Times being what they always are: times are hard.
Christians are not discouraged for the simple reason that we have lived in hard times for two thousand years. We look in our own hearts and see a culture war: we are always choosing moderation over excess and God’s will over our own. Or not.
Romans killed us and then nearly killed us by converting. Barbarians killed us and then introduced their heresies. The American Christian majority has been the shame and envy of Christendom at the same time.
Our generation of Christians is awash in new tools, like the age that faced God’s gift of the printing press. The Net has given us access to . . . all the information . . .and that has changed us. It hasn’t changed the truth, it hasn’t changed what is beautiful, and it hasn’t changed what is good, but it has washed over the walls built to protect us from the false, the ugly, and evil.
We must learn new virtues to keep from letting this information destroy us.
American Christians could choose a short-term focus, but then we would fail our children and grandchildren. Oxford and Cambridge could lose every Christian tomorrow and still the Gospel would be proclaimed in stone and glass so beautiful Richard Dawkins would never destroy them.
We are always losing, as a group, to somebody, but it is somebody new in each generation. Just as Christians looked to lose the future to communism in my generation so sexual ethics is being challenged in this one.
Christians need not be afraid, because we have seen it all before, heard all the arguments, but we must not be complacent. Merely asserting our position will not work, we need open dialog, trust in the truth, and love.
So what do should we do?
I don’t know, of course, but there are few old and tried methods that the Church can use in his hard time.
We must have confidence and build lasting institutions as if we are going to win. The Church needs an intellectual harbor where it can pool her intellectual resources. There Christians of all persuasions can join to fight the shadows of this age with the light of Christ. We have built tiny Christian colleges with one or two good people: we need a Christian university, a real one, with all the good people we can find.
If you will defend traditional values, we need you.
Simultaneously, we should listen to our critics and learn from them. Our position of confidence must not make us arrogant. There is no soul created in God’s image from whom we cannot learn. While drawing together as a community, we must invite in our critics and go out to meet them not to “win,” but to learn.
We will win by learning.
Finally, this community must create beauty and original works of scholarship. We cannot repeat old arguments, however good, but find new ones. We need new art, new theater, new video . . . and new scientific research and paradigms
Can it be done? It can be done. Will anyone do it? God help us, we will try. Will anybody join us?