It’s interesting being alive at this point in time, where major forces are at work that are shaking up Western society as we know it.
I see two main disruptive forces at work right now. There are probably more that I am unaware of, but these are the two obvious ones that I can see as of this moment. These are both controversial, of course, because they are ‘disruptors’. We’re supposed to disagree on them, because these are two forces that are messing up the comfortable status quo.
On the one hand, we have the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and its relentless thrust into the heart of Europe and America through the vehicle of infiltrators, cleverly hidden among innocent or moderate-leaning refugees. I don’t want to point the finger at the Islamic religion as a whole, though, because Islam as a disruptive force is a valuable study that deserves more attention than I am able to give it right now, and I don’t want to single out a large group of people and say, “They are the problem!” This line of thought never works.
On the other, we have a potential incoming shift in political thought and practice represented by Donald Trump, the much-loved and much-hated businessman. I suspect that Trump represents a potential correction from far-left progressive thought and left-leaning American conservative thought, towards the right (not ‘right’ as in ‘correct’ or ‘the religious right’, but right-leaning political thought). This is certainly an important battle, but I don’t think that this battle will be won strictly at the ballot box. I see Trump not so much as a person, but as a phenomenon, a disruptor, and the outcome of this election will be interesting to see.
Where do Christians come in in the middle of this? I believe that history shows that the Church grows most in times of strife and conflict. When life has become stable on the outside, people look to the Church for leadership and guidance. It’s time we got our house in order, that we strive for clarity of thought and purpose, so we can provide answers to the questions people are asking: what is Christ’s answer to family structure? To government structure? To human sexuality? While many Christians await the ‘Rapture’ to be checked out of the difficulties of this world, I believe that there are others who believe in ‘Christ in me, the hope of glory,’ God’s unlimited power working through those who believe. I believe there are believers who don’t want to ‘check out’, but to ‘check in’, and become disruptive forces of their own.
There are answers in Christ, but it will require changes in thinking that will be painful at times. We’ve been given false dichotomies such as Republican vs. Democrat, Calvinism vs. Arminianism, Left vs. Right, religion vs. secularism, that old-line Christians latched onto and preached ruthlessly, without much actual thought into a middle ground, or whether they were on the correct battleground in the first place. Humans are always trying to find a Good versus Evil, trying to pin things down in a simple dichotomy, when instead I think we are looking for something along these lines:
…where various forces are trying to drag society towards an optimal condition in one of the four quadrants. Keeping in mind New Testament scripture, I could almost say that an ideal moral-stable condition (top right) represents the Kingdom of God that Jesus talks about, and the opposing force, which we can call ‘the satan’, represents an immoral-unstable condition (bottom left). These need to be clarified and the thoughts behind them better-developed, but I thought I’d mention this bit of nonsense right now, because it strikes me as something that could be important later on.
As a Christian, I subscribe to the Anglican concept of the via media, the middle way between extremes. These days, though, I believe that Christians are starting to look at Scripture through the lens of the Holy Spirit and finding that we’re arguing over the wrong things entirely. I suspect that in the days to come we’ll find our viewpoints ruthlessly challenged and refined, so that we as Christians can be a force for positive change, actual change, not restrained and confined by secular forces, but empowered and directed by spiritual ones.