Summer Trivia and the Soul of Our Culture

Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer Trivia and the Soul of Our Culture


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Last night, Mars came closer to Earth than at any time in the last eleven years while the Golden State Warriors completed an historic comeback to defeat Oklahoma City and ascend to the NBA Finals. With this propitious news, summer has begun.

 

Between now and Labor Day, Americans will consume 818 hot dogs per second. On July 4 we will eat enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington, DC to Los Angeles more than five times. Meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower has begun growing six inches—summer heat causes iron in the tower to expand.

 

Now that you're updated on summer trivia, let's consider some more serious items in today's news.

 

This summer, legal battles over transgender school bathrooms, lockers, and showers will escalate. Both sides want to win this culture war before school begins in the fall. Meanwhile, California's physician-assisted dying law takes effect on June 9. This is expected to be a major step forward for the national euthanasia movement.

 

These are just two examples of a trend that effects every American, today and for generations to come. 

 

One of the best essays I have read recently is Trevin Wax's "Why the culture wars rage on." He cites Justice Anthony Kennedy's 1992 proclamation, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of life." According to Wax, "the culture wars are, in large part, a continual battle over the truth or falsehood of Kennedy's statement when applied to moral issues."

 

He quotes Tim Keller's observation, "No longer do we think we have the power merely to discover moral truth and reality—we think we have the power to actually create it." In a world where truth is whatever we say it is, obviously there can be no objective standard of right and wrong. And anyone who claims there is must be branded as intolerant and shunned.

 

Nicholas Kristof, a self-described liberal and longtime New York Times columnist, recently lamented the liberal exclusion of conservative thought on American college campuses. He argues that "we liberals should have the self-confidence to believe that our values can triumph in a fair contest in the marketplace of ideas." However, when Kristof wrote an earlier column on the same theme, "almost every liberal agreed that I was dead wrong." As one reader explained, "You don't diversify with idiots."

 

How should Bible-believing Christians respond?

 

Paul notified the Corinthians that he would "stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries" (1 Corinthians 16:9). Notice the "and"—the apostle did not wish to stay in Ephesus despite his adversaries, but because of them. He saw their opposition to the gospel as an opportunity for dialogue and the triumph of truth.

 

This promises to be a summer unlike any our culture has seen. But God's word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). When we think, speak, and act biblically, God's Spirit uses us to advance God's Kingdom in ways we may not understand this side of eternity.

 

So claim this promise: "The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). What does God see in your heart today?

 

 

Publication date: May 31, 2016

 

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