A healing response to culture wars

Is antagonism inevitable when opinions differ? Recognizing that we are all God-empowered to express patience and grace is a firm foundation for harmony and progress.

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All too often, culture wars are dividing society today. Encyclopedia.com describes the situation as, “the body politic is rent by a cultural conflict in which values, moral codes, and lifestyles are the primary objects of contention.” And it’s big stuff lately. In the news, at the kitchen table, during school board meetings, even in churches, we see antagonism relating to significant differences of opinion about behaviors and norms.

Yet, there’s a way forward. The answer has to do with God, who doesn’t establish battles, but brings forth beauty and helpful activity in all of us. God is divine Spirit and Mind, the infinite source of wonderful, creative ideas that enable a harmoniously functioning universe. As expressions of God, which is the true nature of all of us, we are created to come together in productive ways.

My experience as a parent has taught me a lot on this subject. It’s problematic trying to move the kids to certain positions on issues through willpower. Time and again, what’s been most helpful is to focus on being a witness to and support of what’s coming forward in them of God. To affirm that they are spiritual in nature, that what defines them and their lives are the spiritual qualities of God expressed in them. This includes grace, purpose, completeness, and intelligence.

We are all expressions of what God, good, is. The God-inspired response in any situation is to identify ourselves and others as spiritual, moved and defined by the divine Spirit, rather than by self-righteousness, anger, or willfulness. Our daily lives involve exposure to the stir of the world, but what really defines us are the God-given patience, love, and grace that we bring to any moment.

Life in fact is about God, whose entirely spiritual and good nature keeps coming forth. Everything we really need is already a part of what we are as children of God. So we don’t need to battle with others to establish right positions, but we can find this good essence within one another. What we are, God has assured and is doing in us. As we feel this completeness, a sense of vulnerability and willfulness falls away.

The need, then, is to feel what God is bringing forth and be productive in expressing this. This doesn’t mean we all have to agree on every issue. But with this approach, rather than being hung up on a particular agenda, we’re bringing the peace that helps move everyone along with the helpful stuff we can do. And I’ve found that things get worked out from there.

The essential cause of inharmony, including culture wars, is the notion that we are governed not by God, but by atoms and circumstances that clash with those of others. From this basis, we would forever be divided without anything to unite us. But we can see through this material, limited view of ourselves and understand how the divine Spirit set up the universe. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote, “When the divine precepts are understood, they unfold the foundation of fellowship, in which one mind is not at war with another, but all have one Spirit, God, one intelligent source, in accordance with the Scriptural command: ‘Let this Mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus’” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 276).

The divine Mind moves us today to patiently find within ourselves and everyone else more of the divine qualities God has given us all. And so we find the way together past inharmony and on to the life we have of God to share.

For a regularly updated collection of insights relating to the war in Ukraine from the Christian Science Perspective column, click here.

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