Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ING Marathon: Run4Justice

Sunday morning, more than 3,000 runners ran in the ING marathon here in Atlanta. I was there, along with many other people from my church at a water station at mile marker 15. We were there cheering on the runners and hoping to be voted as the best water station. $2500 goes to the best water station and we would be able to donate that to Wellspring for girls, an organization devoted to caring for girls who have been a part of the human trafficking industry.

In order to stand out, our Run4Justice theme was 80s rock. Here are some of the pics from the event. Also, check out pictures from the AJC.

Here's the best dressed 80s bunch

Water cups in front of Mickey D's at 6am

my semi-eighties attire

Dan helping out a runner (He's the one in the jumpsuit :) )

Jamie was a good water hander-outer

The highlight of the morning was seeing my good friend Greg round the corner. This was his first marathon.

Forgiveness is beautiful

The widow of Fred Winters, the pastor killed in his pulpit a couple of weeks ago, speaks openly of her forgiveness toward the killer and her wishes for him to come to know Jesus. This is a woman who truly understands how much she has been forgiven.

Openly gay bishop Gene Robinson

My friend Arnold was able to attend a talk last night by the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson over at Emory University. He gives a good recap to the evening including many quotes from the bishop. Here's one of Arnold's concluding thoughts:
"One thing I listened carefully for, and didn't hear, is any suggestion that whether we're gay or straight, we're called to be continent (i.e., celibate) until marriage or something roughly equivalent. Robinson himself is in a committed relationship and has a "spouse," but at no time did he suggest that spousal fidelity should be normative. He'd lose a lot of gay supporters if he were to advocate such a position, and I still wouldn't agree with him, but I think his position would be much easier to defend. As it is, it comes across more like, 'People should be free to do what they want to do, as long as it's loving (and not child abuse or other things I don't think are OK).' That position is intellectual mush, no matter how palatable you make it."
Read the whole thing.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nightline Debate: Is Satan real?

I thought this was an intriguing debate. I thought Mark Driscoll did an excellent job at pointing to Jesus and the existence of good and evil. The philosopher and very confused bishop on the other side of the table made me sad. Their nonsense postmodern jargon of things being "true for you" could be heard over and over throughout the debate. I'd encourage you to check it out here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rock4Justice: April 1, 6:30pm, Eddie's Attic

Each year, 6 to 800,000 women, children and men are enslaved and trafficked across international borders. 70% are female. 50% are children. As many as 17,500 are brought into the United States against their will. According to the United Nations, 79% of slavery is for sex. 18% for forced labor, forced marriages, or forced organ donation. Approximately 200,000 American children are at risk to be forced into prostitution. The FBI & United Way have consistently ranked Atlanta as one of the top cities where PEOPLE are trafficked every year. Where is freedom? Where is hope? Where is justice? Who will hear their cries? Who will stand for them?

Stand with us, April 1st, 2009 at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA to Rock For Justice! Many Atlanta artists, including Dove Award winner Aaron Shust will lend their voices to raise awareness and money for those enslaved in our city. All funds are being donated to Wellspring For Girls, a safe house ministry for underage girls coming out of the sex industry.

Stand for truth.
Speak up for the downtrodden.
Rock For Justice.

Buy tickets here

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Belief: the power behind rebellion

The latest Adbusters article is really, really good. It's entitled They believed, why can't I?. It's good, not because I think everything this guy says is true (because I don't). It's good because he's wrestling with the paradox of belief and skepticism. He talks about the ideal of rebellion being attractive, yet it seems that most of this rebellion is shallow because there's no belief behind it, only unbelief in something else. Here's one paragraph:
"Ask liberals in the United States today what they believe in. They might tell you they want an end to the war in Iraq, that they desire universal health care or are inspired by Barack Obama. But these aren’t beliefs, they’re actions, policies and politicians. A belief is something like universal peace or a caring society or a world with great leaders (or no leaders at all). It is only by believing in such grand impossibilities that small accomplishments are possible. This is why liberals, for nearly two decades now, have accomplished nothing. Many contemporary radicals are little better. They have grand beliefs but little desire to realize what they believe. Doing so would jeopardize their outsider status as rebels. As such, their belief is in bad faith."
And then he says:
"Belief motivates. It gets you up in the morning and headed toward the horizon; it makes you act to bring about what you know is impossible."
Go read the rest here

The article reminds me of a chapter entitled The Suicide of Thought in Chesterton's Orthodoxy. He sums up the modern rebel this way:
“The new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it...By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Combining both devotion and study

John Piper gives a plea to his church for them to incorporate both:

1) Daily prayerful meditation seeking personal application of God’s word to your own heart and life.


