CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Big Picture, the Long Term

Apr 18, 2016

There are various reasons why the secular left seems to win so many battles, while their opponents are not doing so well. Obviously in the West today the mainstream media is by and large well onside with the various secular left agendas. That is because most people in the MSM are secular lefties.

And that is not by accident. The secular left has long known that in order to capture a culture, you have to take over its institutions of power and influence. So the cultural Marxists have targeted the media, politics, education, the arts, and even the churches for quite some time now.

And they have been very successful in doing this. Whereas one hundred years ago most of these institutions in the West basically shared the Judeo-Christian worldview, today almost all of them basically share the secular humanist worldview.

And again, this did not just happen, but it was deliberately brought about. The activists knew that if they were to win, they would have to be in the struggle for the long haul, and they would have to focus on the big picture. They had to see the bigger issues, and they had to be willing to work at it for as long as was necessary.

big picture 4And because of that they have been scoring one victory after another. But when it comes to the culture wars and the bigger ideological wars, those representing conservative and Christian values have done far less well in this regard. They have not really looked at the bigger picture, and they have not focused on the longer term.

Too often they simply lurch from one crisis to another. They will react to the latest threat and mount a rear-guard action, but they have done so very little offensive work or preventative work. Thus each new attack they are forced to defend against, be it the so-called safe schools programs, the war against marriage, the porno plague, and so on.

And it is quite right that they respond to these attacks of course, and sometimes it is just the nature of the beast to be so often in defensive mode, with a relentless string of attacks coming from the other side. But they are launching their attacks from a position of strength: by and large they have already completed the long march through the institutions, and have captured the culture.

The very thing cultural Marxists like Antonio Gramsci agitated for and promoted has been wildly successful. By capturing the culture, they can now pretty easily win the various political fights. As Chuck Colson and others have rightly said, politics is downstream from culture.

So if we are not winning the broader battle for culture, and if we are not winning the bigger battle of ideas, then we will keep losing the political fights, be it over marriage or what have you. And this goes back to the fact that most conservatives and most Christians have not thought in terms of the bigger picture, nor have they been prepared to engage in the longer term.

And there are various reasons why this has been the case. Many Christians for example think politics and culture are the devil’s tools, and we should not be involved in either. Or they think we should just save souls and evangelise and not worry about transforming society. Or they think we are in the last days and it is a waste of time working for the long haul in the world around us.

Elsewhere I have argued why we should reject such faulty and unbiblical thinking. But here I am just offering a few brief reasons why we are always behind the eight ball, and always playing catch-up ball. The truth is, we do not know when exactly Christ will return, and Jesus told us to occupy till he comes. We should be working in every area of life, not surrendering everything God has made to the other side.

We keep losing by default because we are not even in the contest most times. We have relinquished our responsibility to be salt and light, and then complain as we see more and more secularisation, immorality, and anti-Christian agendas being implemented. Well duh, much of this is our fault. We are not even involved in these battles, yet we wonder why we keep losing.

Thus our schools, our media, our arts, our social and cultural institutions are all pretty much captured by the radicals. We handed it to them on a silver platter, and now we are trying to stem the tide. But to keep mixing metaphors, the horse has already bolted.

Sure, we still fight where and when we can. We still fight the lousy sexualisation of our children, the wholescale slaughter of the unborn, the destruction of marriage and family, etc. But if we want to get serious about all this, we really must look at the longer term and really think in terms of the bigger picture.

Of course we redouble our efforts to evangelise. Of course we redouble our effort to pray and engage in spiritual warfare. But we must also start thinking about the culture, and start getting proactive here. If the Lord should tarry, there is so much that can and should be done.

Seeking to engage the culture alone will not solve all our problems. Seeking to engage politics alone will not solve all our problems. Seeking to pray only while refusing to put feet to our prayers will not solve all our problems. We must do all these things.

We must pray more and we must work more. It is not one or the other but both. The other side has known how effective it is to do the hard work of capturing a culture, and we need to learn from them – or learn from our own past. The truth is, at one point Christians were also world changers and culture shapers.

But we have largely given all that away. And now we wonder why things are in such a mess. But if the other side can be so dedicated and committed in their attempts to remake the world into their own image, then how much more people who claim to be disciples of Christ?

We read about the early church that they turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). But today most believers can’t even turn off their TV. No wonder we are getting nowhere. The first answer to all this is get on our faces before God and repent of our apathy, our carelessness and our compromise.

Then we need to go back and study some church history. We have so many wonderful examples of world changers and history makers. We need more of these champions today, whether a Wilberforce or a Booth or a Kuyper, etc. They all thought in terms of the long haul and the big picture.

