A few days past I wrote the following:
It will have to wait until tomorrow, but Chapter 42 is so contemporary and timely that it is as if Tozer were living amongst us, watching us, even condemning our "cancel culture" itself, and yet he passed the way of all mortal flesh almost 58 years ago...
Just a brief quote to make my point:
"It can only be a cause for deep regret that the fear of offending has silenced the voices of so many men of discernment and put Bible Christianity at the mercy of the undiscerning..."
Well, a day turned into two and two to three...but here goes nonetheless...
We are full steam ahead into a cultural reality that denies self guilt and instead applies that guilt to anyone with whom one might disagree. We accuse others (even the dead who aren't able to defend themselves) of the guilt we feel they possess under a differing set of social circumstances without regard for the evil we ourselves may be guilty of. Case in point...
There was a movement to "cancel" Dr. Suess due to what was perceived as a prejudice in some of his writings. Without regard for the fact that the books themselves were something of a tongue in cheek lesson pushing the standards toward less prejudice, the thought was to condemn outright. Further conversation tempered the situation. But it is these knee jerk reactions, stemming from our own ignorance, prejudice, hatred and self righteousness that drive the cancel culture movement.
The thought that we are above the prejudices of our predecessors ignores the reality that social mores, cultural perceptions, personal opinions change over time. And the culture tends to want to always decide for itself what is acceptable and what is not. To say somethings are just always wrong is to appeal to an eternal morality, a standard to which all people should or even must adhere.
And even as this is done there is a rejection of absolutes in our post modern culture. We do what is right in our own eyes. Each of us must decide what "our truth" is...unless it denies someone else's truth. This is a paradigm that cannot stand. We can't have it both ways.
We cannot insist that our individual standards of equality, tolerance, and justice are absolute and yet deny absolutes.
My sense is that so many people are jumping on the cancel culture for one reason (and I'll l be kind here) - ignorance. (I was tempted to use the word stupidity, since we should know better.) We are ignorant of the borkenness of our individuality or how each of us are inconsistent in our own ways, or how we can be so good at some things and failures at other things.
Many of our predecessors were wonderful planners, military geniuses, business giants, compassionate care givers, and yet had their demons. JUST. LIKE. US.
In our arrogance and ignorance, we want to be the ones to stand up for other peoples "rights", perjoratively assuming they want us to stand up for their "rights." An injustice toward one is an injustice toward all. We might do far better to spend our time examining just how we, as individuals, might be more just, more compassionate, more egalitarian and focus our attention on resolving our personal character disparities.
There is, when all is said and done, one standard, by which we all will eventually be judged and it goes something like this:
- inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these "my brethren" you have done it unto me; (whether you approve of them or not)
- by their fruits you shall know them (our actions belie our true character)
- you shall love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself (how do we show love)
Neither George Washington ((with his ties to slavery), nor Martin Luther King Jr. (with his pension toward adultery), nor the Dali Lama (with his aristocratic lifestyle impoverishing the masses), is beyond rebuke or reproach. There is but One and He, Jesus Christ.
If but each of the discontented, self-appointed judges who tear down statues, establish independent states, hurl scurrilously spurious accusations, attempting to cancel a reality they are too ignorant to process in a healthy way, would but sit quietly before the Lord and simply ask, "what must I do to be saved?" we would see the light of a new day dawning, when speaking the truth in love would prevail, and hatred would turn away.
It equally amazes me that more non-Christians will quote the "judge not" passage than any other, while at the same time judging the Christian at which that is hurled. That passage culminates in addressing the one who is judging the other:
So too, it is sad to note that so many self-proclaimed Christians sit quietly by the sidelines, fearful of speaking a peaceable truth for fear of being cancelled, as if the cause of Christ could be cancelled. Stand up and speak the truth in love, and be prepared to be rejected by the world.
Still other self-proclaimed Christians shout their anger and vitriol in the name of Christ trying to force a Christian standard on a reprobate culture...Stand up but speak the truth in love.
So where does all of this lead me? Amidst all of this I find myself declaring, with Paul:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
I pray that I might become more like Him - fearless, candid, just, and gracious, yet NEVER compromising the truth for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Period.