Tensions Are Healthy
When I first came to the Presbyterian Church in America, I found the debating and the sluggish government tiring. And then I remembered that our national civil government was modeled after my church government, and one of its values was that nothing changed quickly, and changes were always debated. And those two qualities tended toward stability. All the debating was usually the product of a multi-party (and mainly two-party system), with each one representing diverse perspectives.
That same multi-perspective was once the functionality of good journalism, and anything less was known as “yellow journalism.” Unfortunately, the latter half of the 20th century saw this change as the major journalistic organizations tended to form a coalition of the leftist perspective. Unfortunately, most of the Supreme Court was cursed similarly during that same period, with judges appointed according to political alignment rather than a commitment to the historical view of the Constitution.
Sleeping Church and Sleeping Americans
John Benton draws upon the amusing story of Rip van Winkle to depict the condition of the contemporary Evangelical church. He writes, “Many Christians today are having a similar experience. They may not have been physically asleep for 20 years, but they have maybe been cocooned in a little Christian bubble of Sunday church, Christian conferences, Christian books, and Christian music. They’ve been insulated against and disconnected from secular society. Now they’re waking to the fact that the world has changed, and things can’t go on as they have before.”
The Need for Right-Wing Journalism
Three recent publications, though unfortunately, will be read by relative a few, and the majority will be those who agree with them, illustrating that we must have a Right Wing to push against the dominant and cohesive Left Wing. Whether in government or journalism, having tension is essential. Both sides are prone to pride and need each other to maintain a civil balance that keeps both from crushing the other.
Jerry Bowyer writes about Congress taking a stand in favor of fiduciary responsibility by pension managers. He sounds the alarm that politicalized capital will be devastating. It is also immoral since, for all intents and purposes, it uses the finances of the pensioner to push a political agenda.
The gigantic shift of the feminists from downplaying the distinctions between men and women to demanding their recognition, argues C.R. Wiley, displays the incongruities of the feminist movement.
Tyler O’Neil demonstrates that the Southern Poverty Law Center has revealed who they really are by joining the campaign against the bipartisan religious freedom summit.
Philosophical Tainting of Contemporary Culture: Roots and Shoots
Since my college days, I have been arguing and teaching that the first step away from Reformation thinking was the Enlightenment thinking of the 18th century in the person of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). Rousseau promoted that people are intrinsically good until the forces of society corrupt them. Hence, an individual’s real identity is rooted in their inner psychological autobiography. Carl Trueman documents this rather nicely Rousseau wrote in his Confessions that all I need to do “is to look inside myself.”
Being an English minor at Bob Jones, we read the British romantics. I argued with my professors that the only way to understand these writers’ intended meaning was to look at their lives and their philosophies. They argued that the only way to appreciate them was by answering, “What does their writing says or mean to me?” Cultural context said their major concern was self-love and other components of the developing elements of interpreting the rest of the world from a personal perspective, ala Freud and the modern psychologies he spawned, giving rise to modern individualism wrapped up in equity—unified thinking. The average reader, including the professors, may have heard something different because of how they interpreted them through their grid, but the culture heard the inception of “Me-sim.”
The Me-ism at the Journalism and Government Level
When the government and the press join forces with a common unity of thought and that unity of thought suppresses anyone or group that does not conform, we are moving towards totalitarianism consistently marginalizes the decenters. Our second president observed that our republic could not be preserved without a religious population. Historically, religion meant Christianity. However, he was not arguing for totalitarianism but rather a framework with common boundaries. In those early days of this nation there were the trials of opposition that slowly worked out in an ongoing fashion the issues that were and that arose.
A cumbersome form of government where change was slow and refining, produced a stable nation even with a Civil War. Journalism independent of the government and empowered with free speech, without and within, empower the average citizen with the capacity to consider the various perspectives objectively.
What Do We, the Citizens Do?
First, we meditate. on the Scriptures regularly. and we pray for godly wisdom and discernment to interact with our culture wisely and firmly. As Paul indicates, armor up and having done all to stand, stand!
Second, we listen to and explore journalism sources beyond the establishment since the establishment tends to be just that, the established and sanctioned view.
Third, we vet those running for office in government at every level. We begin with primaries, where we can eliminate folks like Mss. Cheney and ensure they do not get elected.
Fourth, we vote at every opportunity in church and society.
Fifth, we write, speak, and teach everywhere the occasion arises. And we run for office both in church and society.
Finally, remember, tensions are healthy. Why? Because we are all sinners (saved by grace at best), hence, are prone to pride. We need each other to remind us that we all have a proneness to totalitarianism in the form of “I am right, and you are wrong!”