Christianity's Bigger, Better (True) Story

Christianity's Bigger, Better (True) Story

Stories define us. Individual stories, family stories, cultural and societal stories. Did you grow up in hard times under difficult circumstances? That’s part of your story. Did your ancestors emigrate from Germany or Mexico? That’s a part of your story. Did you grow up on a farm or in town? That’s part of your story. Did you live through war times or have relatives that did? That’s a part of your story. The present pandemic has become a part of your story, too.
These are all pieces of your story. Parts of them overlap with others and parts are completely unique to you. In the face of such diversity, is there one story that can unify us? Is there a story big enough to include us all – the impoverished and the rich, the Hispanic and the Anglo, the accomplished and the challenged – a story expansive enough to honor our individuality, our personal stories, while unifying us?
Scripture’s Story
Scripture answers with a resounding Yes! We might capture the essence of this story in two key Biblical texts: Acts 17 and Revelation 7. 
  • Paul, speaking to Athenians, says: “[God] made from one man every nation…” (Acts 17:26).  From one, many. From unity, diversity.
  • John, recording his apocalyptic prophecy, sees the great culmination of God’s story and writes of a: great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10). From the many, one. From diversity, unity.
We might express Scripture’s story like this: from one has come the many; for the many is the promise of oneness. Or, from one has come diversity; for the diverse is the promise of unity. These lines are brief, but they include a world of meaning that influences our identity, our unity, our communities, our politics, and on and on. 
From one has come diversity; for the diverse is the promise of unity.
In His act of creation, God creates man/humanity in His image and diversifies humanity into male and female, but He blesses them with a one-flesh union in marriage from which the great diversity of mankind is realized and experienced as diverse people/ethnic groups emerge. These people groups, while sharing a common humanity and a common divine image, are diversified by their different communal and cultural experiences and stories.
Absent a transcendent, unifying story, these diversified groups risk fracture and splintering into ever smaller, divided groups defined by ever-diversifying stories. Appreciate this point, without a deep understanding for our shared humanity and divine image (our inclusion in a larger story), our idiosyncratic group stories run the risk of becoming each group’s ultimate story. These stories, then, will be pitted against the stories of other groups leaving us perpetually divided and at odds.
Appreciating our shared humanity and divine image keeps us from forever splintering into rival sub-groups. Then, Scripture’s promise of a final diversified unity (every nation, tribe, people, language united in praise to Jesus) assures us that our unique group stories will be finally caught up into God’s bigger, better story, but not in such a way that our group stories are erased or diminished.
This is the story Christ’s Church is privileged and commissioned to tell.  And it’s a story we must tell with renewed urgency because the pagan world not only rejects this story, but it is actively opposing this story, offering a counterfeit story that leads to division and discord. 
The Pagan Story
The pagan counterfeit story has changed throughout the ages (the ancient world, for example, was littered with rival creation stories establishing one people group as superior to others); today it is expressed in critical race and critical gender language. Without getting bogged down in the details, this story erases the divine image and eliminates the final hope, leaving us with only the smaller individual/communal stories.
This story erases the divine image and eliminates the final hope.
And, instead of celebrating unity in something humanity shares (the image of God) or in anticipating something that transcends humanity (the great promise of a diverse, unified humanity in God’s everlasting kingdom), it endlessly divides people into simplistic groups based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual behavior, political affiliation, and so forth.
Then it assigns each group with a label: “oppressed” or “oppressor” / “victim” or “victimizer,” leaving people locked in their assigned status so that those labeled “oppressor” or “victimizer” must endlessly make efforts to atone for their “sin” with no hope of forgiveness and those receiving the coveted label “oppressed” or “victim” may forever be exempt from moral accountability.
To be clear, in this pagan story “victimizers” don’t actually have to do anything, they don’t actually have to victimize anyone; they are born into the victimizing group and are forever deemed guilty because of it. And “victimhood” is both a coveted label and a moral pass that gives individuals in this group the freedom to express their grievances in immoral ways.   
This pagan story searches for “power” and “privilege” to demonize and “intersectionality” (being included in multiple oppressed groups) to celebrate.[1] This nurtures division rather than unity and fosters grievance rather than gratitude and it is all-pervasive (as the footnotes below will illustrate).
This pagan story is told in curriculum,[2] in media,[3] in literature,[4] in politics,[5] in big tech,[6] and beyond. It is an inherently divisive story and is in no way reconcilable with Scripture’s story, which is why those telling this story are actively pressuring the Church to be silent or to change our story to align with theirs. This we must not do. Christianity’s story is bigger, better and true.
Bigger, Better, True
Does it mean we turn a blind eye to true injustices? No! Does it mean we endorse racism or discrimination? No! Does it mean we think we’re better? No! All of that opposes God’s story and perpetuates evil against divine image bearers. We must always speak against evil and injustice. Further, we must call all sinners to repentance and faith in Christ. No class of sinners is exempt from the call to repentance and no group of sinners is excluded from God’s grace in Christ.  
No class of sinners is exempt from the call to repentance and no group of sinners is excluded from God’s grace in Christ. 
Does it mean some aren’t guilty of exercising power over others (or that we couldn’t be guilty of it)? No. Does it mean some aren’t born with privilege (or that we aren’t born with it)? No. The Christian story speaks to these, urging us not to lord power over anyone, but to employ any personal or generational privilege we may have in service to less privileged, fellow divine image bearers.
The Christian story is a true, unifying story that grounds identity in something we all share (the divine image) and in something we all anticipate (an eternal diversified unity in God’s everlasting kingdom). It is a story for the addict and the athlete, the immigrant and the resident, the under-advantaged and the privileged, the poor and the powerful, the ignorant and the erudite, the broken and the whole, the black and the white, the male and the female. 
And this makes it a bigger, better (true) story. May we tell it with love and joy! – Pastor Conner   