2) Regular study in a class or with a book where the (living or dead) teacher has seen more than you have and can give you insight in 30 minutes that might otherwise take you ten years to see.

Studying the Pentateuch for Jesus' Sake

"Study the living tar out of the Pentateuch"
This is what Dr. Fesko, my ST professor, said last night. Why? Because Jesus is all over the place. We will see Jesus more clearly, understand Paul & Peter more thoroughly, as we come to understand these five books.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Crisis of Credit video

Roy posted this really interesting video explaining current credit crisis:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We will behonld the pain become the pearl

The Pearl is the name of a song written by Emmylou Harris. It's a beautiful song, one that I first heard covered by Matthew Perryman Jones. Check out the lyrics, and you can watch her perform it here.
O the dragons are gonna fly tonight
They're circling low and inside tonight
It's another round in the losing fight
Out along the great divide tonight

We are aging soldiers in an ancient war
Seeking out some half remembered shore
We drink our fill and still we thirst for more
Asking if there's no heaven what is this hunger for?

Our path is worn our feet are poorly shod
We lift up our prayer against the odds
And fear the silence is the voice of God

And we cry Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah

Sorrow is constant and the joys are brief
The seasons come and bring no sweet relief
Time is a brutal but a careless theif
Who takes our lot but leaves behind the grief

It is the heart that kills us in the end
Just one more old broken bone that cannot mend
As it was now and ever shall be amen

And we cry Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah

So there'll be no guiding light for you and me
We are not sailors lost out on the sea
We were always headed toward eternity
Hoping for a glimpse of Gaililee

Like falling stars from the universe we are hurled
Down through the long loneliness of the world
Until we behold the pain become the pearl

Cryin´ Allelujah Allelujah
We cry Allelujah

Friday, March 20, 2009

Basketball provides little bits of glory

Brett McCracken has some good thoughts on the reason why March Madness is so captivating. Here's the conclusion of his post:
"You know the moment in a basketball game when your team is down by a dozen or so points, but makes a run and brings it to within two? And then the crowd rises to its feet, loudly cheering, and the team gets a new bounce in its step, hitting a long three to take the lead? That moment, with the deafening noise and dispirited opponents losing control—is a moment when you can touch the glory, where you glimpse—dare I say it—the divine. You get goosebumps, you slap a stranger’s hand, and you raise your voice to the rafters for the glory to continue.

In these moments I envision God smiling at us humans and thinking, they are feeling it in small doses. Unfortunately, many of us leave these sporting “highs” without thinking that maybe they point to something greater that surrounds us. What if sport really is a gift from God? What if the blessings of sport are only a fraction of what is available to us? I think it probably saddens God when the good things in life—sports, natural beauty, art, etc—are cheapened and seen only as ends unto themselves; not as the signposts to a greater grace that exists in the world.

And so we should not cheapen basketball by writing off its “trivial” place in the grand scheme of things. Instead we should realize that the small wonders and momentary blessings matter in life. Why? Because the existence of rays of light implies a vast sun, and if we ever want to comprehend something that vivid, we should start by taking the light in small doses, wherever we can find it. "

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let me know how fleeting I am

At the heart of Lewis's short essay entitled On Living in an Atomic Age is an incredibly important thought: we are going to die. Concerning this world, our lives our mortal. And this very fact should shape the way we live our lives. This is what Lewis is driving at in the essay.

Lewis wrote the essay in 1948, three years after the atomic bomb was used on Japan in World War II. No doubt, people around the world become frightened at the notion that they too could be destroyed by this nuclear weapon.

