Friday, May 13, 2016

Christian Values and Normal America

From Russell Moore's book Onward:
I thought about my unbelieving college friend a while back, as I was having another conversation with an atheist, this time a lesbian progressive activist in a major urban cultural center. She wanted to talk to me because evangelical Christianity piqued her interest, as a sociological phenomenon. She was most interested in our sexual ethic, and peppered me with questions about why we thought certain things were sinful. We had a respectful, civil conversation, though she couldn’t help but laugh out loud several times when I articulated viewpoints quite commonplace not only in historic Christianity but in Judaism and, for that matter, Islam. She said I was the first person she’d ever actually talked to who believed that sexual expression ought only to take place within marriage, and that I was the only person she’d ever met in real life who thought that marriage could only happen with the union of a man to a woman. She said that if she ever met anyone who had seen someone for more than three or four weeks, without having sex, she would not first assume that this person had some sort of religious conviction, but rather that this person must bear the psychological scars of some sort of traumatic abuse. She followed this up by saying, “So do you see how strange what you’re saying sounds to us, to those of us out here in normal America?”

Before I could answer, I was distracted by those two words: “normal America.” How things had turned around. Most of the people in the pews of my church back home would consider themselves to be normal America.” They would view this woman—with her sexual openness and her dismissal of monogamy—as part of some freakish cultural elite, out of touch with “traditional values.” But I suspect she’s right. More and more, she represents the moral majority in this country, committed to “family values” of personal autonomy and sexual freedom. She is normal, now.

She snapped me out of my daydreaming by asking again, “Seriously, do you know how strange this sounds to me?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I do. It sounds strange to me too. But what you should know is, we believe even stranger things than that. We believe a previously dead man is going to show up in the sky, on a horse.” (10)
"Onward Christian strangers."
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