The Cultural Acid Test for Pastors: Part One

Posted: Oct 22, 2006 4:30 AM

The way I see it, the “God job” has two fronts: 1) to reach out to a lost soul helping to keep it from hell and 2) to righteously leaven our current cruddy culture for Christ.

First, Pastors and Priests are to study and teach the word of God carefully and apply it to our lives practically, so we don’t end up drinking goofy grape and committing suicide en masse with the latest Jim Jones cult. Additionally, they are called to help their congregants build the good society in our nation. Y’know, the “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” stuff?

A minister has the responsibility of massive influence woven into his job. Instead of using it to fleece his sheep, to molest altar boys, or simply to dole out clichés like a drugged up Kathie Lee, why not re-align with the scripture and focus on fixing this mucked up culture? Huh?

This means you must not focus your attention only on evangelism but also weigh in on all things which affect our culture, i.e., Business, Entertainment, Education and yes, Politics. All the aforementioned directly affect the health and wealth of the people you are trying to reach; and they require that you have a biblically based opinion on each category in order to influence them in ways that honor God.

Given that this is an election year and that the culture-dividing issues are more obvious than Pam Anderson’s “upgraded” breast implants, it is mind-boggling that many clergy are mute or side with parties, policies and principles that are antithetical to what scripture clearly states is holy, just and good. As far as I’m concerned, a silent or waffling pastor or priest in today’s climate is a bad guy. I don’t care how much he likes kitty cats and candy canes. Look, mute boy, if you’re not in the middle of this crucial cultural squabble, then you’re Dr. Evil in my book.

In some kind of ascending order, it seems to me there are 10 reasons why pastors and priests avoid political issues and why they are chicken hearted.

1. Fear of man. If you purport to be a man of “the cloth,” then your regard for God and His opinion must trump the trepidation of the creature God created from spit and mud. Come on, man of God, don’t fear us. We’re ants with cell phones that’ll shoot Botox into our foreheads. We’re friggin’ weird and fickle weather vanes of the modern media. Lead us . . . don’t follow us!

Never live for a nod from the congregation or some political twerp or a particular party, especially when said group is way off biblical base.

2. Ignorance. Most people are not bold in areas where they are ignorant . . . always excepting Nancy Pelosi, of course. I know keeping up with all the pressing political issues is maddening, but that’s life, Dinky; and if you want to be a voice in society and not just an echo, you have got to be in the know. Staying briefed, running each political issue through the gauntlet of the scripture and determining God’s mind on a certain subject are par for the course for the hardy world changer. It’s the information age. Get informed and watch your boldness increase.

3. Division. Y’know, I hate the current non-essential divisions in the church as much as the next acerbic Christian columnist. Squabbling over the color of the carpet, who’ll play the organ next Sunday or who is the Beast of Revelation, is stupidity squared. Hey, divisive Christian rebel without a clue—get a life, por favor! Or become a Satanist and go screw up their church. Do something other than make mountains out of your little molehill issues.

That being said, however; there’s a time and place for a biblical throw-down and an ecclesiastical split from political policies and parties:

• When the taking of an unborn life is the issue.

• When marriage is being redefined.

• When runaway judges are attempting to expunge God and His law from our country’s national life.

For a minister to seek unity with secularists when they are trashing and rewriting scripture with impunity is to side with evil and to allow darkness to succeed. On these kinds of issues, the minister cannot group hug the secular or quasi-Christian thugs.

4. Last Days Madness. Many ministers do not get involved in political issues because they believe that “it simply doesn’t matter” since “the end has come,” and Jehovah is about to run the credits on this failed earth flick. These defeatists believe that any change in the jet stream, war, earthquakes, a warming globe, the success of a corrupt politician—even a new Shakira video—are “proof” that God is getting really, really ticked off, and that His only recourse is to have Christ physically return and kick some major butt.

They see the church and themselves as impotent and having no real ability to change things culturally with any long range ramifications. Thus, any stab at a better tomorrow is simply an exercise in futility for this crew. Attempting to right culture is, in their eyes, equivalent to polishing brass on a sinking ship; therefore, they are content to simply pass out tracts, tramp from Christian rock concert to Christian rock concert, eat fatty foods and stare at Christian TV.

5. Sloth. Classically defined, sloth is lethargy stemming from a sense of hopelessness. Viewing our nation and the world as an irreparable disaster, where our exhortations, prayers, votes and labors will not produce any temporal fruit, leaves one with all the fervor of a normal guy who’s forced to French kiss his sister.

If you’re wondering why your flock is so apathetic, Pastor Grim Carnage, ask yourself if you have stolen their earthly hope that their valiant efforts can actually prevail in time, and not just in eternity? If you constantly pump the doom and gloom message, if you teach them that evil will ultimately triumph on our terra firma, if you spew messages that consciously or unconsciously convey “big, anti-Christ” and “little Jesus Christ,” then you have effectively zapped what’s left of your parishioners’ passion.

To be continued . . .

* Logon to for Doug’s interview with author, Amanda Carpenter, as they discuss her new book, The Vast Ring Wing Conspiracy’s Dossier on Hillary Clinton. Also, Giles’ 3-Minute video commentary can be seen throughout the week on NRB TV [Direct TV Channel 378].