Frankie Schaeffer grew up in a modern, politically radical, Americanized “Christianity”. He is not pleased with what it teaches or how it operates. In a recent article he gives a fairly thorough explanation of his concerns and how they relate to current political personalities – e.g. Michelle Bachmann. I have to agree with much of what Schaeffer says. Here’s an example: America has a problem: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously. America has a blessing: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously.
I’ve experienced it a number of times – many of my Christian acquaintances can get so worked up with contempt and even hatred for their government. They often seem to have no respect at all for the idea of government interfering in people’s lives in any way – or at least not in well-off or successful people’s lives. We’ve all heard it – something like: I. It is NOT the government’s place to tell people how they should spend their money or how they should treat their employees. That’s an abuse of freedom and a terrible threat to all of us. So it is anti-American and very unChristian. And it will lead to socialism and Communism and fascism and tyranny.
A friend recently asked what it means that I use “emergent evangelical” as my religious affiliation on FaceBook. So here’s a look at what the phrase means to me. I. “Evangelicals” Today “Evangelical” has come to be a bad word in much of American society, for several reasons.
Former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright said this in an email I got this week. Every new president inherits headaches, but President Obama has inherited an entire emergency room. Our struggle to reclaim our standing in the world has been challenging, but we are making progress. Together, we will need to continue to speak up, fight back, and give President Obama the support he needs to succeed. The President told David Letterman last night that we were losing 700,000 jobs a month when he became President. And that’s just in one bay of a pretty large emergency room. And Connie kept saying, while Obama was on Letterman, that he just always seems so calm, so reasonable, and not at all “full of himself.” Sort of like a grown-up should be! Or a Christian.
Connie and I recently watched Karol: A Man Who Became Pope. It portrays Karol Wojtyla’s life from his late teens, when the Nazi’s invaded his city and nation, through WWII, then through decades of Communist rule (as a satellite of the Soviet Union), up to the day he became Pope John Paul II (1978). I. A Real-life Example: The Future Pope Working Under Nazi and Communist Oppression in Poland Karol Wojtyla, (pronounced something like “VoyTEEya”) was known as a man of prayer, and it seems to me that his life-long habits (and style) of prayer – developed in his late teens – were a key factor in his effectiveness in the real world and in his continuing rise to greater and greater worldly power. He was introduced to “mystical prayer” early in WWII by an older man (Jan Tyranowsky) who became a spiritual mentor to several young adults. I was familiar with the story from previous study, and though this version is a movie, not a documentary, it still rings pretty true. One poignant scene shows him discovering a poster announcing the murder (“execution”) of a good friend, a young priest, by the Nazis. Wojtyla sinks to the ground
Here’s the article I wrote for our church’s monthy newsletter for January. We need, want, and should want lots of good things. But I was looking for a list specific to a local church’s situation. This is derived from the first of the two letters we have from Paul to the church of the Thessalonians. While it is local-church specific, it seems to me to have profound applications and implications far beyond that scope. What Does God Want To Do Here in 2009? That question – What does God want to do here in 2009? – no doubt has some answers we cannot figure out here in January. But I think God has made a lot of it pretty apparent. Here’s a short Bible study from I Thessalonians – looking for what had been seen, or would be seen, as desirable developments in the believers in Thessalonica. God wants to see more people doing / experiencing these things, and these things being done better and more consistently. What do you think of this list? Does any part of it particularly stand out to you? PEOPLE WITH FAITH AND LOVE.
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 Is God Sending Joy for ALL People? Yes! Joy to those feeling terrible because they’ve been inattentive to God: All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:9-10 Yes! Joy to those for whom God has already done great things: The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3 Yes! Joy to those weeping, who desperately need God to do great things:
Martin Luther apparently liked to write about faith. I love his saying that faith “does not even ask whether good works SHOULD be done”! God made humans. God loves the human race. It is the nature of the beast that when a human responds to God in faith there is engendered an impulse to do something or other GOOD. O, this faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing! It is impossible that it should not be ceaselessly doing that which is good. It does not even ask whether good works should be done; but before the question can be asked, it has done them, and it is constantly engaged in doing them. Certainly we can disagree about the effectiveness or long-term wisdom of some people’s acts of goodness – including our own.
Here are two very important words of advice we are not allowed to follow: 1. Pick your parents very carefully. 2. Pick the century and year of your birth carefully. Jeremiah, often called “the Weeping Prophet,” perhaps did ok in picking his parents, but he picked a horrible time-frame in which to work! Below is a list I found of short descriptions of this prophet.* 1. He was at once gentle and tenacious, affectionate and inflexible.
Here’s Obama on the significance of the Gospel: In an interview with Christianity Today magazine, Obama said this about his decision to accept Christ, What was intellectual and what was emotional joined, and the belief in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins, that through him we could achieve eternal life – but also that, through good works we could find order and meaning here on Earth and transcend our limits and our flaws and our foibles – I found that powerful.