One year ago today, I launched andrewsmyth.net with a post in which I attempted the impossible–to bring a rational, nuanced, and balanced perspective to a very emotionally and politically charged issue. It turns out that over the last year there’s been many more opportunities to do that. Nuance and critical thinking are rapidly becoming lost arts in our 140-character culture. I don’t claim to be any expert in discourse, but I’m doing my best. In the last 365 days, I’ve touched a lot of topics, from racism to video games to war to refugees to millennial church attendance to abortion to gun violence to history and the people in it who wrote things I think should be read.
And I’ve written far more than I ever planned to about politics. That’s not surprising, given the utter insanity of 2016 and the continuing fallout. Of course, my ultimate end here is not any kind of political punditry. I write about political issues only insofar as they have implications for a consistent biblical Christian worldview. Many Christians now assume that biblical morality essentially follows party lines. I wish it were that simple, but it never has been, and it is definitely not now. The left has its sins–abortion and gay marriage–but the right has its own as well, such as rampant materialism and neglect for the needy. The Bible says just as much (if not more) about the last two as it does the first (and it says a lot about the first). I want to be consistent in my application of God’s truth to the world, and I want my fellow believers to do so as well.
Never has this desire for consistency been tested like it is now in the age of Trump. Over and over again I have seen Christians throw in the towel on consistency in this arena. I’ve seen dozens of Facebook posts and tweets about how, when Trump has done something that is obviously sinful, it’s OK because Obama or Hillary or some other Democrat did/does it too. When Christians go that route, that doesn’t justify anyone or anything, it simply shows the world that we care more about politics than about God’s word. Christians already preach a gospel that the world sees as foolishness (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-31), we don’t need to be making things more difficult by engaging in actual foolishness.
People haven’t always liked to hear what I’ve had to say on these issues. I’ve taken heat from both the left and the right. The following diagram is my humorous attempt to explain this phenomenon:
Moral of the story: I guess if the left and the right are both mad at me, I’m doing a decent job of being balanced.
While most of my work in the early months of this blog was political in nature, after the election, I had the opportunity to move onto some other areas.
By far, the most read and shared article on this blog has been my series “Over Being Over Church,” a response to Sam Eaton’s viral article “12 Reasons Millennials are OVER Church.” I challenged the presupposition that the reason millennials are leaving churches or never going in the first place is due to systematic deficiencies in how the church operates. It is, after all, the Bible, not our preferences, that determine what the church should be doing, and plenty of churches out there are operating in a biblically-faithful mode. I’m glad this series has helped people confront these issues. I’m considering revising and expanding these articles into something publication-ready. Most resources available on the issue of millennials in the church have the same problems as Eaton in that they assume the problem lies with the church, not the people who are leaving. I think the other side needs to be heard–the side that recognizes God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s propensity to reject it for lesser things, and appeals to millennials to weed out the idol of preferences and submit to Christ’s lordship. None of us are going to be talking about politics or social justice or how church programs help us make friends or music styles 100,000 years from now. Everyone, including every millennial, will either be in the presence of God worshiping him, or gnashing their teeth in defiance in judgment. This is the message that needs to be heard by millennials (and the churches that try to cater to them).
Outside of blogging, it’s pretty crazy to look at the last year and how things have progressed. In that time, I got married, became a Presbyterian, and enrolled in seminary. Life has moved quickly, but I’m thankful for God’s providence in all of these things.
I want to thank my readers for their support, encouragement, and (in some cases) constructive criticism. This has been an interesting adventure, and I look forward to continuing it with you all. ♦