As the year of 2017 comes to a close I am relinking some of the posts that matter most to me from the previous year. Yesterday I linked all of my posts about marriage. Today, I’m rounding up all of the posts that might be broadly categorized as having to do with civil society. What I mean by this term is the fundamental set of beliefs that enable us as Americans to forge a cohesive society in the midst of real differences. Several posts this year touched on various threats to this cohesion – the effort to undermine religious liberty, the growing emphasis on identity politics, the stain of racism – just to name a few. I’m not very optimistic about the future of civil society in America, but I am very hopeful about the opportunity this growing darkness presents Christians to show the world what God’s society – the church – really looks like.
A Message to Exiles – building off of Jeremiah’s instructions to the exiles of Judah in Jeremiah 29, I offer some applications for Christians living as “strangers and exiles” in the world.
The Intolerant Future of Post-Christian America – reflections on a Peter Beinart article in The Atlantic showing that the growing secularism of those on the Left and the Right does not bode well for the values on which civil society depends.
You Don’t Have to Agree With Your Neighbor to Love Him – in a civil society we can disagree with one another profoundly yet care for one another deeply.
Bernie Sanders Jumps the Shark – the troubling effort of Senator Sanders to impose a religious test on a public official.
“The Dogma Lives Loudly Within You” – Senator Diane Feinstein’s similar effort to impose a religious test on a judicial nominee.
Assimilate or Pay the Price – a brief defense of religious liberty. Sadly, there seem to be very few old-fashioned liberals (“I disagree with you but I’ll defend your rights”) left in our culture.
The Catastrophe of Identity Politics – this is my effort to explain why identity politics is an acid that destroys everything it touches. The bottom line is this: our commonly shared humanity allows us to understand those who are of a different race, ethnicity, or social status.
The Inevitable Self-Destruction of Identity Politics – focus on external identities inevitably leads to internal rivalries.
The Greatest Campaign Speech Ever – a look at Robert Kennedy’s famous speech the night of MLK’s murder, and what it teaches us about the ability to empathize across racial barriers.
Reflections on the Events of the Weekend – the Nazi/alt right movement’s protests in Charlottesville reveal that identity politics is not limited to the Left.