Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Commentariat Speaks (23)

In a post last week entitled “A Contradiction in the Church”, the Antemodernist observed that when the Christian community at large is clear and succinct in its condemnation, it is always against a sin that is convenient to hate. As he puts it, “Christians deal with the easy and convenient things, and so leave the important and difficult things growing like cancer.”

Publicly condemning masculine sins — foreign invasions, lust, violence — is the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel, he suggests. Nobody minds and everybody cheers. But feminine sins — things like cross dressing or the homosexual mimicry of family life — have become virtually untouchable subjects.

I’ll grant him all that and go a step further.

When, as is increasingly the case, the consensus evangelical social media take on any current issue is right in lockstep with that of the Canadian Liberal Party, Kamala Harris, Mark Zuckerberg, CNN, the CBC, the ladies on The View, the Human Resources department of any major company, The New York Times, or even — heaven help us — the editorials in Christianity Today, we are better off not to express it at all.

That is not because lining up with the prevailing narrative guarantees a Christian is on the wrong side of any particular issue. It may or it may not. What it does guarantee is that our expression of opinion is redundant. We are offering nothing different from what the mainstream is already saying. When that is the case, we are wise to simply shut up. Piling on where the majority of our unsaved neighbors say exactly the same thing adds no value for the kingdom of heaven, and may end up coming back to haunt us later if it turns out that in our rush to judgment we were grossly misinformed. Being ‘right’ along with absolutely everybody else can’t help our witness for Christ, but being wrong could do some damage to it.

If Justin Trudeau is correct that the Canadian trucker convoys represented a fringe minority of white supremacists with unacceptable views, it adds nothing to the public discourse for a bunch of Christians to agree with him. If NATO is really the good guy and Russia the evil aggressor, that will either come out or it won’t. Evangelicals singing “Putin bad!” in three-part harmony with the entire North American media choir contributes nothing useful to the discussion. If the mainstream media is already well on its way to helping issue in a new secular utopia, shouting our approval of a subset of their goals (which we tend to misunderstand in any case) won’t get them to it any faster.

Anything truly substantive and productive a Christian has to say to the world is invariably going to be counter-cultural, and will inevitably make people mad. It has to be at least potentially offensive if it’s going to be any spiritual use to them. If we are not the alternative, we are nothing at all.

Doubt me? Go ahead, count the number of time in the gospels we find Jesus expressing solidarity with prevailing public sentiment.

I’m waiting ...

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