It’s Not About Winning the Culture War

I find that there are many Christians, both conservative and liberal, who fall into the same trap. They put much of their effort into winning the culture war. What is the culture war? Here is one definition:

Culture war is the cultural conflict between social groups and the struggle for dominance of their values, beliefs, and practices. It commonly refers to the hot button topics on which there is general societal disagreement and polarization in societal values is seen. The term is commonly used to describe contemporary politics in the US, with issues such as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, multiculturalism, and other cultural conflicts based on values, morality, and lifestyle being described as the major political cleavage. (From ECPS)

I understand the draw of taking a side in the culture war. During much of my 20s and into my 30s, I identified as a conservative Christian. By conservative, I do not mean just that I held to a high Christology or held to the reliability of the Bible or the need for evangelism. I mean that I bought into the conservative worldview.

What has changed for me is not that I have switched to becoming a liberal Christian who accepts the liberal worldview.

Rather, I refuse to adopt a block of values under the label of liberal or conservative. If you asked me my position on a number of political and social issues, you would find a mix of beliefs that could be labeled either conservative or liberal.

Both conservatives and liberals might push back and say that a belief system, theological or political, cannot be buffet style. You can not pick a little of this and a little of that. You pick one side and you defend that side by attacking the other side.

I reject that assertion. For me, what is important is not whether something falls under the label of conservative or liberal. All I care about is whether it is true, it is moral, and it is Christian. By Christian, I mean that it is compatible with the teachings of Jesus.

This frustrates some people who want a simple war where one side is clearly right and the other side is completely wrong.

My experience is that life is much more messy than what people would like. I also find that my understanding of certain issues evolves over time. I don’t think truth changes but my understanding of the truth does change.

Some Christian will throw all of their energy into fighting the culture war. I refuse to join them.

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