One of the things you may have noticed about the new site— if you have been following me a while— is the content has been less politics- and culture-related over the last two weeks. Part of that was intentional. In migrating all the content, I got to add great features like tag pages and nested tags and similar posts.
These features gave me great insight into what my focus points have been and let me chart out where I want my focus points to be. For one, I want to write about what I do more. Web development, woodworking, etc. And I’ve done more of that in the last two weeks than I have in the last 8 years of this site. Another is music. I play a lot of music. Instruments and songs. Looking back at the Christmas songs over the years that have impacted me and why is great.
Ultimately, I am trying to share more evenly across many categories. I am writing a lot and saving drafts to publish later. I am coming to a sort of strategy. And culture and politics are part of that. The intersection of culture, politics, and faith is of particular interest to me and that leads us to Culture Saturdays.
Douglas Wilson, who you’ll find on my Blogroll, has been one of my favorite preachers over the last decade. Specifically, I love his willingness to address the cultural zeitgeists in a way that a shepherd should: wolves looking to kill his sheep need to be shot. That oft means uncomfortable conversations, especially in an age when tolerance is hammered with words that end in -phobia.
In an article last week, Douglas addressed a fictional— though plucked from the headlines real— young gal named Candace, who— after burning bridges to much of her family and friends in transitioning to living as a boy— has come full circle and is transitioning back after an encounter with Jesus. And there is so much good in this article, you need to go read it.
One of the temptations that comes to those who are seriously repenting is that they overshoot. In recognizing that their sin went far beyond the boundaries of God’s law, they assume falsely that their sin also went far beyond the reach of God’s grace.
The is so much importance on a proper understanding of grace. Heard someone ask the other day why “good things happen to bad people,” and I responded that if good things only happened to good people, good things would never happen. The grace of God to extend a hand is not conditional on the quality of the individual needing a hand, as then no one could qualify. While your sin has cast you very far from God, well…
[…] God’s grace does not live snugly in a little heavenly bungalow—God’s grace is a ranger, lives out in the badlands, and rounds up outlaws. God’s grace is a bounty hunter.
He’s coming for you.
But then, after He has apprehended the fugitive and brings him in, He surprises everyone by calling for the best robe, a fine ring, good shoes, and he orders that the fatted calf be killed. Then he tells the head servant to go hire a swing band. So your sin, however great it was, is no match for the kindness of God. This is something you need to fix in your mind now, and you need to make a point of hanging on to it. In Christ, God saves sinners.
Someone said the other day to me that what we see in the Bible is not Man trying to get right with God, but God trying to get right with Man. The reason we don’t see Man trying to get right with God— if you exclude all the many cases of exactly that in the Bible— is because we are totally depraved and consumed with sin. We cannot make a good decision if our lives depend on it, because our lives do in fact depend on it, and yet… Yeah. God is not, then, in fact trying to get right with us, but to get us right with Him. He is pursuing, He is wooing, He is trying to bring us home.
So the good news is that Jesus Christ died for sinners, and you qualify.
One of many reasons that I love Wilson. I listened to this article first as I was driving to work this week. I nearly spit my coffee all over the windshield with this quip. You qualify.
But we have to look straight at the nature of this good news, because there are two different kinds of good news, and we must not confuse them. […] But the second kind of good news does have prerequisites—and that is that there needs to be an antecedent understanding of the bad news. […] You receive news that the governor signed a pardon meaning that you will not be executed in the morning—but you need to have understood that you were going to be executed. Otherwise the good news makes no sense. Certain kinds of good news make no sense at all apart from the related bad news.
The threat of Hell is real. Wilson’s analogy of receiving a pardon but understanding that you were going to be executed is important. There is punishment for sin. A just God cannot allow there not to be. But, in mercy, He gives us a gift of Salvation and we must confess it, take up our cross, and follow Him. We get it for free in the sense that it cost us nothing— as there is no way we could pay the cost— but also it costs us everything. Surrender and follow. This can cost us jobs, family, friends, and so much more, but if we do not, the ramifications are eternally worse.
Many of our sins are socially complex. […] In your case, your sins were a player, but the whole thing was a group effort. There was the media propaganda. There was the social contagion of the other girls at your college doing this […] In other words, there was no shortage of sin, and plenty of sin to go around. You need to acknowledge the sins of all these other people as a theological truth, but then as a practical matter you must focus on your own sin, confessing that sin as though you were the only one at fault.
This is the addressing of the uncomfortable. Our culture is pressuring young people— children— to make life-altering decisions before they are capable of understanding the life-altering nature of those decisions. Folks that detransition are often faced with their new reality that their voices are changed forever, their reproductive systems— if they didn’t have them removed— will never function properly again, and worse. We are talking about the chemical castration of children at the altar of a societal god.
But. We are individually responsible for our choices, our actions, and without euphemism: our sins. We cannot just blame our sins on others. Others very well may have pushed us there, but we are responsible. And remember, in that responsibility and repentance we acknowledge the wages of our sin (Romans 6:23) while also receiving the grace and forgiveness that only Christ can provide.