David French warns of tribalism in the wake of Dallas. He sounds some themes I thought about this morning, but espouses them with more force than I might choose to. However, I find his concluding paragraph extraordinary:
Here’s the bottom line — it is possible to seek justice without slander and to demonstrate humility without weakness. Unless we rediscover that truth, we’ll keep hurtling toward the abyss. The chaos of 1968 – or worse – beckons, but we can choose a different path. It’s time to pump the brakes.
Justice without slander…humility without weakness…those phrases ring so, so true. That we must rediscover those truths marks the place where the nation has taken such a wrong turn.
I was talking to another person “of age” today that can also remember the race riots and demonstrations that preceded 1968 as well as the chaos of that year itself. That individual pointed out that the difference between now and then is that now seems so hopeless. I agree. My friend wanted to pin the blame for that hopelessness on the two less-than-ideal candidates that confront us, but I don’t think so. Things seem hopeless because we have lost touch with those truths.
I recall a piece Victor David Hansen wrote back in 2015, “Multicultural Suicide.” In that piece, VDH says:
Multiculturalism is contrary to human nature.
It is certainly contrary to human nature as God intended it, but it is a potent force to let loose our sinful nature. And hence the sense of hopelessness. We are in a society unhinged from its religious roots and in that unhinging we have lost touch with our hope. It is not like everybody in 1968 was a good, church-going Christian, but they largely valued what Christianity had to offer. Those truths about justice and humility are Judeo-Christian truths and even the 1968 atheist held those truths, even while denying their religious origins. But after decades of denial of their origin we have lost the truths as well. And David is right, without those truths we have lost hope.
I do not blame solely the forces of atheism or secularization for this dilemma. We Evangelicals have over these same decades transformed Christianity from a culture shaping institution into an eternal life version of a self-help group. We did so while disdaining what we perceived as the false religiosity of our parents generation; never realizing that personal salvation absent that overt religiosity was just a clanging gong to what we thought was our parents crashing cymbal.
But Jesus Christ and the religion he spawned remain our only hope. We must start by confessing our lack of faith and leaning even harder on Jesus. But that is not enough. We need to reexamine our disdain for our parents “smells and bells.” We need to rethink our rejection of “institutional faith.” We have to get deadly serious about doing more than just saving every soul on the planet; we have to urge the souls we win to save the culture, the country and the world. We need to remember that Jesus transformed the culture, the empire and the world not by strength of argument nor by rule of law, but by love and sacrifice. For only in that can we reclaim the truths about justice and humility. And only with Jesus can we find again our hope.