“When you get to know someone on a human level, see that they are human just like you and have similar struggles and the same deepest yearnings, you cannot hate them.” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone
I read my blog’s first negative comment the other day. (See below: “What We Are For.”)
I am a hater, the commentator said, because I wish celibacy and loneliness upon gay people. Celibacy and loneliness are bad. Because those states of being are bad, I wish bad things upon gay people. Therefore, I “hate” gay people.
Such a conversation doesn’t really leave much room for discussion about the meaning of hatred.
Or about Christian love and what it means.
Or about how the Church has not been receptive to the idea of ministry to those who struggle with same sex attraction. How the Church hasn’t felt like a safe place for someone who may need to say, “Here is my struggle. Will someone walk with me in it?” Continue reading “BLOGPOST: ‘Hate’ Mail and the Pope”
“Admittedly, ecumenism has a bad name for many because it is associated with liberal attempts to reduce Christianity to its lowest common denominator. Orthodox ecumenism today, however, seeks only unity in the service of truth.” (Colson, The Faith, 143).
I’m a bit behind in my reading, but one gem I’m catching up on is Charles Colson’s The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters.
Colson is one of the most fascinating figures of the last century. Powerful right hand man to President Richard Nixon, Nixon’s hatchet man, according to media sources of the day, Colson shocked even the cynical when he committed his life to Christ.
He served a prison term for his role in Watergate and came out energized to go back in as a minister of the Gospel. And minister he did, to prisoners all over the world. Continue reading “Surprising Examples of Christian Unity”
“You are anti-abortion and anti-gay,” she said, seeming to sum up my entire worldview. Five words to define me.
She knew me from brief classroom conversations and my writing, including my personal history as a reader. I wrote that history for her graduate class in literacy in 2006, before same sex marriage was a national argument. In it, I mentioned Bernard Nathanson’s book Aborting America. Nathanson’s account of his journey from abortion doctor (his term) to pro-life advocate. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: What We Are For Is More Than What We Are Against”
Whether or not Kim Davis should or should not have complied with the law is not the most important question facing Christians in this controversy. Nor is gay marriage the central question to this particular debate. The crucial matter the church is facing, as demonstrated by this conflict between one individual believer and the state, concerns the kind of relationship we as a church can demand–or expect–with the government in a post-Christian era. It will not be an easy question to answer, but it’s the one before us today.
Karen Swallow Prior, PhD, is Professor of English and Modern Languages at Liberty University
There are books that you read once and then there are books that you pull off the shelf once a year or so and revel in their timelessness.
Such a text is Francis Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto. This text lives on, becoming more relevant as time goes by.
I’ve always thought this book was the inspiration for the pro-life rescue movement. Non-violent civil disobedience designed to disrupt the abortion industry. An advocate for life, Schaeffer nevertheless took a general approach in his manifesto. He did not connect the notion of civil disobedience to any one issue.
He knew that at some point all of us would face a choice, whether to embrace disobedience or give in to tyranny. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: Kim Davis and Tying Our Own Shoes”
In my first year of teaching, I sat at my desk during a free period as the volume rose in a nearby classroom. Passion rather than anger fueled the exchange, which I believe was about baptism and when it should happen. The teacher was Anglican, the class from a variety of Christian denominations.
The conversation energized everyone involved, each one’s ideas heard and valued. As far as I could tell, no one walked away wounded.
Iron was sharpening iron. The Church arguing within itself but loving itself too. That Christian school represented 33 different churches. Children were becoming adults as they learned to debate their faith respectfully.
Freedom and respect happened that day. And I got to watch them unfold. The teacher’s goal wasn’t to protect the students from the emotional upset of having their doctrine challenged. And students had no fear of retribution for challenging the teacher’s way of thinking.
The time is coming when the Church may be the last vestige for freedom of thought in America.
Continue reading “Iron Sharpens Iron in Freedom and Respect”
“Much of Christianity’s retreat from the truth or tempering of our witness in the West has been motivated by good intentions—not to offend or be judgmental, the desire to feel more personally connected to God and to make Christianity more relevant and culturally acceptable.
“The history of Christianity…shows the reverse to be the case. While we always want to be sensitive to other cultures, we cannot be co-opted by them.” Charles Colson
One of the most amazing aspects of the Gospel is its universal appeal. It tears down the walls of culture. It is for people of all races and from all nations. Rather than being exclusive, it is inclusive. All may come.
Churches need to guard against the perception that they are closed communities, that minorities need not participate.
One thing the Gospel cannot do is deny truth. And coming to Christ means commitment to truth and striving in obedience toward holiness. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: When Unity Can’t Happen”
“I believe[ ] . . . that violent urges cannot be completely quashed, but they can be channeled into virtuous expression.” Mona Charen
In her column this week, Mona Charen celebrates three heroes, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler, who stopped a heavily armed man from carrying out a lone wolf terrorist attack on a French train last weekend. The three have been friends since age 7 when they played war together in an otherwise peaceful suburban neighborhood.
The three men, two trained by the U.S. military, tackled the terrorist who “kept pulling more weapons” out of his stash. According to the Washington Post, the gunman had been on a terror watch list but was allowed to board the train anyway.
After that, so much went right, when it could have gone so wrong. Continue reading “Heroes, Shooters, and a Savior”
The Church is community. We follow Christ. That means we worship with a group of people who believe as we do. It also means we are part of a larger group of believers, the Church throughout the world, comprised of people whose basic beliefs about God are the same as ours. The ways they worship don’t always match ours, but their trust is in the same Savior.
Being part of the Church means that we need to seek out companions for our Christian walk.
Men frequently form their friendships around activities. They befriend guys they play golf, basketball, or fantasy football with. Women form their friendships around conversation. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: Community and Companionship: Walking with Friends”
“You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.” Jim Caviezel
A reader recently asked me, “What do you mean by Christian unity?”
Let’s start with what it does not mean.
Christian unity does not mean that we adopt a coexist mentality that blends us into other worldviews. Our call is to shine light into darkness and encourage others to walk with us in the light. Some will come with us. Others will throw stones at us if we don’t dance in darkness with them.
But God didn’t call us to fit in.
We are pulled in two directions. As the world of darkness calls us to fit in with them, we are tempted to remain in our small group of believers who agree with us in nearly every way conceivable. Life is tidy there. We all agree with each other.
But God didn’t call us to fit in. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: Not Made to Fit In”
I was going through the college cafeteria line to buy a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of tea after my morning class. Looking forward to a few quiet moments before I headed to my job, I had a magazine in hand opened to an article about creation. Behind me in line was a professor. As I set the magazine down to retrieve my cookie, a sentence about God having formed the world caught his eye.
No quiet moment now. He asked me about the article, then followed me to my table. He stood as I sat. Continue reading “Cookies, Tea, China, and the Cross”