Many Christians are coming to grips with the fact that they are raising their kids in a world that is fundamentally different than the one in which they grew up. They grew up in a small community where the church at the center of town was full on Sunday. The public school maintained a general sense of order. The basketball games were not filled with twerking in the stands. They could walk home from practice in safety where they would sit down to a meal prepared by a hard working mother and converse about their day.
The flat truth is: That world is gone. And you likely know it. You may be holding on to some nostalgia. You may be able to find a couple good teachers at the school and one other family in your community who is aiming at the same recovery you are. But in the vast majority of cases, that world simply does not exist.
Many truths contributed to that world that you enjoyed. And those truths have been eroding for some time. And now the building is in free fall. My encouragement is for you to look that free fall honestly in the face. And notice the crumbled pillars of truth below. Face up to the fact that the general structure of your community might be the same (it is the same high school, there is football game on Friday nights, and the grocery store in town still sells the same candy you had growing up). But the heart has been removed. You’re looking at a corpse.
It is very hard for a man to face up to these facts. Let me rephrase. It is very hard for a good man to face up to these facts. A good man wants to fight. He wants to build. He wants to recover what has been lost. He wants his kids to be able to ride their bikes home from school with their friends like he used to when he was young. But that is not the life many are living.
Along these lines, conservative minded people want to conserve. They are not quick on the trigger to make a big change. And that is a commendable quality. But there comes a moment of honesty where you must look at what it is you are conserving. And many out there are only conserving a memory. They’re taking the memory of their own childhood that was full of life, Christian community and morality and imposing it upon their present situation. But they are kidding themselves. Their children are not living they way they did growing up. Their children may be attending the same building, but they are not attending the same school. Their children are walking the same sidewalk, but they are not breathing the same air.
Here is the point stated plainly: Now is the time to do whatever it is you must do to find a place to build and fight. We are in a moment where the battle lines are being drawn. You can tell by all of the yard signs. You can tell because the stores that used to just sell you a rack of ribs now sell you those ribs with an ideology. Flags are being raised. And folks across the nation are on the move.
The overturning of Roe is only going to exacerbate these lines of division with the abortion issue being turned over to the states. So here are a few points about finding a good place to build and fight. And, I should add here, that this very well may be where you are. But you have to look this one in the face honestly because it very well may not be where you are.
First, you need a Christian community. I commend a “do it yourself” attitude. But if this attitude is not informed by Scripture, you just start to sound like Kelly Clarkson singing Miss Independent. All of that sass ends up just being about you and your family suffers the consequences.
Perhaps it is not a prideful thing at all. I could just be that you need to take an assessment of how it is going. You may be in it for all the right reasons. You may be pumped for the work of cultural reformation. But are the people around you? I once had a business friend tell me a joke about Bob and Joe going golfing. The trouble was that Joe dropped dead on the tee box of the third hole. When Bob got home, his wife asked him how golf went. Bob said, “Things were going great. But, then, out nowhere, Bob dropped dead on the third hole. After that it was hit the ball . . . drag Joe, hit the ball . . . drag Joe.” Some of you are laboring for cultural reformation, but for a variety of reasons others are not with you. And if it is going to be, “Hit the ball . . . drag Joe,” then you must determine whether that’s the game you should play.
Second, you need a place that has the right bricks and mortar. Bricks and mortar implies that there will be building going on. It is far easier to demo than it is to build. Both are called for. We are to “tear down strongholds” while placing living stone upon living stone as we are built together as a dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2). And that living stones reference is quite pertinent. The culture we are looking to create is the culture of the kingdom of God. It is the smell of the house of God. And the house of God is made up of living stones, they’re called saints. Any community that refuses to fellowship with other living stones will by necessity be a community that struggles to build. How can you build when you won’t use the stones that God has provided? How can you see the church built up when you won’t fellowship with members of the church?
If the stones are the saints, then the mortar is the covenant. The covenant is a bond. It holds the stones together as the house of God on earth. And if this covenant is not loved, taught, and cherished, then it will be very difficult to keep the stones together.
The culture we are building is bound up in education. There will be no building without education in the truth. And this means that if a place if to be a worthy spot from which to fight, then it must be committed to a distinctly Christian education. Anything short of a distinctly Christian education simply cannot produce
Third, you need courage. Godly action in this world is the fruit of courage and faith. God told Abraham to go to place that he would show him. And Hebrews tells us what he did, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). I’m not calling for some mystic college guy to go backpacking in Europe for an indefinite amount of time. I’m calling for the fathers and mothers. Those who know what God has called them to do. And they know, at the same time, that they are not really doing it. They could do more for their children, and their grandchildren. They could make a change that would bless their generations, a thousand of them. But they’re worried about the risk. They fell that they can’t move until they know the end of the story. To you I say, “God is the one who knows the end from the beginning. You are children of Abraham. Get up and get going.” And time is of the essence.
Imagine being on a battle field, and God reached down and shook the ground with an earthquake. Soldiers from each army are scattered and jumbled. Weapons are strung about. And the landscape has changed. New hills have emerged. New valleys lay before you. You get to your feet and start looking around, and the question is, “Where can I raise a family? What hill must I head toward? What community of Christ’s soldiers can I link arms with to fight? These are important questions. And the battle is on.