We need to think of finding creative and positive ways in which to make our case, especially in the culture wars. These folks are right to suggest that we should be known more for what we champion than what we resist. But in most of these contentious issues of the day, to be for something means automatically that we are against something else. It seems that is the nature of the beast, and there is no getting around it.
A good friend in Christ recently told me he does not like to use the word “against” and concentrates on what we are for instead. His point was that we are often known for what we oppose instead of what we favour. I agree for the most part.
The context of this discussion was homosexual marriage, and I had mentioned a piece I had written on it called “The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage”. He said he wanted to be on the offensive, and promote what we are for, and what are the good things we can champion.
He is not alone in sharing such concerns. I have had many people saying the same things over the years. They want us to be on the front foot, leading the way instead of just responding and just defending territory. They argue that we have to be on the offensive, not just the defensive.
I know what they mean, and I certainly concur – at least to a fair degree! Yes, we should try more to emphasise what we are for, and try to let our voices be heard in a more positive light. But of course, no matter how hard we try to avoid the negative, or play down what we are against, it really is unavoidable to speak of that which we oppose.
It is pretty much impossible to fully proclaim what you are for without at the same time proclaiming what you are against. The two almost always go together – of necessity. To favour something means you are not favouring that which is opposite to it. The examples of this are legion.
If I am for my wife (which I am) then of necessity, I am against all other women – at least in terms of them being off limits as a marriage partner. To choose my wife has meant choosing against every other woman on the planet. To favour the one means to not favour all the others.
We do this all the time in sports. We favour one team, which means we oppose the other teams, at least when they are playing our favourite side. If you are a diehard Geelong fan, then you are opposed to all their opponents. Your loyalty to just one side means disloyalty to all the others.