To crucify the culture war

By Alan Bean

Conflict is the heart of drama.  The 20th century could be defined as the century of dramatized conflict.  From suffragettes to union organizers to the religious right, dramatized conflict has been considered the path to power.

For a while, it worked, sometimes to tremendous effect.  But when everyone is dramatizing conflict for political ends you get gridlock.  You get trench warfare.  You get the culture war.

So now comes Jonathan Merritt, the son of a Southern Baptist megachurch pastor, with an audacious statement: “Crucifying the culture war model could be the only hope for resurrecting American Christianity in a new century.”

I have been coming to much the same conclusion.  Actually, I haven’t come to this conclusion; circumstances have driven me to it.

If you are part of a persecuted minority, adversarial drama can work.  But if we are dealing with one large power bloc wrestling with another power bloc of equal size and strength, the tactic falls flat.  Careers may be sustained, and money may roll in, but transformative change doesn’t happen.

Bob Allen’s article originally appeared in The Associated Baptist Press

 Author says young Christians tired of culture war

May 7, 2012

By Bob Allen

Three decades of culture war have failed to make America a more moral nation, and younger evangelicals today want to engage the public square in less partisan ways, says the author of a new book on faith and politics.

Jonathan Merritt

Author Jonathan Merritt wrote a USA Today op-ed piece that ran the day before the official May 7 release of his new book, A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars.

The son of former Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt, who serves on the staff of his father’s Atlanta-area mega church, said coming-of-age Millennials are forging a different path from Christians on both the right and left who have used the Bible as a political tool and reduced Christianity “to little more than a voting bloc.”

Merritt’s previous book, Green Like God, explored the generation of rising evangelicals’ move from concern about just abortion and gay marriage to a broader array of social issues such as creation care.

You can find the rest of the article here . . .