The shaking of American culture is no sign that God has given up on American Christianity. In fact, it may be a sign that God is rescuing American Christianity from itself. … The church has an opportunity now to reclaim our witness, as those who confess that we are “strangers and exiles on earth” (Heb. 11:13). That strangeness starts in what is the most important thing that differentiates us from the rest of the world: the gospel. … if what differentiates us is blood poured out for our sins, then we see ourselves for what we are: hell-deserving sinners in the hands of a merciful God. … Our call is to an engaged alienation, a Christianity that preserves the distinctiveness of our gospel while not retreating from our callings as neighbors, and friends, and citizens.Onward pp. 7–8
And that last line is the rub and where our tension in this moment often lies. What does engagement look like? For many it looks like anger, culture wars, putting people in their place. For others it is for another generation—ours too far contaminated by the world to do any good at all. Yet, here is where the beauty of the local church comes into play. We don’t have to fight the wider battles out there. We can love our neighbors and friends and fellow citizens with their particular bents toward sin while we wrestle with our own in God-honoring ways. We can get to know the apathetic school kid, the absent father, the far-left neighbor, the far-right co-worker, the obnoxious boss, and the hateful store owner. We can let the gospel—the call to die to self—guide our words and actions with those we disagree with: we can love them and frequent their businesses and spend time with them and show them Jesus. And we can do that without compromising the truth.