In order to apply Lewis's thoughts to today's time, we can simply replace "atomic bomb" with "terrorist attack" (or any way of dying that strikes fear in your heart). He begins the essay by saying that people think far too much about the atomic bomb. He goes on:
“you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways…It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”
Instead of worrying, he says:
“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies but they need not dominate our minds.”
And finally he gives the lesson explicitly:
“What the wars and the weather and the atomic bomb have really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and…which we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, so far as it goes, a good thing. We have been waked from a pretty dream, and now we can begin to talk about realities.”
The reality is that "the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:17). And may we pray with the Psalmist: "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why Peter Singer makes the New Atheists nervous

Dinesh D'Souza wrote a great article yesterday about Peter Singer. Singer is an atheist that seems to make the "new atheists" nervous:
"Some of Singer's critics have called him a Nazi and compared his proposals to Hitler's schemes for eliminating those perceived as unwanted and unfit. A careful reading of his work, however, shows that Singer is no Hitler. He doesn't want state-sponsored killings. Rather, he wants the decision to kill to be made by private individuals like you and me. Instead of government-conducted genocide, Singer favors free-market homicide.

Why haven't the atheists embraced Peter Singer? I suspect it is because they fear that his unpalatable views will discredit the cause of atheism. What they haven't considered, however, is whether Singer, virtually alone among their numbers, is uncompromisingly working out the implications of living in a truly secular society, one completely purged of Christian and transcendental foundations. In Singer, we may be witnessing someone both horrifying and yet somehow refreshing: an intellectually honest atheist."
(HT:Justin Taylor)

We aren't mere atoms

In a message to atomists, C.S. Lewis says this in Present Concerns:
“You can’t, except in the lowest animal sense, be in love with a girl if you know (and keep on remembering) that all the beauties both of her person and of her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by the collision of atoms, and that your own response to them is only a sort of psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes. You can’t go on getting any very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditioned to like it.”
Thankfully we were made in God's image, thus being able to appreciate beauty in people and in the arts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Over at the Resurgence blog, Mark Driscoll gives a remarkable account of the man behind the day. As an Englishman, who was once sold into slavery in Ireland, Patrick returned to the country of his slave days to accomplish great things:
"Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery."
Read the whole thing

How practicality has influenced philosophy and evangelism

In Present Concerns, C.S. Lewis writes an essay entitled Modern man and his categories of thought. He begins the essay by talking about how the earliest missionaries (the Apostles) preached to three sorts of men: Jews, Judaizing Gentiles, and Pagans. He argues that all three classes had a belief in the supernatural. All were conscious of sin and feared divine judgment. In this day, he explains, almost no one shares these ideas. He concludes the essay with this thought:
“I sometimes wonder whether we shall not have to re-convert men to real Paganism as a preliminary to converting them to Christianity. If they were Stoics, Orphics, Mithraists, or (better still) peasants worshipping the Earth, our task might be easier.”
What's most interesting in this essay is that he points out six causes for this shift. Of those six, I wanted to highlight two: the Emancipation of Women and Practicality (which are very closely related).

To begin, it should be noted that he is all for most freedoms women now experience in civil and social arenas. He just notes a change in the way conversation has shifted. For instance, he says:
“Any mixed society thus becomes the scene of wit, banter, persiflage, anecdote – of everything in the world rather than prolonged and rigorous discussion on ultimate issues, or of those serious masculine friendships in which such discussion arises...The only serious questions now discussed are those which seem to have a ‘practical’ importance, for these satisfy the intense practicality and concreteness of the female...But the proper glory of the masculine mind, its disinterested concern with truth for truth’s own sake, with the cosmic and the metaphysical, is being impaired.”
Dang females :). Seriously though, I'm not sure how much I agree that it is the woman's fault for causing us men to have less serious discussion and to speak more pragmatically, but I think the truth of the evolution of conversation is there.

In talking specifically about how practicality has affected the shift in our thinking, he says:
“Man is becoming as narrowly ‘practical’ as the irrational animals. In lecturing to popular audiences I have repeatedly found it almost impossible to make them understand that I recommended Christianity because I thought its affirmations to be objectively true. They are simply not interested in the question of truth or falsehood. They only want to know if it will be comforting, or ‘inspiring’, or socially useful.”
It's amazing how relevant Lewis is to today's postmodern culture. Pragmatism trumps objectivity, then and now. Let's seek to avoid this.

