The Subtle Sovereign (5)

A few months ago, I started a series examining the subversive nature of culture. I was part of a small group that was reading through Ideas Have Consequences, and I wanted to draw some parallels between Richard Weaver’s observations about modernism and postmodernism, and the Christians experience in the kosmos, the present age.

The more I read, the more I realize that the subversion of Christianity, especially in America, must be realized before the church can corporately proclaim Christ. Beyond that, it must be fought. Christianity in America cannot be merely a subculture; it must be counter-cultural. There is a war raging, one of the heart and mind first, of hands and feet second. Where will professing Christians set their affections?

John Piper writes in Don’t Waste Your Life:

… the “war” that I have in mind when I speak of a “wartime mind-set” or a “wartime lifestyle” is not being fought along geographical lines. It is being fought first along the line between good and evil in every human heart, especially the hearts of Christians where Christ has staked his claim, and where he means to be totally triumphant. The “war” is being fought along the line between sin and righteousness in every family. It is being fought along the line between truth and falsehood in every school . . . between justice and injustice in every legislature. . . between integrity and corruption in every office . . . between love and hate in every ethnic group . . . between pride and humility in every sport . . . between the beautiful and the ugly in every art . . . between right doctrine and wrong doctrine in every church . . . and between sloth and diligence between coffee breaks. It is not a waste to fight the battle for truth and faith and love on any of these fronts.

The war is not primarily spatial or physical—though its successes and failures have physical effects. Therefore, the secular vocations of Christians are a war zone. There are spiritual adversaries to be defeated (that is, evil spirits and sins, not people); and there is beautiful moral high ground to be gained for the glory of God. You don’t waste you life by where you work, but how and why. [emphasis his]

This is most vividly portrayed in my life first thing in the morning. For years, I’ve read and prayed by light of laptop, using various programs and Notepad to type out thoughts and prayers concerning Scripture and its interaction with my life. This has always gone better without the allure of the internet: when there hasn’t been a WiFi connection, I study and pray and think and feel and love without distraction or subversion. But add a WiFi connection, and there is Facebook and Twitter and a thousand other distractions to defeat the purposes of God for me in the mornings. Is is overt? No, it’s covert. Subtle. Slow poison instead of swift sword.

I wonder what it would be like to be like Jonathan Edwards. Pastoring without aid of the internet, without the distractions of technology and the modern world. Books. Family. Bible. Congregation. I long for that, for the time that I would get back if my life were stripped to bare essentials.

I’ve not yet learned how to use technology well for the glory of God. Sure, I use it to give Him glory, but as often as not it’s a tool for the kosmos to declare its worth above the One Who is due all glory.

Let us fight on this front, too.


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