We can no longer go about life with a blasé, business-as-usual approach. We live in extraordinary times so we need extraordinary men and women to stand up and be counted. I love what one American culture warrior, Melissa Moschella, said a few years ago:

Perhaps there are times and places in the history of the world in which it is possible to go through life as just an ordinary, good person – a faithful spouse, a loving parent, a concerned citizen, a regular church-goer, an honest and industrious professional – leading a normal, quiet life, not making waves or standing out in any way. Perhaps. But the United States of America in the year 2014 is not one of those times and places. Rather, in our contemporary society, the only way to be good is to be heroic. Failing to act with heroism inevitably makes us complicit in grave evils.

Can I get an amen to that one?

A Time for Heroism

[1308 words]

17 Responses to The Big Picture, the Long Term

  • Yes you can, “Amen”.

    “those representing conservative and Christian values . . . have not really looked at the bigger picture, and they have not focused on the longer term”

    Perhaps one of the reasons was that they listened (and still listen) to the baloney about how bad things are for Western Christians and so Jesus has no other alternative other than to come back and rescue us, rather than reading the Bible, recognising what authority we have, and going out and doing as we’ve been told to do; disciple the nations.

  • I wanted to say Amen to every sentence. Another gem of truth told directly.

  • Next year in Jerusalem they always said. They never gave up and look what they have to show for it now.

  • In addition, I wonder if the whole concept of ‘separation of church and state’ that’s believed by many people nowadays is also another reason or excuse that Christians aren’t doing more at the public level.
    It has not escaped my notice that some of the strongest promoters of the ‘separation’ idea are militant secularists who would dearly love Christianity to vanish altogether or at least to have no influence in public life.

  • Thanks Mark. Yes quite so, and sadly many rather clueless Christians buy into all this foolishness as well. I have spoken to it often, eg:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/10/20/separation-of-church-and-state/

    And here, eg:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/02/11/more-fuzzy-thinking-on-church-and-state/

  • “Next year in Jerusalem” they always said. The Jews never ever gave up and look what they have to show for it now.

    Golda Meir once said of their enemy “When they love their children more than they hate ours we will all have peace.”

    Well the ignorant don’t love their children and they do hate ours. Just last night I was stunned to hear the thunderous applause on Q&A each time that it was mentioned to end private education, never mind the fact that Catholic schools cost about $700 a term for parents, Lutherans the same, something that not one of the panel said was paid for by some of the poorest parents in Australian suburbs – an act done because they love their children. The dumbed down audience simply thought they should not contribute further to their children’s education and that others should do it for them.

    ‘Not contribute further?’ and they want to impose that standard upon parents like myself? And they want me to install that standard into my children?

    There’s the place to start in the long game – bag out the people with low standards and who hate parenting proper – the leftist teacher’s union and the Labor party.

    ‘Save All Children From Gross Ignorance’ is the line we should use in that funding fight. And have the kids of the left question their parents’ beliefs for once!!!

    Well done as usual Bill. God Bless.

    As a footnote …..a year or so ago you said you didn’t know anything at all about who Ted Cruz was when you listed the presidential candidates….so I listed a speech he gave to students over the matter of Israel, his Christian beliefs, and a few other points as I’ve been following him since his days as the Texas AG…….I never gave up on Ted’s cause even though from his time as AG it looked insurmountable as no one outside of Texas knew him…….with you and others getting on board[albeit we both live in Aus]…..well….next year in Washington!!!
    The road ain’t as hard as the Jews had it – we can achieve the big picture over the long term – and with momentum, the long term will shorten to the medium term. Happy 10 years Bill – I’ve enjoyed the last 7 of them.

  • Do you think we can recover it with the same methods they have used? Sadly, human nature is against us there, for who but Christians would give up ways that take so little effort and the end of which nobody really cares to consider? I think you will find that even now just living these things Melissa suggested with integrity will call for a lot of courage because they will make you swim against the tide and cop the flack from those who go with it. Having been part of the hippy counter culture, I remember that part of the reason why we rebelled was that we couldn’t see much life in “the established way of doing things”. So, if we want to convince our young people and I mean mainly our own children not other people’s, that we have more to offer than their peers, we must inspire them with a vital and living relationship with the author of life, just another reason to keep our relationship with the Lord alive and vibrant. Another reason why I think things have become as bad as they are is that Christians in the sixties and seventies did not anticipate the end result of the trajectory of the changes happening then could be as bad as they have now shown themselves when “no fault divorce” was legislated and “living together” became culturally acceptable.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • A key role in advancing the Gay Liberation Front’s ideology, feminism and Islam is the position of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
    The first SS was Lord Chris Smith, queer and HIV sufferer. He was in office from 1997 to 2001, This was the period when the ground work was laid for homosexual hegemony to be established .
    Ben Bradshaw, homosexual, was the SS in 2009, who when addressing the launch of the LGBT history month in the British Museum said,
    “…we [the UK] have a reputation as one of the most creative and culturally interesting countries in the world”. Furthermore, “in a large part it’s thanks to the cultural communities in this country that 30 years after Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man in public office that I am seen as politician who happens to be gay – not a gay man who is a politician.”
    Ben expressed his joy at this position and went on to say … “there are still a lot of battles to be fought……We have come a long way…..and now have one of the best legal frameworks in the world for equalities…… We now have to work on hearts and minds. We can do this through culture..”
    Ben concluded by saying,
    “The cultural sector has traditionally swept the rest of society along in its wake on equality issues and LGBT History Month is a chance to put our foot down even harder.”
    The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport when same sex marriage was pushed through Parliament was the ubber feminist, Maria Miller (2012- 2014)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlkaCtVbYZs
    Sajid Javid, Muslim the SS (2014- 2015) also championed same sex marriage
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/10/21/sajid-javid-says-he-very-proud-of-same-sex-marriage-at-pinknews-awards/
    He also wants to sell off our Land Registry which will most likely be bought by Saudis or Quataris
    http://newsdaily.com/2016/04/uk-land-registry-privatization-plan-weakens-drive-on-corruption-experts/

