We must respond to the secular narrative with a Christian one. This is the rationale behind LivingOut, and behind this video. The world needs to hear same-sex attracted Christians like me share their experiences of God’s goodness in this issue. The culture needs to know there is a different calculus for measuring human flourishing. There is another, better script available.
But the church needs to hear these stories too. We can so easily question whether God’s Word on this issue really is good. True? Sure. But good? That can be a harder question.
But instead of addressing a burgeoning budget crisis that threatens public education and other critical state services, Oklahoma lawmakers have been busy debating proposals to criminalize abortion, police students’ access to public bathrooms and impeach President Obama.
Carson’s concern is that far too often we have let the surrounding culture define the rules and assumptions of our engagement. When shouted at, we are prone to respond with the natural human instinct to shout in return. We return shrillness with shrillness. But in our increasingly post-Christian society, we are in increasing need of being the kind of people who respond to a slap on one cheek by turning to the other and who respond to vitriol and venom with gentleness, perceptive questions, careful listening, and loving kindness.
Countries where abortion is illegal don’t have lower abortion rates—but they don’t have higher ones, either. This information was easily the most broadcasted last week. But the legal status of abortion appears to be a relatively minor factor. Lancet researchers looked at the legal status of abortion and found that it didn’t correlate with lower abortion rates. Women were still terminating pregnancies despite the legal restrictions.
Townsend goes on to make a fascinating argument for the deeper mode of thought and being embedded in housework. Feminism has told us that “Housework is something to be liberated from, and something to liberate others from in their turn. The house itself is an oppressive structure, from which we hope to be free.” Yet this contempt for domestic work, Townsend rightly notes, is “all too wicked-stepsisterly, considering the movement’s forgetfulness of the women among the poor and women of color … . While we middle-class women are off pursuing the various professions of lawyer, businesswoman, and so on, who picks up the household slack? Other human beings; usually other women; and, most likely, women of color.”
Take a moment, dear Christian wife, and consider how many ways that you fail in your walk with Christ. Think about how often you have to repent, how many times you find yourself falling into the same old sin traps, how often you wish you had controlled your tongue. Think about how far you yourself are from perfect. And, then look at your husband through fresh eyes, with compassion for a fellow sinner, with admiration for all the things he does right, and with the kind of patience that you know God has for you.
There’s one thing that’s even more important than knowing what not to say to someone who has been hurt by church. And that is, to simply listen.
Here are the stats plainly listed for you:
- 42% of American Christians find “reading the Bible/religious materials” to be an essential part of what it means to be a Christian.
- 35% of American Christians find “attending religious services” to be an essential part of what it means to be a Christian.
- 28% of American Christians find “helping out in congregation” to be an essential part of being a Christian.
Now, if you’re like me, you may think what I thought at first, “Well, to be fair, the way the question is asked, maybe the respondents think ‘essential’ means “necessary for salvation.” That’s a fair point. Christians don’t need to be saying reading the Bible daily, attending church weekly, or teaching a Sunday school class is essential for salvation—so, in that way, these actions aren’t “essential.”
That may be the case. But these statistics are evidence of an epidemic Christian leaders have recognized for some time: American Christianity has been hijacked by the individual at the expense of the whole.
Local churches want to engage their community, evangelizing and ministering to people outside the body of Christ, which is a good thing. But instead of focusing on that per se, which is the cart, focus on the horse. That is, the focus should be on the formation of disciples who learn how to follow Jesus and embody the gospel amongst themselves and within their local community.
People need to know that they matter. Jesus excelled at this. He touched the untouchable, sat with the lowly, and cared for the downtrodden. Those who left Jesus’ presence left it feeling like they mattered, because to Him they did (and do). If we’re going to win people to Jesus we have to emulate our Savior and take the time and effort to show others that they matter.
Going to the screen from which they get their weekly Sunday messages, the couple began pouring out their marital issues to the inanimate object, including Judy’s spending and Derrick’s untidiness. However, after a good half-hour with no response from the video screen, the couple’s discussion stalled, and they left discouraged.
“It was like talking to a wall,” explained a visibly frustrated Mrs. Markham. “Seriously, he’s so bright and electric on Sunday mornings; I thought he’d be the same one-on-one. I guess I was wrong.”
Heimlich successfully dislodged the meat from 87-year-old Ris’ airway.
“It was very gratifying,” he told The Guardian on Friday. “That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my manoeuvre has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die.”
Infographic of entire plot of Star Wars, Episode IV
Take a look at this graphic that depicts the story of “A New Hope”