The Cultural Curtain 

You would think that with all the efforts being made to break down barriers, by way of tolerance and acceptance, our world should look better by now. Is progress happening? Are people being won over? Rehabbed? Or does there exist an immovable cultural curtain, too fortified to fall?

The wall that exists between people is remarkably weak. Each brick is an idea, a dream, or an occasional (and sometimes) misplaced fact. Think of this cultural curtain as a wall made out of Jenga pieces. There is a delicate relationship between this dividing wall and the persons seeking to remove certain blocks. Go slow, have a steady hand, and let your opponent make the fatal move–watch as they destroy themselves.

The gaps in the wall are telling. They prove that progress is happening. When Christian church bodies begin to deny what is considered outdated doctrines the outcome seems more and more predictable. It’s almost like these denominations have become so accustomed to the growing gaps, and are resolved to amend themselves, happy to remove their offensive heritage. And, when those few Christian church bodies push back strong is it any surprise that their tower crumbles? People leave, fed up with grandpa’s church of yesteryear.

Ever fragile are the relationships between the progressive, modernized theology of today and the holdouts stuck in the bunker with their conservative conspiracy they call doctrine. Don’t they know that dogma divides?

The face of cultural truisms and upgraded theology don’t differ much. They are one side of the same coin, their goals are similar too. Survive.

The underdog that seems to always be the comeback kid is orthodoxy. How can it be? He loses every match but wins every time. Senseless madness! Should we be surprised that the world keeps predicting the end of Christianity as we know it and always ends up looking the fool?

I’m not at all surprised. The illustration isn’t a poor one, our relationships with each other are weak. In an instant our loyalties can change, our friends easily become foes, and family ties are broken. Heterodoxy is like that. Its faithfulness is unto itself and so easily implodes. The strength of innovation is an attractive freshness. But the fresh soon becomes stale and lost to its own time. Eras go by with their fashion, only to resurge in a flame and again flameout once more. Refashioning, remaking, and losing another identity. That’s the problem with the in-and-now, it is not timeless.

The timeless, undaunted, Christian Church continues on. We are wrapped up in the game. We move the blocks, hoping for a place of advantage or victory right now. But do we realize the tower of fragile relationships and the marketplace of ideas, dreams, and truth isn’t as scary as we run around thinking?

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.–1 Corinthians 1:18

In the chasm stands the cross, and the Christ who has not yet forgotten or abandoned his creation. Are we old fogeys of dogma and orthodoxy called to stand? Yes, indeed, we do not sit idly by hoping for better days–we are content to suffer. Christ did. We do not waver in our witness of the truth, we take our blows, as the people of God have always done. We advance with the timeless cornerstone and mortar of mercy and grace, Christ. While many, even ourselves, attempt to dismantle the towering lies and cultural divisions among us there is nothing as divisive and fulfilling as Jesus. Nothing that can destroy and be erected again as Jesus Christ.

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.–John 2:19-22

The cultural curtains will remain, but so will the impossible task to maim and kill Christianity. Jesus already has died, and is risen! The world will come and go with vanity, dressing itself for the moment and lasting just as long. The momentary pleasures and victories enjoyed by the heterodox now will not last in eternity. So go, be bold yet loving your neighbor in Christ. His Word lasts and his Name endures forever.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.–Proverbs 18:10-11

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