    The present SS is John Whittingdale, who was married but got divorced. Whittingdale’s half-brother is Charles Napier, former treasurer of the defunct Paedophile Informatin Exchange, who was most recently convicted of child sexual abuse offences in November 2014.
    On 12 April 2016, British media reported Whittingdale had been involved in a relationship with a prostitute, a domitrix,who specialises in sado masochism and bondage, between August 2013 and February 2014.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/louise-ridley/john-whittingdale-dominatrix_b_9678912.html

    Yes, the plan of the Frankfurt School has achieved results beyond anything they could have imagined.

    David Skinner UK

  • Ursula, it was Roy Jenkins, Chancellor, Home Secretary and President of the (Soviet) European Union who launched the permissive society in Britain, in 1967. He was a bisexual adulterer who stamped liberalism on British politics that we see today.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3586178/Roy-Jenkins-made-Britain-a-far-less-civilised-country.html

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/broken-legacy-roy-jenkins

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/10687936/Anthony-Crosland-and-Roy-Jenkins-a-friendship-from-the-pages-of-Brideshead.html

    These things don’t just happen but are consciously planned in the broad light of day by the traitors in our midst.

    David Skinner UK

  • Mark Wong – yes, I saw that too! GRR!

  • Mark Wong, the Muslims don’t have the separation of church and state and rightly so. The idea of the separation of church and state is a nonsense and always has been. It is justified under some spurious polly anna notion of democracy. Does anyone really believe that the people govern the country?

  • Great post, great comments. The long march back through captured territory has begun. I for one are glad to be on the front line. Viva Jesus, with total submission to His Will, Spirit and Word in PRACTICE in our own lives, our families lives, in our communities and in our nations, that is where we are going. In all the smallest details as well as in the larger picture we need to be totally submitted to Jesus as King, no excuses, no idleness, just commitment. Come on folks let us get started taking back the ground. Think of Jehoshaphat, think of Gideon ! God has promised us the victory, what are we waiting for ? We know the Enemy now, so let us walk into the Promised Land ! Amen ?

  • Mark and Brendan, re the separation of church and state: What is, I believe, little understood is that church and state have different functions, but they are very closely connected because they are both governed and directed by God. That is why there is a place for the church to speak into the affairs of the state when it comes to the rightness of laws and of course likewise the church is not separate from the state when it comes to criminal activity among church members etc.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • @Ursula
    I understand what you are saying.
    On the other hand, from what I’ve seen, the most vehement supporters of ‘separation of church and state’ nowadays are militant secularists and atheistic types who like to say church/Christianity/religion must not be allowed to have any influence on public life. So the meaning has evidently changed to become something very hostile and antagonistic.

  • This seems like a good time to share a few simple truths – truths that are intensely despised and actively opposed by even most professing conservative Christians living in the ‘Civilised West’.

    Here they are:

    God’s Word is law. Right here and right now. It is the unbreakable, binding, life-defining reality under which all of His creation and property – including what we now call the ‘Civilised West’ – is held together.

    Wherever any document – including any Constitution, Statute or Treaty – deviates from the Word of God, that document is in error. Wherever and whenever any so-called “law” of man purports to allow that which God has forbidden or inhibits any behavior that God has commanded, that perversion of law is no real law at all and it is to be rejected.

    Christians are commanded and equipped by the one true God to stand for Christ’s complete authority over all things right here and now, including law, politics, economics, education, and everything else. Read your Bible, Christian…and obey your King’s commands with joy.

    Nations and Empires come go. The length of time they are allowed to persist on God’s earth is entirely contingent upon His grace and their submission to His Son as her King in practice.

    Let us live and legislate accordingly.

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