Weaning ourselves off mother's milk

Faith & Inspiration
by Andrée Seu Peterson

Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015, at 1:13 pm

At Saturday morning coffee with the girls I realized why our country is not going to defeat ISIS. There is something about much of American Christianity’s present form (not the Bible but Christianity) that is not forceful enough to take it on.

After the topic of weather is exhausted, someone in the klatch timidly brought up current events. Timidly, I say, because the woman was reticent to take a position, not knowing the positions of the others at the table. She mentioned the Islamic troubles, but noncommittally. For if she was to hazard that ISIS is evil, she knew that another person there would hasten to soften her sister’s remark, in order to bring it in line with acceptable theology: “Well, we were all evil once.” (Here, a collective nod.) Another voice chimed in: “We are still evil; totally depraved.”

In this manner, any flat-out statement that ISIS is evil would be effectively neutralized on the spot—a non-starter to any kind of productive discussion of how to deal with the menace of terrorism: “ISIS is evil, sure, but we Christians are evil, too.” (Here, a collective sigh of relief at the avoidance of an unpleasant disagreement.) And so, like the Gershwin tune says, “Let’s call the whole thing off.”

Two of these women are schoolteachers. So with the ISIS topic stillborn, I asked about the new Common Core curriculum and how that’s working out for them. Their faces became knitted with concern, and for a few minutes both disgorged their grievances about the rewriting of history books and the dubious wisdom of removing cursive writing.

But then, predictably (you can set your watch by it), someone piped up to save the day, and with obligatory Christian fastidiousness reminded us that the Common Core creators’ “hearts were in the right place.” To point out at this juncture the shadowy origins of Common Core or its Trojan horse data collection component would create a level of discomfort that would curdle the cream in everyone’s coffee. We have all been weaned on the mother’s milk of “if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

The Bible is made of sterner stuff: We are to “abhor” and “hate” what is evil (Romans 12:9; Psalm 97:10); to “resist” (James 4:7), reject (Titus 3:10), exercise “discernment” (Philippians 1:9), correct (2 Timothy 2:25), and “judge” earthly matters (1 Corinthians 6:2–6); “destroy arguments” and take “captive” wrong thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5); and “destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

The Lord would rather deal with briers than with limp spaghetti.

“… Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would march against them, I would burn them up together” (Isaiah 27:4, ESV).

“… you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!” (Revelation 3:15, ESV)

It is time to call a spade a spade, and not to be so dainty.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.

Read more from this writer