Martin Luther King identified racism, excessive materialism and militarism as three primary forces corrupting modern Western society.
We may identify them with what Paul calls the “principalities and powers” that corrupt and damage life. Here we speak of the systemic presence of this unholy trinity in the culture and institutions of our society. It is this presence, hidden but quietly assumed, that warps so much of our perception of what is good and right. The basic words and call of Jesus are altered by these systems that compete for our loyalty and obedience. Our perception of the clear intent of the Scripture is distorted, as our sometimes-unconscious allegiance to these powers is secured.
The Christian disciple must resist the lure of this unholy trinity, beginning with a fearless consideration of how each and all of them can influence and control our lives and the larger society. So, we begin by assessing how we are each, individually, touched by these things. If you are inclined to think you are not touched by these powers, you should think again and pray some more. These things are pervasive and found everywhere.
At the next level, we struggle to interrupt the control that these powers have over society and culture. This, again, has a lot to do with individual choice—it begins in the decision to follow Jesus. It is a stark choice: Jesus or the powers that are controlling this world. It is a choice that leads to two things: community and action. Only in community can the disciple live out a life contrary to the larger culture. The community moves toward action, to embody the Word and wisdom of Jesus and to work to dismantle the hold that the unholy trinity has on our society.