Friday, July 09, 2004

European Christians, Debate and Manners

Again, my good friend and pal the Jollyblogger is discussing Christian strategy for influence in the Western culture in his posting What We've Lost. I agree with almost everything in his posting. Two exceptions I would take.

1.) I'm not sure the European common man can not be won. Having lived in Europe, it is a strange mixed bag. Europe is not necessarily its academic institutions. Europeans as a whole have a better liberal arts tradition. Their is an amazing amount of good, Bible beleiving Christians there. The institutions are as you say, lacking in a Christian worldveiw. (Oh by the way, Sweden has an offical state church. We may disdain it, pun intended, but there is a tie between church and state.) But back on topic, it will take a supernatural work of God, but Europe is not a lost cause. With God all things are possible. Having said all that, Os is right about the state of the Western civilization as a whole; the common man in America is the last bastion of Christian influence in the West.

2.) Protesting is not necessarily bad. I guess by protesting one means someone is being obnoxious, that's a sin. I think I have committed that sin a couple of times. If it merely means speaking against something publically, is blogging a form of protesting when it includes that element? Of course, formal debate is something that can be cordial or obnoxious too. Just because someone is polite does not mean that they are neccessarily nice. (Of course, again, I think of myself again.) Making all Christians stop protesting, or protesting against protestors will really not make them nice people either. There is a character issue at stake.

In our tribalistic society, it is easy to turn on our fellow Christian. It is easy to distance ourselves from our brothers in Christ, because we are not a part of them. We are the other kind. It is easy to put them in a category of Christian that does not merit a hearing. Of course, they may be impolite but right. The same principles should apply to obnoxious Christians as apply to the nice ones. Assume, for the most part, they have a point. Assume at the begining that they are not contradicting themselves. Understand their message from their point of view. Attack the issue not the person. In other words, teach them how to debate in a cordial manner by example.
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