of these changing times may be the joy of rediscovering our first love. After all, we need to be honest and say that the larger forces in our culture, government, academia, the arts, and media, are largely unsupportive and often hostile to the ideals of Christian life, or at least the ideals as they understand them. Many are troubled. Some are angry. Yet we can be made alive and whole in ways we can’t hardly imagine if we understand.
Is it possible that in these days we are being reminded again that we are a counter-culture and probably always will be if we truly understand who we are and how we relate to the world around us? As the cultural props we counted on fall away we find ourselves as the odd ones out, the worldly power we once thought we had is evaporating and the times are changing. Our comfort levels are being challenged. Things we thought were safe and secure are not longer as we believed. We, as observant Christians, may end up on the very fringes of society.
Yet we are not called on to be fearful, angry, or hateful to the world around us and those who live in it, even if hate is directed at us. God, the Scriptures says, so loved this world that He gave His only begotten Son…, and the world God loved was not some ideal world but the very broken and dirty one that we live in. We are pilgrims and strangers in this world, we should tread here lightly, and perhaps the fact that the larger societal structures are abandoning our understandings, if they ever really held them at all, is a good thing to remind us of where our true priorities, our true home, actually lie. Yet we are a counter-culture of love, that is we seek to change the world, and change ourselves, not for the sake of power or influence in and of themselves or for the creation of some utopian state, but rather that we would draw others to the love that is Christ.
Perhaps the rediscovery of that love is the key. Authentic Christian love is very different from the world’s definition of love with its emotional, permissive, context. Christian love flows from the character of God and is the will for the betterment of the other. For too long the observant Christians of this country have bought into the idea that the world we seek will be created by its values being part of the structures of power in our society. Such structures are always temporary, changing, and blowing in the winds of time. Love, however, endures and the change it brings in the one who loves and the object of that love are permanent. If we wish to change the world we must love it as God loves it and enter it for the same reasons He did.
On the surface of things it may seem these are troubled times. Yet perhaps God is using all of this to call us back to that first love, His love, and to rediscover that it is in that love, living in us and shared in the world, that we find our true selves, our true purpose, and our true life. Stripped of any illusion of worldly power it may be the only thing we have left and perhaps because of it God has us right where He wants us to be, where we should have been all along.