Russell and Duenes

It’s time to be different

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Edward Hadas, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, writes in this month’s Touchstone about Jewish experiences of assimilation into our secular culture. From it, he draws two parallel lessons for Christians. It is interesting that my colleague and I were discussing these very issues for several hours on Friday. I’ll leave the myriad applications of his two lessons for you to ponder.

First, Christians must work hard to identify and resist the many seductive Baals of the age. The siren song of a reason that stands away from God may be as old as the serpent in Eden, but it seems to sound particularly alluring in a scientific era. Then there are various devious suggestions of ways to help – supposedly – Christianity thrive in a de-Churched world. For example, the suggestions that Christians emphasize their individual emotions and subjective understanding are not actually a validation of the divine image within but an excuse for rejecting the loving discipline of the Church. Similarly, a call to respect for other religious traditions often turns out to be a denial of the uniqueness of Christian revelation. Christians must also learn to resist the temptations of pseudo-religions. Just as Jews flocked to Marxism and Freudianism, Christians turn to nationalism (though not so much recently) or godless cults of happiness, comfort and experience…

The second lesson is that resisting Baal is hard work. Too many Jews assimilated in order to avoid the embarrassment of being different. Christians living in a non-Christian society must be willing to be different. Indeed, for the sake of the gospel, they should be willing to welcome the discomfort or even persecution that comes with differences in practice and belief. The Christian need to be counter-cultural is a simple matter of logic. If Christian culture did not conflict in fundamental ways with the culture of the age, then the age would not be non-Christian.

Though I may have mentioned it before, I cannot recommend subscribing to Touchstone magazine more highly. It is far and away the best Christian magazine I have ever encountered. Trust me, and subscribe. A year’s subscription is going right now for only $14.95. You can get it by clicking here, and on the subscription page, type SUMMER into the special code box.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

September 27, 2009 at 6:58 am

Posted in Duenes

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