How to Respond to the Culture Wars

At my Latin mass this morning, we didn’t have our usual priest, but rather the one who likes to talk about politics and the culture wars.
 
The text he preached on was the one in which Jesus says that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, whereas those who humble themselves will be exalted. The priest went on to criticize Catholics in an office of teaching who publicly supported the ordination of women. They’d been removed from their positions, and the priest applied to them the text: these teachers exalted themselves in thinking that they knew better than their priests and 2,000 years of church tradition led by the Holy Spirit, and so they were humbled.
 
The priest realized that his position is controversial in today’s society, and so he turned his attention to how Christians should respond to the culture wars. He said that apologetics don’t really work in this day and age, but that kindness and mercy can. He lamented that, in the eyes of the local newspaper, the Catholic bishops lack moral authority because of how they handled the sexual abuse of children in the church. The priest affirmed that the Catholic clergy needs to repent. Yet, he also offered a note of optimism: he said that, when he first came to our Latin mass, only a few elderly people attended. But now there are a lot of young people interested in traditional Catholicism.

On a related note, Polycarp has a good post today, Leaving the Gay Life Behind. He links to a Christianity Today article that discusses two Christian rock musicians. One came out of the closet after years of struggling with homosexuality, and he affirmed his intention to live the gay lifestyle because that’s how God made him and he’s tired of self-hatred. The other endured sexual abuse and Christian hypocrisy as a child and turned to the gay lifestyle, but God later gave him an attraction to the woman who became his wife. Although he continues to struggle with homosexual impulses, he’s decided not to live the gay lifestyle. Polycarp’s point in posting this was that condemnation of homosexuals will get us nowhere, since there may be a story behind why they have their inclination.

Personally, I’ve not gotten into the culture wars lately. There have been seasons in my blog when I have, but as of late, I’ve been blogging through my academic readings and weekly quiet times, seeking spiritual lessons in all of them. My religion right now is more or less that there’s a loving higher power and that I should try to treat my neighbor with kindness, understanding, and (when necessary) compassion. I’m not really interested in women not being ordained, or in homosexuals having to give up their life partners. I’d feel uncomfortable having to come up with a stance on these issues, for it would probably alienate both the Left and the Right!

But, hopefully, I can show kindness to everyone, and Christians can let homosexuals know that they’re there for them if they ever want help. And, by “help,” I don’t necessarily mean helping homosexuals cease their behavior, though, if homosexuals ever desire advice on how to handle their desires, maybe there are resources Christians can offer that have worked for some. Rather, I’m talking about lending an understanding ear, just showing kindness.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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