10 June 2011

worldview getting foggy

In a recent news article in the Colorado Springs Independent, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly speaks broadly about adoption, with a visible shift in the principles upon which the ministry was founded and flourished for the past thirty years. Of course, the media relishes in two implications of his statements: 1) that Focus on the Family will not be as "hardcore" as it was in the past, and 2) finally we have someone that we can talk to, unlike that Dobson guy.

In the interview Daly makes a few statements which will undoubtedly concern the typical constituents of Focus on the Family. He clearly is making an attempt to broaden the acceptance rate of the ministry, mostly by appearing to be open, caring, and accepting - tolerant - of other worldviews. His attempt at doing this doesn't seem to convey the right message.

One of Daly's responses to same-sex-couple-adoption is: "You know, the church, we can't expect the world to be the church. And likewise, I've talked to people who have a nonfaith background, [and] I've found a great deal of respect for the fact that the church can't be the world, either. So there is this dividing line when it comes to our deeply held beliefs, and I think that's reasonable on all sides."

Admittedly, I can't be entirely certain of what he is trying to communicate behind all of the politically correct rhetoric. But what seems to be quite clear is that he is not afraid to blur the lines of worldview in order to gain a few brownie points with the culture. Although I fully recognize that the church can rightly be accused of speaking without love, the one component which can never be sacrificed in our dialogue is the truth.

Later in the article Daly challenges the notion that same-sex-couple-adoption is a wise choice, but then also leaves the door open for the "culture" and "legislation" to determine whether or not civil unions could be seen as morally acceptable. Ping-and-Pong; back-and-forth.

He is interested in a dialogue with culture, which is not a real possibility when discussing principles. Truth is not up for grabs, nor is it to be determined by some sort of consensus. The church is not interested in policy making its beliefs and practices, no matter how many postmodern believers think that it sounds like a noble endeavor. The traditional Judeo-Christian values upon which our society was built are still worth something, even after the mainstream has swept them under the rug.

The door which is being opened by Jim Daly is nothing new, nor is it any sort of progress on behalf of Focus on the Family, evangelicalism, or the church. Some will indeed applaud the undoing of the lifelong work of Dr. Dobson, even from within the church. But these typically come from people who promote tolerance, peace, love and fairness while simultaneously being public and genuine jerks towards him and his faith. I have seen first- and secondhand how Dr. Dobson is the walking definition of character, regardless of what you choose to agree or disagree with his principles.

But that is my point, they are principles upon which he has stood. The article's unflattering (and unimpressive) line on Dobson is: "Quick to temper, and slow to apologize, Dobson never had to be asked twice about what he really thought." The translation on this probably is, he spoke with conviction and passion (so he's got a temper), and he communicated clearly (so he was rude). The very reason why Dobson speaks quickly, clearly, concisely is that you do not have to reevaluate your principles . . . they are your deeply held beliefs. And it will always bother the world (even some believers) that you hold them and know what you believe so certainly.

Where have we gone when clear and articulate truth threatens our society, both in and out of the church?

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