Today the Supreme Court decides whether to decide on same-sex marriage. The justices are considering cases from Indiana, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Oklahoma where bans on same-sex marriage were deemed unconstitutional. They will determine whether to consider any of the five cases. If they do, they would make their ruling in June 2015.
If it seems to you that our culture is changing dramatically and rapidly, you’re right. Management guru Peter Drucker noted: “Every few hundred years in Western history, there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself—its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts; its key institutions. Fifty years later, there is a new world and the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through just such a transformation.”
Think about the changes you’ve seen in the past 15 years. After 9/11, the West has been at war with jihadists in the longest conflict in American history, with no end in sight. We have been through the greatest recession since the Great Depression. We have seen dramatic changes in the definition and popularity of marriage; more than half of all births to young adults in the U.S. now occur outside of wedlock.
Geopolitical changes are occurring in unprecedented ways as well. I’ve been reading Henry Kissinger’s latest book, World Order. He begins his narrative with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia which ended Europe’s Thirty Years’ War. It mandated independent nation-states that would be economically interdependent, lessening the likelihood of war among them. This notion has prevailed in Europe and its colonies for the last four centuries.
Meanwhile, Russia was led by a tsar and a national church; China and the East were led by emperors and dynasties; Islam’s global community (the ummah) was led by a Caliph; and America fostered the ideal of participatory democracy. These contradictory worldviews could all coexist because the world was so large. What happened in Russia was not especially relevant to America; Chinese politics didn’t affect Europe.
What changed? World War I ended the caliphate; World War II ushered in American superpower status. With the demise of the Soviet Union, participatory democracy began making inroads in Russia, China, and around the world. But now the nations are reverting to their cultural DNA—many Muslims are rallying to the Islamic State and its claim to be a caliphate; Russia’s president functions more as a tsar; China’s Communist Party is firmly entrenched. The reason? Global economic interdependence. Europe needs Russian energy more than it cares about Russian democracy; America needs Chinese economic partnership more than we care about their governance. What is the future? It’s hard to say.
Here’s the good news: chaos and change are great opportunities for the gospel. The same technology that allows jihadists and pornographers to propagate also allows Christians to win and disciple Christians. More people are coming to Christ today than ever before in Christian history.
So be encouraged: what the enemy means for evil, God can use for good (Genesis 50:20). What’s your Father’s Kingdom assignment for you today?