The term “cancel culture” was not part of our national consciousness only a few years ago. But very quickly free speech and open debate are being called into question. Biblical views of marriage, sex and abortion are being met with intolerance. We are living in a post-Christian culture. Jesus warned us: “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove” (Matt 10:18 mgs).
Concerned about the growing intolerance, 150 high-profile writers of liberal persuasion signed a letter, entitled, “A letter on Justice and Open Debate” published recently in Harper’s Magazine. The letter expressed a collective concern over a cancel culture. They warned of “an intolerance of opposing views” that was leading to “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism,” along with the “tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
The letter asks for the following to be honored: “The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.”
The reaction from the left was rather shift and nasty. As one observer put it, “the reaction to the letter denouncing cancel-culture demonstrated why a letter denouncing cancel-culture was necessary in the first place.” The signatories were called “totalitarians in the waiting.”
I bring up this letter to show conclusively how times have changed. It is now those who are opposed to a biblical worldview who are intolerant. In the past it was only the Christians who were accused of being closed minded.
I must confess that after following Jesus for over 60 years, I have mellowed. As a young Christian I was more of a fundamentalist in my outlook. I had my convictions, but out of my insecurity as a person of faith, I was closed to other opinions and perspectives. As a pastor in a fairly liberal denomination (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) I had to learn to think clearly and articulate a minority view point.
Early on in my ministry I lived with a lot of insincerity about my Christian worldview. With my personality, I knew in my heart what I believed, but I had difficulty giving verbal expression to my convictions. After many years of simply hard work, I was able to combine my head with my heart. I became a more integrated man, who know what he believed, because it fit with head and heart
Men, it is vital that we live as integrated men, with our head integrated with our heart. The truth will need to lived out, in thought and deed. But it is “hazard work.” Here is my advise from my journey.
First, stand firm on the truth of Scripture. It is our foundation. The bible give us an objective view of reality. Secondly, learn to integrate your head with your heart. For me it was getting my head in line with my heart. For you it might be the other way around. But get integrated. Thirdly, you will be shoot at and wounded. But you need to stay in the fight. Fourthly, listen carefully to others even when it hurts. Fourthly, when you speak aim at the wounded soul of the other.