The expanding grand narrative in western societies is that there is no grand narrative. That is to say, there is no cultural story which underpins society giving it coherence, meaning and, therefore, direction. Institutions, traditions and settled identities, such as religion, marriage and family, have come under direct assault by the toxic spirit of the revisionists. These apostles of negativity and destruction see every group and every traditional category of identity as repressive, tyrannical and nothing more than expressions of patriarchal domination.
The result of this well-orchestrated assault on western culture has been a profound erosion of the foundations upon which our culture stands. Western people no longer have a grand story which helps them understand who they are, why they are in the world, and where what we call history is going. It used to be that family, church and school saw a responsibility to pass these shared stories and traditions along, to teach the young to value them. But that is quickly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, our young are being taught to de-value our received and shared traditions.
We now have a confused society of multiple genders, self-designed identities which have thrown the very idea of identity into a cultural blender. We now have a growing list of words and behaviors that are off-limits because they trigger offense among the endless proliferation of tribal minority groups whose principal business these days is to take offense. And there is nothing easier to do in life than take offense, to find fault in someone else, to blame others for my failures and the limitations life has imposed on me. The inherently negative, destructive and resentment-filled character of this effort should warn people that something is very wrong here.
The great benefit of grand, cultural stories is that they integrate all of life. The current cultural moment, however, is a moment of disintegration. The foundations are being torn down. But what is being offered in their place?
If there is a grand narrative to history it is that all foundations laid by human efforts will eventually fail. In this respect, our time, which is dispiriting and alarming to us is also not surprising. It is my hope, personally, that we may be able to re-stabilize the cultural ship and reaffirm what is valuable in our western inheritance. That may happen. It may not.
For the Christian, however, there has always been and will always be only one, sure foundation upon which life in this world is solidly built. And that foundation is Christ Jesus, in whom the promises of God, who does not lie, have been given for us. We trust and believe that with a relentless purpose He holds sway over the convolutions of history. One day, when every other foundation has finally been swept away, Christ alone will remain. In Him the new creation will be firmly and finally established, and with it the grandest narrative of all – God’s faithfulness in Christ. And that story will never cease with wonder to be told, even unto ages of ages.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”