There is this idea that every human being in this world is separated from any and every other human being in this world, by six or less degrees. For example:
~ I am 1 degree separated from my parents.
~ I am 2 degrees separated from Donald Sondheim. What this means is that while I do not know Donald Sondheim personally, I know someone who knows him.
And so on.
I want to apply this thought to the Christian involvement in contemporary cultural debates. It is my contention that the Christian’s primary charge in this world is to preach the Gospel. If he or she is to be involved in issues such as fighting against abortion, passing blankets to the homeless, Occupy(ing) Wall Street, animal rights, fiscal policy regulation, etc., then it is done on account of a regard for the Gospel.
To put it another way, your primary work is to share the Gospel with others, and you get involved in other issues only in so far as they are an outflow of this primary work of yours.
So what does this have to do with degrees of separation or cultural debates?
~ No matter what cultural debate you find yourself involved in, you need to be able to trace your way back from that issue to the Gospel.
This path that you trace back to the Gospel will involve either a small number of degrees of separation or a large number. You will either be able to see the connections immediately or will have to do some thinking or maybe will not see any connections.
(Now it also needs to be mentioned quickly that what you know will determine how fast you can make the connections. For example, a Christian Economics professor I know, can very easily go from Economic issues back to the Gospel. I cannot do that. For me the degrees of separation are too large.)
So here is the thing. A Christian ought not to be involved in worldly debates. He ought not to be fighting for a piece of the world. For even if he wins in some worldly debate, nothing truly has been won.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul?” ~ Mark 8:36
So if you want to test yourself to see if you are fighting for something worldly or not, then you ought to get a sense of how close the issue is to the Gospel.
~ If you can trace it back to the Gospel pretty fast or with something thinking, then it may be worth fighting for.
~ If however there seem to be many degrees of separation between the issue and the Gospel, then the odds are that you are fighting for some worldly cause.
~ If you cannot see how the issue even remotely relates to Jesus Christ or the Gospel, then you are involved in a worldly struggle.