Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We Can't Expect Fairness

Saint Francis of Assisi with the Sultan al-Kamil
In my last post, I pointed to Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski's article, "We're All Traditionalists Now," and in the last week I've read two articles that fit nicely with it: "LGBT: An Open-Minded Movement?," and "Two Cheers for Double Standards." They give very little hope for a reasonable resolution to the divide we see in our country over issues of morality. This does not discourage me, but it does cause me to rethink what needs to be done.

I am convinced that we Christians must be very careful how we address the issues of the so-called culture wars. As Christians, we have a prophetic responsibility to speak the truth of the Gospel. We must do our best to show the difference between the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death. If people are going to choose a path of self-destruction, it should not be because they didn't know any better.

As citizens, we have a duty to play our role in the political process, whether that is voting, supporting a candidate, or even running for office. The political world is messy, and I'm tempted to avoid it, but I force myself to stay informed and vote my conscience, even though the alternatives are often limited.

However, our utmost responsibility as Christians is to pray, draw close to God, and live a holy life. As Peter Kreeft says, "if you want to change the world, be a saint." Engaging the culture in the context of Christian discipleship implies that our interactions with our opponents should be filled with love. One aspect of Christian love is that it "bears all things," including being misunderstood and unappreciated. The reality is that those who oppose us will likely not understand us, and will treat us unfairly. We can't let this bother us, and we certainly cannot respond in kind.

Finally, we should not worry about winning or losing. We have the sure hope that Christ will be victorious in the end, but we don't know when that will be. There is no guarantee from God that our culture will not significantly decline or maybe even disappear before that happens. I think putting our hope in the ultimate end rather than insisting on an immediate win helps counter the temptation to compromise our message or our methods. We must be faithful in our responsibilities, and let God take care of the results. Our example is Jesus Christ, "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2). He knew that the mistreatment he suffered would result in the salvation of the world.

In conclusion, we must do what we can in Christian love, and if things turn around, we will have God to thank for it. If things do not turn around, we can also be assured that anything we might suffer in the process of defending the truth will be used by God for the ultimate salvation of the world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Traditional Liberalism

This article is pretty amazing, and I will be thinking about the implications of it for a while. If I understand it correctly, it is pessimistic about any attempt to translate a traditional Catholic position into secular language in an attempt to make a convincing case for anyone entrenched in the "liberal tradition." Rather, we should just boldly live out our Christian lives in the fullness of the Catholic tradition, confronting the insanity of our secular culture with an alternative full of the truth, goodness, and beauty of God. It made me think of this passage from Isaiah 2:2-4 that I've been studying:
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.