Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Our part in the culture wars

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Esther 4:14 ESV

Long ago and what seems to be another lifetime, I worked in Organization Development and thought a lot about Corporate Culture.  What was most interesting about that time is seeing a change in the culture of the corporation where I worked within only a few years.

We knew that most change in corporations begins at the top of the bar charts and it was no different there.  I started working there not too long after the son took over his father's role as president of the company, which had begun as a hobby and became a multi-national corporation.  It was just on the verge of going international when I left.

I recall working late one evening and the president of the company, who knew me by name, remarked that he hoped I was going home soon.  He didn't want me to spend extra time in the evenings having to work.  Go forward just a couple of years and one of the new vice presidents stood by me as I was looking out at the parking lot watching people leave work at 5:00.  He looked over at me and said something on the order that they were slackers for leaving on time and those of us willing to work long hours were responsible for the success of the company.

What happened in that short time?  Because of the fast growth rate of the company, many East Coast vice presidents had been hired and even though we had the same president... their influence completely changed the culture of the company.  No longer was it a joy to work there as it had been previously.

I should add that the reason I worked late at times was that I was either wrapping up an important project or I was facilitating a second shift group in a problem solving meeting.  I didn't work late all that often.

This trip down memory lane came about when I was reading a statement made by a Christian leader this week (I'm sorry that I don't recall who it was, not one of the people usually on my radar).  He made news by saying that the decision to begin impeachment proceedings of our president was no less the first shot in a new civil war than "the shot heard around the world" in the battles of Lexington and Concord in the American Revolution.

Although I don't watch the national news very often, I get enough updates and alerts to be aware of what is going on in the world.  Living in the United States, I am most aware of the cultural situation here.  However, I find it quite interesting that Great Britain and Israel are also going through similar political situations.

Of course, the Bible talks about what this world will be like before the return of Christ in many places.  I was thinking of Romans 1 recently and it is like reading today's headlines.  No one can say the culture is what it was not that long ago!

I don't talk about politics very much here but I do want to speak about the culture in which we live.  If you are over fifty, it is a different world than you ever thought possible (Bible prophecy or not).  If you are over forty, you can still remember when the culture was not quite so crazy.  For young people less than twenty-five or so... they most likely think what the world is like today has always been this way.

How did the change happen?  It seems like overnight the world went crazy.  But I know it was slowly but surely occurring in my lifetime.  I have written before about a situation comedy that was cancelled in the 1970s because the audience was appalled the man and woman were living together without being married.  That wasn't all that long ago but think of how each season television, the movies, and various media pushed the envelope just a little bit more each year until now pretty much anything goes, even in Primetime TV.

The real question I have been pondering is this... what does God want me to do in light of the change in culture?  I have been on the front lines of the "culture war" before and I can say without a doubt that it is a calling and not something to do just because you have an interest.

If you ever doubt such a thing as spiritual warfare, get in the front lines of the culture war.  I worked with such organizations as Concerned Women for America, a political party, and other less well known organizations.  I put that behind me, while still keeping a keen interest in the culture wars, after my son was born when I was in my mid-30s.

You can be on the front lines of the culture wars having no interest in politics, though.  I think of my friend, Sally Clarkson, as she continues to write books and give talks about the importance of raising our children to love Christ and be a Christian influence.  She is eleven months older than me and I am always amazed at the amount of energy she still has... God given energy for the purpose she and Clay were called.

That also takes me to the lesson God is teaching me about affecting the culture at my age and within my realm of influence.  These days I feel that my main purpose is to encourage my blog friends that they are not alone... you are not alone... as the media in its' various forms tries to portray Christians in general and conservative Christians in particular as being either stupid or evil.

One of the main ways the enemy of our soul... who is called the father of lies... works is to make us think we are all alone.  Everyone else is doing or thinking or reading or watching or going along with, etc.  What is wrong with you?  With us?

What was once looked upon as quaint and outdated thinking by those who do not hold the same Biblical values is now called out as hate and racist and evil.  Of course, it isn't a new trademark of the enemy.  Think of Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

Here is what I want you to know... you are not alone.  There is a large remnant of true believers who stand with the Word of God and walk bravely through the times in which we live.  Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world risk their lives to stand for Christ.  Will there come a day when those of us in Western Society risk our lives?  I don't know but it would not surprise me.

Here is what I believe God has asked me to do as a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend... love people, pray for those on my prayer list, and hold fast to the Truth. I pray each and every day my family and I walk in discernment.  That we know God's Truth and recognize when that which looks like truth is actually deception.

I have good friends and family who do not believe as I do.  That's okay. I have a long time friend who has been kinder to my family than anyone I know who believes Bernie should be the next president.  I have a much cared for extended family member whose significant other is of the same sex.  I have family who love Jesus and those who... don't.   

God has us here where we live, in this particular moment of time, for a purpose.  It is not an accident you live where you do.  It was not just circumstances that caused you to have the same check out guy at Aldi each time, the one with the purple hair and nose ring.

