Equality plus Evil equals Confusion

George Marsden once wrote: "The sensibilities of Christians toward the poor and the weak have been dulled by the very success of the assimilation of these same sensibilities by the wider Western culture and lately world culture." (George Marsden, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, p. 93).

In other words, they are taking your stuff and you are letting them.

Consider the fantastically trendy value: equality. Christians, who once stood at the forefront of championing equality, are now suspicious of it. The problem is not with equality itself, but with what it is mixed with. Equality has been rent from its theological mornings and now lies at the heart of a dangerous, mixed up social agenda. What was once a concept related to our equal standing before God--our equal image-bearing dignity, our equal unworthiness, our equal need for grace--is now mixed with a self-seeking, sin-soaked and short-sighted agenda. Equality belongs, fits and makes sense in a Christian worldview. But if you rip it out and jam it into something else all you get is a mess.

The trouble is that there is no bare, naked equality. You can't have it straight up. It always takes a mixer. And what you mix it with makes all the difference. Equality plus something equals something. Here are a couple of examples:

Equality plus envy equals social strife. Someone else having more is universal: there is always someone who has more. Strife is driven by a love of material things, a belief that everybody owes us something, that everyone ought to have the same. The great equalizer on the Christian worldview is that nothing ultimately belongs to us. It's all God's. And he distributes his wealth unequally according to his pleasure. Yet we all have equal responsibility - to give it back, to use it for him, to be generous with little or with much (Matt 25:14-30).

Equality: Always takes a mixer

Equality plus lechery equals the destruction of children. Lust breeds contempt just like cake makes us fat. Indiscriminate sexuality devoid of fidelity, family and fatherhood is a recipe for selfishness. And if we promote self and sex we'll want to cut out the child problem. Our culture treats sexual pleasure like a human right, as if we should all get equal amounts. But we want more than pleasure. We want the cake without the guilt. The Christian view turns this upside down. It says, in effect, that even the smallest, most insignificant human, the one of only a few cells, is of equal value with the most successful, good looking celeb. And because of that equality, pleasure gets sacrificed. People give up what might have been a more pleasurable life because of the dignity of a little life.

Here are a few more: Equality plus greed equals theft. If we think we should have something because someone else has it we will find any way--legitimate or not--to get it. Equality plus sloth equals lying and slavery. We deceive ourselves with lies about our needs and abilities. And we are bound, bound by our sheets, our endless games, screens and luxury. Equality plus wrath equals vengeance and suicide. A culture with an appetite for vengeance is a culture of death and death is the great equalizer.

Equality is not really a value all on its own. It always goes with something. I prefer my equality mixed and owned by Jesus. Jesus knows about equality. It did not matter to Jesus who hated him or how much. According to him, the weakest and most puny sin is as heinous as the worst of sins. He saved a slave-runner like John Newton who is no more deserving of forgiveness than the nice middle class family down the street. Neither needed saving more than the other. Both were equally lost and in equal need of a savior. And yet he bled, in equal measure, for both.