Part 3: Understanding the Culture War

I was reading a short, yet fantastic book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the other night. This topic has been of interest to me for some years now, as I can always glean profound bridge building insights between opposing worldviews from, historically, the most notorious cultural, political and religious disconnect in history.

This book is filled with succinct and nuanced insights on the conflict, but also profound thoughts from Israelis and Palestinians on how they think the conflict can finally come to an end. One of those thoughts was the following:

We must think differently, look at things in a different way. Peace requires a world of new concepts, new definitions. -Yitzhak Rabin

Then, in one of the best books I have ever read, Chris Hedges argues that

Language is our first step toward salvation. We cannot fight what we cannot describe.

I couldn’t have stated either of those sentiments any better myself.

The moment we buy into the long-standing and unsuccessful cultural systems deemed acceptable by the dominant majority–that have gotten us to this current place–is the same moment we lose the right to create a new category, language and ultimately a new engagement that builds bridges and makes peace.

Only through a mass intentional opting out of the broken systems and options forced upon us can there ever be a possibility of a large enough shake-up to make a new medium of engagement stick. Faithfulness is always success–it’s just a matter of who believes in it enough to see it through. And right now, the only “mass seeing anything through” are those too scared to push back against the structure that makes them comfortable; not because it does any good, but rather because it’s all they’ve ever known.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Much love.

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Seth Piepgrass

    I know most will probably disagree with this but I think the free exchange of goods and ideas serves to make peace much more effectively than imposed sanctions and resolutions. There is a strength in mutual benefit, and a very basic benefit is that of the free exchange of goods and services. I may hate a guys guts, but if he has something that is valuable to me I have a vested interest in that relationship. I would submit that trade has made more peace than government sanctions ever will. Feel free to disagree but mutually beneficial and free exchanges of goods and services I believe opens more doors than ham-handed edicts and restrictions imposed on individuals by governments.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation Andrew Marin

      Seth – I couldn’t agree with you more. Sanctions do nothing other than make those giving the sanctions feel like they are accomplishing something. It’s a cop-out for actual hard diplomatic work.

      • Seth Piepgrass

        It also has the effect of disproportionately affecting the poor in those countries while giving the rulers a scapegoat for the peoples suffering… AKA North Korea.


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