our fathers and work toward real solutions.

We made the Gospel too small. We made it about escaping hell, instead of about bringing heaven to earth. And we brought a lot of hell in the process.

If we do not like that these issues have fallen into the hands of politicians, then we need to get busy at home, living like Jesus. If you do not believe Christians are supposed to change the world, then you are missing much of the meaning of the Gospel and of Scripture. As a result, you are leaving positive social change in the hands of politicians who may be opportunistic and may not do it “your way.”

We need to stop blaming the devil and the media for this, exclusively, and take a look at ourselves. When we blame “media” we must realize that Fox News and all those Facebook memes are forms of media, too. Maybe it’s time to turn it off and listen to what the Spirit is saying.

Much of the Evangelical church has rendered to Caesar what is God’s. The fact that there is an Evangelicals for Trump organization is an indication of this. There ought not be an Evangelicals for anyone group. We have married ourselves to government in ways that are inappropriate and which make us beholden to them. Patriotism has been conflated with Christianity. In some ways we have partnered with Babylon.

Separation of church and state was a protection for religious groups, so we can practice faith in peace. Now we complain about that separation because we want power.

We are not the mouthpieces for the President, as the church. We vote the way we choose, and as citizens we may be called to work in government, but as pastors and churches, we are the mouthpiece of Jesus, and of the Gospel. No flags in sanctuaries, only the cross of Christ. And the cross of Christ reminds us that suffering and humility is the way up. Exerting power is the way of Caesar.

We can’t change the world? Not the way we’ve been going at it. If we don’t like the fruit we are seeing, maybe we are in the wrong tree.

* When I say Christians, please know that I’m not speaking of all Christians. There are many who have worked for justice and have lived peaceful, humble, lives, throughout history. It seems the loudest among us have set the reputation for all of us.

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