Cultural Issues

(April 19, 2014)

The mission of the TEI International centers on the applicability of the Gospel to a range of cultural issues. These issues can be accessed via the twelve icons. The primary motto for the TEI is the power to love hard questions, and this is comprehensive in its biblical applicability to any issue.

The icon first the Gospel, then politics … follows with specific applicability, and defines “politics” according to the Greek word polis, which refers to a walled city that protects civilized society from the barbarians and the wild. Within the polis we can see civilized society organized around family and religion, ideally served by the professional arenas of government (including military), education, media, business, science (including medicine), and the arts.

In his public policy ministry since 1983, John Rankin has focused on the theme of human freedom as God’s gift to all people. In debates and forums addressing cultural issues such as 1) human abortion, 2) homosexuality and civil rights, 3) church and state, 4) paganism, atheism and secularism, 5) evolution and intelligent design and 6) Islam, the issues always return to a question of biblical ethics at large and human freedom in specific.

Here is brief synopsis of a diagnosis in Chapter Two of The Six Pillars of Honest Politics: The Biblical Nature of a Level Playing Field:

“We need first to understand how the world’s greatest social evils are rooted in ‘the chosen absence of the biological father,’ whether physical or emotional in nature. The reality of broken aspirations permeates the full spectrum of human life and history.

“If we listen to the children of divorce, we can trace most pain back to what is, or is at least perceived to be such a chosen absence.

“If we listen to women forced through an abortion by the chauvinism of irresponsible men, we can trace most of the pain back to such a chosen absence.

“If we listen to men and women struggling with issues of homosexual identity or actions, we can trace most of the pain back to such a chosen absence. And likewise for many who struggle with heterosexual promiscuity.

“If we look at the emerging soul-searching pain of the children of donor sperm, such a chosen absence is not only deliberate, but mockingly so for perhaps a pittance of cash.

“If we look at the poverty in the ghettos of the United States, we can note how at least seventy percent of black children grow up in the pain of such a chosen absence.

“If we look at polygamous cultures where sons do not have the chosen full presence of their fathers — in the midst of the sibling rivalries due to the positioning struggles of rival wives — then we can understand people like Osama bin Laden.

“Historically, the pain of such a chosen absence, and in a unique way, most deeply affects the Arab and Muslim soul tracing back to Abraham and Hagar. Abraham’s absence was chosen yet unchosen — he chose the folly of breaking his marriage covenant with Sarah, at her initiative, but then to keep his marriage intact, yielded to her war against Hagar and Ishmael; yet he never stopped yearning for his son Ishmael, to be a full father to him, but had no power of choice to make it a reality.”