(I'd love to hear your thoughts)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ode to Chic-fil-a

I thought this was funny. This is dedicated to my friend George.

(HT:Steve McCoy

Those who want Heaven most

I think the idea of "going green" is a good thing. But it's important to not make it the main thing. We should be a good steward of this planet, but not in order to save it. Nature, C.S. Lewis says, is a sinking ship. He goes on to say the following in Present Concerns, in an essay entitled On Living in an Atomic Age:
“For it is part of our spiritual law never to put survival first: not even the survival of our species. We must resolutely train ourselves to feel that the survival of Man on this Earth, much more of our own nation or culture or class, is not worth having unless it can be had by honorable and merciful means.”
“Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs. Those who care for something else more than civilization are the only people by whom civilization is at all likely to be preserved. Those who want Heaven most have served Earth best. Those who love Man less than God do most for Man.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

Looking for a Job?

Marty Nemko wrote two great articles recently about finding a job.

1. What do I do if I got fired today?
2. One week job search strategy

Somewhat related, he also gave a speech to graduates at Columbia (MO) college back in December. He talks about spending and saving as well as some other helpful things. Check it out

(HT:Taylor Brooks

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Calvinism according to Time Magazine

Time says New Calvinism is #3 in the top 10 ideas shaping the world right now. You can read the article here

(HT:The Resurgence)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Thoughts on Exegetical Preaching

I thought Michael had some great things to say regarding Monday's post. Here is his comment:
"I think it is a subtly self-centered or man-centered basis that leads us to despise exegetical preaching. If we believe the task is to 'read the times' and then apply an appropriate answer from the whole scope Scripture, we must believe that the fundamental need lies in a smart use of Scripture. We've assumed a role that's not ours; we've assumed we have something to offer, something to say. (And sometimes there might be good reason for that approach - in writing a book, in giving a specific seminar, teaching a class, or just in discussion with friends, etc.)

But if this approach is taken in the time slot traditionally assigned to 'preaching the Word' then we forfeit (at least one opportunity for) what we need most of all: to hear from God Himself. Do we trust in our own insight and resourceful citing of Scripture (almost as a tool to support our message)? Or do we believe, whatever our current situations might be, that what we need more than anything else is to see and treasure Christ? If we're trusting in Him - not in ourselves, at some level - then we'll want to hear His Word, to get on His 'agenda,' to absorb His perspective, even if to do that I am required to put my personal issues on the back-burner and trust that He cares for me.

I would not think that a strictly verse-by-verse approach is always necessarily called for. Of course, some consideration for the particular audience and thoughtful selection of the Word is required - essentially the same reasons that we have services in English instead of Latin or Greek or Hebrew. So, I definitely think that pastors must thoughtfully consider their congregation's particular need and should responsibly seek to bring the Word to them.

And I would be very comfortable giving Andy Stanley the benefit of the doubt - that he's doing just that. But underneath whatever particular approach we take there should be a fundamental trust in God's Word, not our own. Our mentality should be that people need to hear from God - and not necessarily on the topics they would choose - or that we would choose for them. In some respects, the very thing we need is to be removed from our own perspective, to be immersed in a Biblical perspective. Then, when we return to the everyday practical concerns, we'll see them more accurately. And we'll have a high view of Christ's glory, and if we embrace Him, we'll have what we essentially need in any setting.

Consider what Dietrich Bonhoeffer says about reading the Psalms: 'We also ought not to select Psalms at our own discretion, thinking that we know better what we ought to pray than does God himself. To do that is to dishonor the prayer-book of the Bible' (Psalms, p.26)."

Lukewarm and Lovin' It

I listened to a sermon yesterday entitled Lukewarm and Lovin' It by Francis Chan. I had heard about Francis through various people. Everyone who mentions him has nothing but good things to say. Saturday, a friend told me to specifically check this sermon out. So I did, and I'm glad I did.

