The West has a problem; that is not a revelation to anyone. However, I am not sure we as Christians understand how to formulate a response to those lost or at least captured by the snares of this age. What I think is helpful however is to go back and think about how our worldview frames or rearranges reality for us.
We all must understand as Christians that we have fundamental answers provided to us through the Bible and its overarching meta-narrative. The Bible, along with our tradition on how to evaluate its claims and the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit, provides all of us with a schema to tackle the entire cosmic realm that is our world and universe. One of the questions we all must wrestle with is how and why we evaluate ethical dilemmas the way we do within the particular communities we live in.
While I don’t have the ability to deal with that question at length, I can speak to something I believe gets to a core issue we all have in the West and that is this false notion of ‘perfection’. I tell my children that we as Christians are not often aiming at perfection when dealing with other people. While the New Testament states (Matthew 5:48) that we must aim for perfection we don’t for a second apply this standard without acknowledging our current state of brokenness. We don’t have the ability to reach into the thin spaces and traverse into Eden on our own. That’s what the beginning of our story tells us in Genesis and it’s that story that reverberates throughout all our history as humans. We fail miserably at most things and succeed in some ways probably because of sheer grace. We must deal with reality as Christians and have the courage to face the here and now with eyes wide open. What we are as Christians is at best medics on the beaches of Normandy on June 6. We are offering a solution that is not promised to fix the violence of what surrounds us. Our answer is a hope that the war will be over someday, and that the horizon gives us a light to a better end.
Anything that promises ultimate solutions now outside of Jesus Christ and our worldview is false hope. What we are after now as Christians is ‘optimal’ and not perfect. With the West our optimal solution was always a free market democratic society that built itself on the reality of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We never are/were allowed, however, to think this is nothing but a shadow of something greater. Our churches should also think of itself as communities of the “here but not yet” world where we function ‘optimally’ with all the tools and abilities that we have at our disposal, but every action we do is fundamentally undergirded by the Holy Spirit and done through brokenness. The devil wins with half-truths. Where we take something that might work in some situations and think it’s the panacea for the ultimate issues or problems that challenges us in our lives. There is no perfect ‘form’ that provides the salve for everything. There is no universal solution to all of life’s problems. None but one and He came and is calling us to a new heaven and a new world that he is currently fashioning.
We Christian ambassadors solve our solutions by wearing the cross of the ‘not yet’ the shadowlands of ‘optimal’ can be accomplished in the ‘here and now’ but our hope is set on nonthin less than Jesus Christ and his righteousness.