Being Positive in A Negative Culture


I've been thinking a lot lately about the current state of affairs in our culture as it relates to how we can't seem to get along.  Our divided culture is marked by a decided lack of collegiality, very little unity in diversity, almost no desire for the common good...

You know, the kinds of things that used to be considered virtues in America. 

It's a struggle to maintain positivity in a culture like this, isn't it?  And even more difficult to have conversations about it.  Far too many of us live in echo chambers where all of the information we receive is tailored to match our world view, our opinions. 

And if by some miracle we do hear a different perspective, and we don't like what we hear, we find smaller and smaller echo chambers until we don't hear anything at all but the sound of our own voice. 

I think Christians are uniquely positioned to speak grace, peace, truth and life into a culture that so desperately needs to hear about such things.  I feel like so many of us are longing for a more harmonious way. 

The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Romans 12:18 when he said:
If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with everyone.
The key phrases to this passage are:  "If it is possible," and "...as much as it depends on you..."  There are some people who love to stir up confusion and chaos.  They thrive on it because it's so much easier to distract themselves from the things that they need to change in their own life. 

As the poet Tiffany Aurora once wrote:  "It's hard to live in peace with someone who is constantly at war with themselves."

But I  read another poem the other day from the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly that echoes what the Apostle Paul was saying, and provides more context as to why this is so important for us: 
Who yet will not accept
Responsibilities of light.
The good incline to praise,
To have the knack of seeing that
The best is not destroyed
Although forever threatened.  
Christians should be doing everything they can to be at peace with everyone around them---even those with whom they disagree. 

We need to be reminding everyone that "the best is not destroyed," even though it might be threatened.  What is good, beautiful, true and eternal will last forever.  Everything else is temporary. 

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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