It's a message given back in October of 2006. He gives some basic global wealth statistics and ends up using Luke 18 and Revelation 3 as his main texts. His main points that stuck with me were:

1) I'm filthy rich
2) I find way too much security in my possessions
3) I am in serious danger of being lukewarm and not caring

Do yourself a favor. Download the Cornerstone Church podcast (Francis's church) and get this message from 10/1/06. Be careful though, it's a dangerous message. It just might cause you to rearrange your entire life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will the Church be the Church for Homosexual Christians?

This article, entitled “A Few Like You”: Will the Church be the Church for Homosexual Christians?, is written by a guy named Wesley Hill. It is a great look into what it's like to be a Christian who struggles with same-sex desires. At one point, he says this:
"If it weren’t for other people, I don’t think I’d make it. For me to live faithfully before God as a sexually-abstinent homosexual Christian must be to trust that God in Christ can meet me in my loneliness not simply with God’s own love but with God’s love mediated through the human faces and arms of my fellow believers."
(HT:Justin Taylor)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Elizabeth Grace Prusa

Tonight, right on her due date, Elizabeth Grace Prusa was born. She's a healthy 8 lbs, 3 ounces & 20 inches. Anna's healthy, but tired. And I think Robert is just excited to be a dad. Here he is with her: Here I am holding her (a little scary at first, but I think I got the hang of it):And here she is with the happy parents:

Human trafficking in Atlanta

Just in case you haven't heard much about the injustice of human trafficking here in Atlanta, check out this video:

Every Christian is a Theologian

Steve Timmis, from The Resurgence:
"We’ve turned the task of theology over to academia, and created a title for a select group of people to wear like a badge of honour: Look at me, I’m a theologian! But if evangelical theology is the truth about God in Christ, then all Christians are theologians in every sense that matters.

We’ve compounded the problem by seeing theology as the articulation of abstract and often difficult intellectual concepts. But the only theology worthy of the name is applied theology: theology that is worked out at street level in the messiness of life. Election is not a doctrine to be discussed only by professionals in the comfort of a study, but by a group of believers so that they are humbled and thrilled by God’s choice. Total depravity isn’t just something to be argued over in a lecture room, but faced up to by a group of saved sinners as they cry out to the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes. Calvin was right in a number of things, not least when he said, 'Doctrine is an affair, not of the tongue, but of life.'”

Andy Stanley's thoughts on exegetical preaching

Ed Stetzer recently interviewed Andy Stanley here. One question he asked was:

What do you think about preaching verse-by-verse messages through books of the Bible?

Stanley's answer:
"Guys that preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible--that is just cheating. It's cheating because that would be easy, first of all. That isn't how you grow people. No one in the Scripture modeled that. There's not one example of that.

All Scripture is equally inspired, but not all Scripture is equally applicable or relevant to every stage of life. My challenge is to read culture and to read an audience and ask: What is the felt need? Or perhaps what is more important, what is an unfelt need they need to feel that I can address? Because if they don't feel it, then they won't address it."
Although I believe Andy is doing some good things in his ministry, I think he is entirely wrong on this point.

(HT:Matt Adair)

Friday, March 06, 2009

We must come...but we can't

God commands us to do things that we have no ability to do. For instance, this happens in salvation.

John Duncan was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland and a missionary to the Jews in Hungary. John Piper quotes John Duncan here:
"As long as I am told that I must come to God, and that I can come, I am left to suppose that some good thing, or some power of good remains in me, and I arrogate to myself that which belongs to Jehovah. The creature is exalted, and God is robbed of His glory.

If, on the other hand, I am told that I cannot come to God, but not also that I must come, I am left to rest contented at a distance from God, I am not responsible for my rebellion, and God Jehovah is not my God.

But if we preach that sinners can't come, and yet must come, then is the honour of God vindicated, and the sinner is shut up. Man must be so shut up that he must come to Christ, and yet know that he cannot. He must come to Christ, or he will look to another, when there is no other to whom he may come; he cannot come, or he will look to himself.

