top cover (noun): combat airplanes flying at high altitude to protect a military force from air attack, especially from other airplanes flying at a lower altitude (adapted from Merriam-Webster, rephrased for readability)
In much the western world, Christianity has been has been stripped of top cover. The seminaries and high level church leadership no longer take a public stand against the constant attacks against Christianity. In many cases, the counter arguments against atheists and other anti Christians are often made in a disorganized way at the lowest level where individual church members take leadership. The pastors and church leaders no longer write editorials to newspapers to set the record straight on the Christian position or appeal for peaceful behavior in a crisis, as a survey of newspapers from older times will show was once normal. The individual churches no longer expect and insist that their people stay clear of drugs, excess alcohol, and non marital sex. This leads to a lower quality of life for the people they are supposedly serving.
It often seems that the Christian leadership is more interested in other things than providing top cover to Christians. Those on the right seem more interested in revisiting arguments with other Christian groups than in leading their flocks and through the current round of attacks. Those on the left often seem more interested in proving they are not like those on the right. And as always, there are some few more interested in their own reputations than in Christ's. "The people are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." That says something about the shepherds. Here are some areas where Christians could truly benefit from top cover:
- The idea that “nothing is really wrong” is morally bankrupt. It is against all human experience and leaves us with no way to condemn obvious wrongs such as the slave trade or the holocaust.
- The Bible contains much that is good for all cultures, places, and times. Besides things that are specific to the cultures where the books of Bible were written, there are human universals that need to be considered.
- No man is an island. For culture to work together, either it shares values or it resorts to coercion. I think most people would agree it is better to work for shared values.
- Modern culture’s rejection of the traditional family has led directly to modern high levels of poverty for women and children. It creates a cycle in which the children are at higher risk of all kinds of harm during childhood, experience lower chances of success throughout their own lives, and often repeat that cycle for another generation. The current poverty-and-welfare model of the single mother family does not benefit the mother, the child, or the father.
- As long as children continue to be born, it will be best for the children if their father and mother are together and learn to live in peace. As long as raising children costs money and takes work, it will be best for the father and mother to be a team that learns to work together well and treat each other with respect.
- Marriage is more than a piece of paper. The stable family model continues to benefit the parents into their old age, when they do not have to face their declining years alone. Simple and routine daily tasks can be shared, someone else can help look after the home and health, and such a simple thing as a ride to the doctor’s office can be more manageable as part of a team.
Dear pastors, seminary professors, and church leaders: whenever you see someone struggling, and that struggle could have been prevented by living in a less broken society, hear the call to step up and provide top cover.