It wasn't by chance you have to go to a particular specialist or have an office next to a person very different than you.  Do you think God was surprised when your illness brought you into contact with people who do not know His love?

What God has shown me and I know in my heart is this... yes, we may be near another civil war.  Only a third Great Awakening can possibly change the hearts of men and women who have turned so cold to His ways... and some of those are in the Church.

However, what you and I can do every day is to ask Him how we can be salt and light and love to those we come in contact with.  We are His ambassadors as we walk through this world.  We do not want to be too salty but you know... a pinch here and there is a good thing.  But never more salt than love unless God specifically has you ministering to a person who needs a salty dose of Truth.

None of us walk perfectly before Him and as the Word says, all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.  If you still have breath within you, then you have not turned too far away from God.   Perhaps you are the person who needs His compassion?  Maybe you need to forgive yourself?  He knows all about it.

There are people that God has called to be at the front line of the culture wars.  I admire their spunk and at times am amazed at their eloquence.  Having said that... I am now of an age when my part in the culture war is to show kindness to the kid with the purple hair and love those who think differently than I do (while praying for them, too) and yes... I do have the spiritual gift of cookies.  Ask my family.  Homemade cookies go a long way to bringing people together.

Don't despair, my friends.  You are all here "for such a time as this".  Ask God and He will give you wisdom, discernment, and compassion.


Vee said...

Interesting times in which we live. I pray that we have not been brought this far to be dropped on our heads. ☺️ And, of course, we know that this old world is going to keep right on keeping on once The Lord returns no matter how much the nut jobs scream. “Nut jobs” might not be the best term... 🙃 Feel free to lose this comment. LOL!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Yes, yes, yes!

I have a cousin who is, as you say, too salty. Her heart is right and she loves the Lord but her methods are in your face and can be harsh. Gentleness goes a long way.

I could go on and on but I mostly wanted to say that you are doing a great job in the task God has given you to do!

GrammaGrits said...

Thanks for a thought-filled and thoughtful post. So much has changed in my lifetime, and yet God chosen this time for us to be alive. Amazing and following the path of scripture. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Such true words today. I have never seen our country like it is now. It does just seem crazy.. like what is wrong with people! But I know God is in control and I want to keep with Him and "stand in the old ways..." Thanks for your words of wisdom today. Thank God for the gift He has given you with words. Blessings, Sharon D.

June's Jottings said...

Yet another interesting and thought provoking post - thank you Brenda.

Meg said...

Hi Brenda. I just read your post after having read about Linguistic Theft in Mama Bear Apologetics. Young families have an ongoing battle as our culture redefines words we all took for granted as to their meaning: love, truth, tolerance, Justice, equality, bigotry, authenticity. We really need to know the Word and keep teaching and speaking it to our kids and grandkids. As an older grand mom like you, I am looking to foster relationships with the younger moms in our church by using this book. Keep speaking the truth Brenda and keep encouraging those around you!

Donna G. said...

Well said! My prayer is also for a Great Awakening across this land.

Suzan said...

Thank you for your thought provoking post. As an Australian there is much I do not understand about the USA culture. I feel my beloved country is losing its identity as our leaders bow to those in power around the world.

Julia said...

Such a thoughtful article, Brenda. Thank you for writing what I would have liked to have said myself. May God continue to bless you mightily!

Anonymous said...

We are in a war, but we will win. Good always triumphs. Where we go one we go all!!!

Ian's Girl said...

I tend to get caught up in politics and get a little salty in my own thoughts, but one thing I always, ALWAYS try to do when I feel myself getting too angry is to remind my own self that our God loves those who hold political beliefs opposite of mine every bit as much as He loves me. They are His beloved children, cherished and adored in His eyes, and while I do not have to agree with them, I should strive to love them like the spiritual brothers and sisters they are to me. I try to never lose sight of their humanity.

It ain't easy at times, but I do try. I had to save a picture of President and Mrs Obama on my computer ( from their first State Dinner) where he is smiling down at her, just beaming with pride, to look at when I got so mad I thought I was gonna to explode. It is just the sweetest picture, and it reminded me that he was not some distant figure to be angry at, but a fellow human, a loving husband and father. I am ashamed that I had to go to such lengths to control my temper, but I did, and have gotten much better.

Sort of. I confess this impeachment nonsense has done its best to make me lose my temper, but so far, I just pray and ignore it as best I can!

Anonymous said...

oh, thank you so very much for this post. You will never know just how much I needed this encouragement on this day. Praise God!
I have been going through an incredibly stressful time at work surrounded by people that are of this world and think only of themselves regardless the effect it may have on others. It is difficult to live in a world of constant hate.
Thank you for reminding I am not alone in this fight for good vs evil.
You have helped renew my spirit.
I am close to giving up on my work situation but I will not until I know for sure that is the Will of God... until then I continue to pray and hold my ground.
Thank You!!!