This is the gospel vice, to shut up men to the faith. Some grasp at one limb of the vice and some at the other, leaving the sinner open - but when a man is shut up that he must and cannot, he is shut up to the faith - shut up to the faith, and then would he be shut up in the faith. God is declared to be Jehovah, and the sinner is made willing to be saved by Him, in His own way, as sovereign in His grace."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The SOLD Project

Thanks to Rachel who commented on yesterday's post, I am now aware about an organization called The SOLD Project:
"The SOLD Project is a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering individuals to stop child prostitution before it begins. SOLD is a film and a movement. Our hope is to tell the stories of children affected by prostitution, and allow those stories to empower you towards action."
They are currently on tour to bring awareness to human trafficking specifically in Thailand. For those of you in the Atlanta area, they will be at Emory University on Thursday, March 19 at 6:30pm. Make an effort to go to learn more about this injustice, especially because of how prevalent this industry is in our own city.

Here's the trailer to the film:

The SOLD Project: Thailand trailer from The SOLD Project on Vimeo.

Arrested Development Chicken Dances

If you've never seen Arrested Development, it is/was a brilliantly funny show. Here's a clip showing a compilation of one of my favorite things about the show...the Chicken Dance:

(HT:Paste Magazine)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Help victims of sex trafficking in Georgia

If you live in Georgia, go to this site today to sign a petition to help those who are victims of child sex trafficking. The bill will be voted on tomorrow and, if passed will charge people who visit strip clubs a $5 fee that will go directly to victims of sex trafficking.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lewis on Equality

Many props to Roy for directing my attention to Present Concerns by C.S. Lewis. While I'm reading through it right now, I might have a few more posts regarding the essays in the book.

First, here are Lewis's thoughts on equality:
“Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.”
“I do not think that equality is one of those things (like wisdom or happiness) which are good simply in themselves and for their own sakes. I think it is in the same class as medicine, which is good because we are ill.”

Monday, March 02, 2009

Thoughts on advancing the church by political means

Jonathan Merritt's most recent post:
Steve Monsma, a senior research fellow at the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College and author of Healing for a Broken World, recently received a brochure from an evangelical organization. The pamphlet stated,

With strategic partnerships in Washington, D.C., it [the organization] is able to be proactively involved in the effort to reclaim America for Christ. Whether delivering petitions; encouraging constituents to respond to critical legislation with letters, faxes, phone calls, and email; fighting for qualified judicial nominees; or registering voters; the [name of organization] aims to provide a megaphone for the collective voice of Christ's church.

Reflecting on this, Monsma comments, "There is a problem here, is there not? How, according to this brochure, is America to be reclaimed for Christ? Not by Christians preaching the gospel, not by winning their neighbors to Christ, not by Christian husbands and wives creating homes of mutual respect and love. No, it is by political means: petitions, constituent pressures or public officials, working to affect the judicial nomination process, and voting. It is assumed that America can be led back to Christ by political means. But this cannot be right. Whenever in history the church has tried to advance the gospel by political means, the church has been corrupted and the gospel dishonored."

This story was brought to my mind after some recent comments on this blog. I am reminded that over the last quarter century, many Christians in America have developed the belief that our greatest responsibility is to affect change as citizens of an earthly nation. But even a cursory reading of scripture reminds us that first and foremost we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, and our ultimate responsibility is to live as one devoted to the Ruler of that realm. It is unfortunate that so many people get red-faced and wound up in an effort to mobilize Christianity into some political force to fulfill their duties as followers of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, our duties are fulfilled when we live like Jesus--preaching the Gospel, serving the sick and poor, and feeding the hungry.

We have a responsibility to be involved in the political process of this great nation, and if you have followed this blog for very long, you know I take my civic responsibility very seriously. We should rise up to oppose injustices and make good use of our political system. Yet, I am increasingly concerned by the number of Christians who go well beyond this. They fly into an apoplectic panic over political disagreements, reactively fling weak arguments like horseshoes on Independence Day, and demonize any who dare to disagree. We of all people should know that ultimate hope is not found in the hallowed halls of Washington, but in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps if we spent more time mobilizing people to serve others and share Christ, our communities and even our country would realize the change we so badly desire.
I agree wholeheartedly.