Two things you are never supposed to talk about – religion and politics. In reality, we are preoccupied with both, and along with that, have increased anxiety and disagreements.
I’m not a “the sky is falling” type of person, but I think we need to be aware of the shifts in our culture and their potential affects on and in the church.
In today’s blog, I describe some critical issues, along with some open-ended questions to think about.
Socialism. All economic systems have shortcomings. However, there is increasing disillusionment with capitalism, juxtaposing a growing infatuation with socialism. Consider this: The top ten billionaires made $3.9 trillion during the pandemic, enough money to vaccinate everyone in the world. At the same time, an additional 200 to 500 million people fell below the poverty line. (Source: Insider).
Questions: What is the Christian response to the inequities in our present system? What can we do to help the poor? Which economic system do you think is more consistent with following Christ, capitalism or socialism? Why?
Censorship. Recently a group of liberal authors and professors wrote an open letter calling out the “cancel culture.” (Source: https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/) In their letter, they write, “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted… censorship is spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.”
Questions: Where do you see censorship in our culture? With various people and organizations being banned on social media, do you think your church could be restricted too? What about your accounts?
Tax Exemption. There are several arguments for revoking tax breaks for churches. “We need more taxes.” “Look at the abuses!” “It doesn’t seem fair.” Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, in supporting the LBGTQ community, predicted that, “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone, or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.”
Questions: What do you think of people’s concerns about the church’s tax exemptions? What would happen if your church lost its exemption status? What would be the impact? Could your local church survive? Do your personal tax deductions increase personal giving? Should it? Why or why not?
Public Education. The classroom continues to be more secular and more secluded. During the COVID lockdowns, one Tennessee school district was under fire for asking parents to sign a form agreeing not to listen to the teaching in their kids’ online classes. Many wonder what they are trying to hide and why the need to exclude adult supervision. As our culture moves farther into post-Christianity and further into progressivism, the absolutes of the Christian faith become more at odds with school cultures.
Questions: With our public education becoming more secular, what can the church do? How can the church support and encourage Christ-followers who are teachers, aides, and administrators in the public school? Should Christians be pulling their children out of public schools?
BEFORE YOU GO
What other issues would you add to my list? What are some of your answers to my questions? Love to hear your opinions.