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Daily Archives: November 7, 2016
In C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, the demon Screwtape advises his protege and nephew Wormwood to convince his human target that politics are a key part of his faith. “Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part,” Screwtape said. That way, faith would become a mere pretext for politics…
First of all, Graham moved from biblical inerrancy and literalism to a more dynamic sense of biblical infallibility. The Bible was authoritative not because it was historically or scientifically accurate in every detail, but because it did what it promised to do: infallibly bring people to faith in Christ. Graham believed in the Bible’s factual accuracy, but that was not the main point. The Bible held authority because it worked.
The second change focused on the the new birth. In the early days Graham called for something like a “ready-set-go” conversion experience. Stand up, walk to the front, sign a decision card, join a church, and then witness to your new-found faith. But over time Graham saw that people could show their commitment in other ways. He allowed that many people, including his wife, Ruth, never experienced a single moment of decision. They just grew up “saved” and never saw themselves otherwise. And he knew too that many inquirers were coming back to Christ after their first love had grown cold.
Graham’s notion of the spiritual and moral results that should be the fruit of new birth also evolved. His primary emphasis always fell on individual conversion. But he also came to see the need for intentionally working for social reform, sometimes through legislation. Converted hearts did not automatically produce converted hands.
The Church of England still understands herself to be the church of the nation: bishops in the Lords, royal weddings, choral evensong and, above everything, availability to all ”” ”˜a presence in every community’, as the strapline goes. I am not the chaplain to the congregation, but rector for everyone in the parish, or that’s the idea. The danger with urban ministry is that this understanding is shared absolutely with all those who would like something free from the vicar ”” money, food, shelter, financial advice, lock-picking, drain-clearing, etc. The expectation that the vicar can help still runs deep among those lost communities of London folk who survive at the edge of things….
As a cross-cultural missionary, I was often shocked by the sanctuaries we made of our own homes. While we worked with families who were crowded into small, basic apartments, we would go home to what would seem to be our relocated American or British residences with all their mod cons. Outside the home we would be missionaries, not afraid to get our hands dirty. But then we would come home to recharge and would lock the doors behind us. I was also shocked when we occasionally saw the opposite approach: a missionary who was prepared to live like and with the people they were reaching. This integrated approach inevitably reaped much more fruit.
Mission is ontology. It’s a way of being in the world ”“ not a temporary activity we engage in. It’s more than a programme, more than a hobby, more than something we do with a segment of our lives. It’s a permanent posture towards our world and our God. Jesus is the Son sent into the world to serve the Father all the time. Like a stick of rock, Christ is mission all the way through ”“ wherever you cut him he bleeds the compassion and grace of God. So must we, as living sacrifices. We need to live out our commitment to the people we are reaching out to, above our commitment to the projects themselves.
We still celebrate the instant over the long-term, the miraculous over the mundane, the crisis over the process, the body over the soul, at our peril. We need a gospel that is big enough to cope with the complexity of life in order to live lives of faithfulness to our God.
This year’s presidential election may well be the most divisive in U.S. history, pitting liberals and conservatives against one another perhaps more bitterly than ever before, and the two major-party candidates seem in many ways to reflect cultural ills and political corruption that have been brewing for decades. On both the right and the left, countless citizens appear to believe that one candidate or the other will bring about the “end of America.” Conservatives argue that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will, among other things, transform the Supreme Court into a progressive super-legislature to impose its anti-democratic will for a generation. Meanwhile, liberals maintain that Republican nominee Donald Trump will deport millions of minorities and exacerbate existing racial tension to the detriment of less-privileged Americans.
It is easy to allow the evident failures of our political system ”” culminating in the simultaneous nomination of perhaps the two most dishonest, corrupt presidential nominees in U.S. history ”” to consume our focus and destroy our confidence in the future of our country. But as these seemingly endless debates absorb our attention and ongoing rancor pollutes our national dialogue, millions of people around the world face genocide, and they fear for their lives and those of their children.
I loved this–even the accents!
O Lord our God, who dost call whom thou willest and send them whither thou choosest: We thank thee for sending thy servant Willibrord to be an apostle to the Low Countries, to turn them from the worship of idols to serve thee, the living God; and we entreat thee to preserve us from the temptation to exchange the perfect freedom of thy service for servitude to false gods and to idols of our own devising; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
— John McCafferty (@jdmccafferty) November 7, 2016
O Lord of life, who didst raise from the sleep of death the daughter of Jairus the ruler: Extend to us, we pray thee, thy quickening power, that we may know the life more abundant which thou didst come to bring; for the glory of thy holy name.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!
For the first time in 500 years, pilgrims can get a glimpse of Jesus’s tomb ”” though for some, it is not worth queueing for an hour to see it.
Last week, conservationists started a frantic 60-hour dig inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on the spot where Christ’s body was supposedly taken after the crucifixion. They lifted the marble slab covering the tomb, which was last moved in the 1500s. Beneath it was another slab, this one inscribed with a cross, dating back to centuries before.
After two days of work, as a church-imposed deadline approached, workers finally found the limestone slab on which Jesus is said to have been laid after his crucifixion in AD33. They soon sealed it up again, but they carved a window to give visitors a view of the tomb’s walls.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Watch it all, this was shown by my colleague Craige Borrett during his morning sermon.
The question of whether pot should be legal is a big theme on state ballots this year. Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada are also voting on measures that would make the drug legal to possess and use in small amounts for people over 21. Four other states are voting to legalize medical marijuana: Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota.
According to the Atlantic, recent polls show that voters in the five states deciding on recreational marijuana are leaning toward legalization. If all the measures passed, marijuana would be legal for 25 percent of the country’s population, up from where it is currently, at 5 percent.
That echoes a national trend. According to a recent Gallup poll, public support for legal pot has climbed to 60 percent ”” the highest level recorded by the polling group in nearly 50 years. The move toward acceptance might mean more politicians will soon join Pelosi in openly supporting similar measures across the country.