One of the most irritating things to me about modern American Christians is that we frequently think that having a Christian culture is our God-given right. We feel a deep sense of loss of privilege when our Christmas trees are banned or our nativity scene thrown out of the town square. We should certainly feel saddened by the loss of so much of what formerly characterized America, but I don’t think we should be surprised or offended. After all, true Christianity has typically operated in cultures that were deeply hostile to it, and American Christianity has been the rare and brief exception. It seems to me that America is reverting back to historical norms.
Joe at EO has an interesting suggestion- let them have it. Let them have Christmas. Let them have all of the trappings of the holiday, and “…maybe then we can finally show them Christ.”
It’s an idea worth thinking about. If Christ and Christmas and God and our heritage were finally totally banished from the public square- the chaplains out of our military, the monuments in Washington redesigned or destroyed, the money re-minted to say “in Washington we trust”- maybe then the reality of our situation would be very clear. We could then treat this culture as it is- one desperately in need of evangelism. A float saying “Merry Christmas” doesn’t address that situation in the slightest.
The church has frequently been persecuted in the past. We are being persecuted now. We are not being thrown in jail or tortured- not in this country, anyway- but there are sizable portions of this country who would silence us, suppress us, and even imprison us in order to remove all opposition to the dream of man. We should not be surprised. Jesus told us this would happen, as did Paul and Peter and James and John. We Christians need to start recognizing where the battle really is being fought. Jesus is being taken out of the public square because He was taken out of the hearts and minds of a great many of our countrymen, including many of those standing in pulpits and claiming to represent Him, a long time ago. Let’s make sure Jesus is enthroned in our own hearts, and in our families and churches, before we start worrying about some parade or some old stone monument.
Many will interpret this last election as a sizable shift back to more Christian roots, whether they think that’s a good or bad thing. While I am very happy that it was Bush and not Anybody But Bush, this election was no such shift. Perhaps it was a slight correction against some of the more blatant raving lunacy of the left, this country is no more Christian than it was ten years ago. Will it really change much, if there are 1.5 million abortions or just 1.2 million? Does it mean we’re more Christian if some judge is allowed to have a Ten Commandments plaque? We can dress it up some and maybe we buy ourselves a little more time by doing that, but eventually Christians are going to have to start fighting the right battles, and with the right weapons. We are going to have to start fighting for the real Gospel, for Biblical truth, and we will have to start with ourselves; then our families and churches; and then we can start worrying about our country again.
There’s still an awful lot of good in this countries, as countries go. I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for the freedom that we have. As my dad says sometimes, in America anyone can be as good a Christian as we want to be.
My point is, let’s spend more time getting the beam out of the eye of the church- bad doctrine, terrible worship, awful morality- before worrying about the speck of dust that is a float with no manger on it.