Back in the early '90's, I remember the disappointment of conservative Christians because Disney made a number of public changes in support of LGBTQ individuals. I remember at the the time that I was unable to understand the disappointment. There were plenty of others places in culture that were making similar changes, but why was Disney such a focus? I realized that it was because many Christians thought Disney was "theirs," a safe place for entertainment for their children.
Having grown up Amish Mennonite, Disney had always been seen as a part of the degenerate culture for many reasons. We didn't have television or radio in our home. I had a very clear sense growing up that I was called to live separately from our broader culture, and everything beyond our small community should be treated with mistrust and critiqued. Life has changed a bit for me since then, but I continue to carry with me a suspicion of what is happening in the broader culture.
We are united with Jesus Christ. Christians have been at their worst throughout history when they've used government policies to make people be good. We've been at our best when we sacrifice, live as alternatives at the edge of society, when we live into the story we are given by God rather than reacting to a story we think is being imposed upon us. We are called to be a counter-culture and to live it with joy. We are a nation that has incredible freedom. Our most cherished freedom, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, is a freedom that can never be taken away.
When we get focused on laws and rights, we lose our saltiness. Our identity is compromised in the midst of the battle, and the fruits of the Spirit in our own lives are the first casualty. Perhaps Christians will look more carefully at other areas where we have compromised and been taken in by cultural values that conflict with Christian virtue. Materialism, the way we value and raise our children, and our food addictions are all problems that need to be addressed. Christians are called to live joyfully into an alternative that is empowered by the Spirit of God within. The ending to our story has already been written in the book of Revelation. We can move full speed ahead with the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control that God has already given us. We are a counter-culture, we are not American citizens first. We are citizens of the upside-down kingdom.
-John M Troyer