Erickson: Politics and faith at a crossroads
A growing number of Christians in the United States are convinced the nation is in a spiritual crisis. Crime is on the rise. Singleness and isolation are on the rise. Mental health issues, suicide, depression and despair have set in. Secular society has rushed toward unbridled hedonism, pouring pornographic literature into elementary schools and sending drag queens to proselytize to kids. Cities are collapsing. It all is speeding up. The church seems in retreat and the pagans emboldened.
This past Tuesday, Apple unveiled its new iPhone and Apple Watch line up. In the middle of the prerecorded presentation, Apple’s CEO led a 10-minute skit about Apple’s commitment to the environment. Mother Nature, cold and cruel, showed up in the room demanding a report. Apple bragged about its carbon neutrality. The company has, without government fiat, fundamentally transformed its business practices to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
A lot of viewers thought it notable that Apple would spend 10 minutes on a scripted skit about Mother Nature and the company’s policies. They treated the matter reverently, religiously and solemnly, but with humor. This is a progressive, secular company that worships creation instead of creation’s Creator.
There is another angle to observe. This is a company whose leadership and employees are committed to worship and have aligned their company towards that worship. They did not try to seize government to demand everyone do what they have done. They just did it. They practice what they preach. They have not bullied everyone else. They have not used the state to enforce the change they sought. They did it with their own money in their own practice. They should be commended for that.
In the American church, as the United States moves beyond Christendom, a lot of online “theobros” squabble about Christian nationalism while ardent Catholic-oriented social conservatives write about the need to use the government to force cultural changes more compatible with faith. All of them and the rest of us could learn a thing or two from Apple. That company has mirrored, in their creation worship, the practices of the early church. They just did it. They sought to reflect their Eden to the rest of us. Apple seeks an actual garden paradise. Christians should seek, in their lives and businesses, communion with Christ.
Chick-fil-A did not need government fiat to close on Sundays. No Christian’s business does. Provide a good, family-friendly work environment with reasonable hours and good pay, putting employees ahead of profit motive, and draw people to your business. Spend time discipling your children, making sure they are grounded in their faith so that when they go into the world, they reflect the faith and do not waver from it.
Too many American Christians are used to having political power. As they lose it, they should reflect on the beatitudes. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (NIV). Perhaps Christians in and out of politics should stop wielding politics like the world. Perhaps Christians should abandon looking for political saviors to spare them from spiritual problems. Perhaps Christians should be less willing to compromise on who they support while living in fear of the other.
Too many Christians have been willing to compromise their values, their views of leadership, and their views of character. They claim they do not want a priest, just a president. They got that in 2016. Since then, they have gotten drag queen story hour, a massive number of states embracing abortion until birth through changes in state constitutions, and rampant transgender ideology. Maybe, if we are quiet, we could hear God whispering. We have the King of all Creation on our side. We do not need to compromise at the altar of politics. Instead, we need to reflect Christ.
Christians in the early church drew people to them not by wielding power, but by wearing a smile in the face of adversity. They loved their neighbors, earned their trust and turned a pagan empire into a Christian kingdom. The meek, very literally, inherited the Roman Empire. Perhaps, here in the United States, we have been doing it wrong and have time now to model our lives locally to get it right nationally.
To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.