[1] Children are exhorted to rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.” Teachers have actually been told they are guilty of the “spirit murder” of black children. “Dividing by Race Comes to Grade School,” in the Wall Street Journal, (March 7).

Much of the nation’s standards for Sex Ed is set by SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States). Mary Calderon (the first director of Planned Parenthood) along with Wardell Pomeroy (partner of deranged sex researcher Alfred Kinsey) with funds from Hugh Hefner (the founder of Playboy magazine), helped form SIECUS. It is the most significant driving force behind sex education in America (and even partners with the United Nations, setting global sex education standards). Its website endorses abortion as health care; homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality as healthy sexual lifestyles; and “sexually explicit” materials (i.e. pornography) as “valuable educational or personal aids.”

[2] The Illinois state legislature recently passed legislation tying K-12 teacher licensure to the teaching of this pagan story, essentially redefining education as “activism,” specifically activism for racial and gender “justice.”

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal records the actual stated goal of curriculum in another state enacting this pagan story: “students will set commitments for rectifying current social ills, such as learning and planning how to carry out anti-racist activism and/or social advocacy in their communities.”  

As documented before, “The Gender Unicorn,” a cartoon unicorn created by trans-activists that breaks identity down into the following categories: gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, physically attracted to, and emotionally attracted to, is increasingly finding its way into school curriculum across the nation.

And, no, Iowa is not exempt. Here are but a few classes offered at Iowa State: Gender Justice, Lesbian Studies, and Queer Studies. These all embrace this pagan story.   

[3] In 2017, Common Sense Media, one of the nation’s most influential non-profit organizations focusing on safe media content for children, issued new guidelines to give positive ratings to programs that portray “fully realized transgender characters.” In other words, Programs and movies that portray transgenderism as a healthy life option (despite all the research that documents the deep psychological struggles transgender people face with or without surgical alteration) will receive Common Sense’s positive rating. Those daring to depict characters afflicted by the disorder desiring freedom from it will be downgraded.

[4] Numerous public libraries across the nation have celebrated Trans story hours complete with drag queen presenters and a plethora of trans-affirming children’s books such as I Am Jazz, Red, Jacob’s New Dress, and My Princess Boy, are finding their way into early childhood reading lists.   

[5] Multiple executive orders and the deceptively named “Equality Act” have embraced this pagan story, even going so far as to promise to “prevent and combat” all rival stories.

[6] Same-sex unions and transgenderism are regularly celebrated by social media platforms along with neo-Marxist racial ideology as espoused by the organizers of Black Lives Matters, while opposing voices are increasingly blocked. Amazon recently delisted Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, and the research heavy Health Hazards of Homosexuality. Books such as Adult-Child Sex: A Philosophical Defense and Hitler’s Mein Kampf remain available. Twitter blocked Focus on the Family’s The Daily Citizen for mentioning that President Biden’s nomination for Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of HHS, Rachel Levine, was a biological male. Facebook blocked Dr. Gregory Seltz, Director of The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, for writing an insightful response to the Capitol riots.


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