Being a progressive Christian is a tough racket. It seems most Christians are not progressive which, if you read the linked description of the term, indicates that most Christians are still defined largely by polemics (being against things). Perhaps nothing better embodies polemics than the culture war. In reality, the culture war is toxic to Christianity and actually has almost nothing to do with it. Christians need to reject it right now and adopt gospel priorities. Here are 7 reasons I hate the culture war.
1. Its issues (the “war on Christmas,” homosexuality, abortion, prayer in schools, etc.) are not gospel issues.
2. Despite #1, it nevertheless positions itself as THE Christian voice in our society.
3. It mistakes preferences for commandments. Let’s face it, Christians may prefer nativity scenes in public places, but there’s no command that we should have one or are entitled to one. An atheist seeking to eliminate said nativity scene has as much right to the judicial process as a Christian does and is doing nothing wrong by seeking to eliminate it. Further, if he should win, Christians have lost nothing essential to the practice of our faith. We fight heated battles over issues where we stand to lose nothing, other than “But I think it’s nice…”
4. It is largely sentimental and not substantive.
5. It seeks, focuses on, and requires an enemy. In the culture war, the enemies are liberals, atheists, and gays. Gospel-wise, the moment someone is identified as an enemy, we are commanded to love and pray for them. Christians fighting the culture war do exactly the opposite.
6. In focusing on enemies and enlisting people (especially pastors) in the war, it marginalizes Christianity. Christians cannot redeem the culture by fighting for it, but only by modeling the love and sacrificial lives Christ actually called for. It is thus an aspect of the Christian faith that is almost entirely “of the world.”
7. The culture war focuses heavily on our “rights” as Christians. This is perhaps one of its most toxic aspects, because according to Jesus Christians have no rights whatsoever except the right to die to self and follow Christ. By recruiting Christians into a war and requiring them to fight, the culture war leads Christians into today’s equivalent of the Crusades. Years from now, Christians will be as embarrassed by the culture war as we are of the Crusades and Inquisition. I hope.