Once again the elite secular culture snapped its fingers and offered the Christians a biscuit.
Once again the Christians rolled over like obedient little puppies and played dead.
Well if not quite dead, then not alive, not vibrant, not worth turning the television over for, never mind throwing away everything and signing up your life to.
How so? Well the ABC last night ran its Christian special on that most secular and elite of progressive organs, its flagship QandA program. You know the program, the one in which polarising opinions are brought together in a televised cage fight with pretensions to be a game of chess.
Tony Jones, the usual host was missing, replaced by journalist Julia Baird, sister of the avowedly evangelical Christian NSW Premier, Mike Baird. Perhaps Tony was not up for being with so many Christians in the one room. It might be too much like church or something. However I digress.
The verdict? Well I have only read parts of the transcript, (read it or watch the show here) and seen responses to it, as I can’t stomach watching QandA any longer, but the initial verdict was that at least it wasn’t a train wreck, we can be grateful we were allowed on, we gave a good showing, etc, etc.
But once again we did what philosopher Charles Taylor said Christians in the public square always do (erroneously), and that is to allow the secular framework to set the rules of the game that we are to play with them.
And from my vantage point we were more than happy to walk away happy that they were happy. That we had played the game, lost it again, and given the secular framework another reason to say “See how magnanimous we are?”
The over-riding problem was the lack of King Jesus at the centre of the debate. The reason of course being that Jesus’ kingship is not admitted in a secular setting.
Hence the primary issues discussed were the usual, yawnful suspects; conservative and progressive political standpoints that the ABC elite culture is so in thrall to. Maybe that’s the rules of the game. But hey, rules are made to be broken, right? The ABC has made a career out of pushing that particular idea.
So given a cast iron guarantee that you could get onto the QandA Christian Special in which there would be ample opportunity to showcase Jesus as the King who rules his people in a categorically different way to the political argy-bargy of the culture, once again those who did came up short.
I mean, how long do we keep our powder dry? Is the aim of being a Jesus follower to get a pat on the head for ticking the secular culture’s agenda, or getting sent to the dog house for not?
Now I totally get it when those who are more progressive than Jesus, and inhabit mainline churches go on there and get cheered. You know the type, those who are sure Jesus will catch up with the fact that he never actually rose from the dead, and that whoever we want to have sex with is up to us, given age and consent restraints. Such types have made a living, a dwindling living I admit, but a living nonetheless, in the me-tooism the secular framework rewards.
But if you get the chance to go on QandA and get asked this pre-delivered, pre-packaged question by Ms Baird:
Is this down to God’s grace or human endeavour, I think was the question ultimately?
THAT’s where you nail it. And no one did. No one did. It was donut theology. Five Christians given the opportunity to chorus in unison “YES IT’S ALL ABOUT GRACE!!” and each of them decided on a solo performance.
Okay, maybe that’s because the secular rules of engagement are so restrictive that they were blindsided by the question, but each person had a very articulate non-grace answer to that question. Each person said something nice, something nice to round out the 63rd Hunger Games or whatever rules of engagement the Capital has deviced that keeps us sedated and permit Donald Sutherland another day as President.
And since grace is the only thing that will actually compel someone to leave this world’s baubles, trinkets and approval behind, in order to follow a King whose love was such that he died to save us not simply from our bad deeds, but from the pride associated with the good deeds each of the panellists listed, then there was a gaping hole at the centre of everyone’s answer.
Everyone got to slink off with a biscuit, leaving the average punter none the wiser as to the fact that it’s actually ALL about the grace of God revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, without which we will never see, live or experience true life.
And that, in this simply raises more questions than it answers.