Archive for September 8th, 2011

It’s easy to become discouraged these days.  Those who don’t want to acknowledge the Creator God are bold.  Those who want to acknowledge Him long enough to blame Him for all the ills of the world are just as bold.  All worldviews except the Biblical worldview are tolerated on campuses.  A “progressive” media scoffs at the “downward-sloped forehead” people who live in virtually every state except along certain coastlines.  The culture, in general, is certainly more coarse.  Immodest.  Selfish.

New York state legislators and the governor rammed through so-called “gay marriage” earlier this year.  Iowa’s Supreme Court did the same last year.  Most Americans oppose this redefinition of marriage.  It has failed in 31 states where it was put to a vote.  But, through the efforts of a small group of activists, America appears to be closer to embracing a radical social experiment that will, without any doubt, undermine marriage, hurt children, and destroy religious liberty.

Of course, having said all this, I run the risk of being labeled “intolerant.”  “Judgmental.”  A “theocrat.” A “dominionist.”  Or a “Christianist.”  (I run this risk because I don’t believe that my faith is a private matter.)

In spite of all this, there is hope.  (Ezerwoman believes there is always hope.)  “Think about it,” writes Chuck Colson.  “Most surveys estimate the number of homosexuals in America is only around two to four percent.  If these few people, with the help of like-minded liberal elites, can bring America to this dangerous tipping point, why can’t faithful, orthodox Christians — who make up a far greater percentage of the population — bring some sanity to the critical moral and cultural issues of the day?”

Colson references an article in ScienceDaily.  “Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.”

Did you know this?  Why might this be?  Colson explains.  “Researchers at RPI note that this is possible because people do not like to hold unpopular opinions and are always seeking to reach a consensus.”

As a Lutheran, I’m compelled to ask, “What does this mean?”  It means there is hope!  Colson writes, “Those who stick to their intellectual and moral guns can eventually influence their undecided neighbors to adopt their views — and begin to spread them themselves!”

The very thing that Jesus did He asks us to do.  Jesus launched a movement that greatly impacted the world for good starting with twelve disciples.  Twelve ordinary, kinda-like-you-and-me people.  Those disciples became agents of change.  Modern Christians who use God’s Word and try to practice their faith wherever they are and in every circumstance are agents of change.

Well over 10 percent of the U.S. population, according to every survey conducted by any polling group, identifies itself as having unshakable Christian beliefs.  So why do we appear to be losing on so many cultural fronts?

Colson answers well.  “We need to be more active in sharing our beliefs about absolute truth in our pluralistic society.  Too many culture-war-weary Christians have retreated to the pews.  Too many so-called ‘Christian leaders’ are advising the rest of us to do the same.  Nonsense.  We must speak up.”

Second, says Colson, “we need to make our case confidently, winsomely, and positively.  The Christian worldview provides the only way to live rationally in the world.  It is the blueprint for human flourishing.  And it is visible whenever we defend the dignity of every man, woman, and child; when we feed the hungry and clothe the naked; and when our marriages and families and churches and schools are refuges for love and learning.”  (Breakpoint.org 8-19-11)

For most of my life, I’ve been surrounded by agents of change.  This was no accident.  God placed them in my life so that I could learn how to be one, too.

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We all know where we were ten years ago on 9/11.  I was privileged to be in the presence of our younger son who was studying flight manuals for the airline that had just hired him.  Together, we saw plane number two crash through the second of the twin towers.   Josh didn’t know it, but his life would be significantly changed by 9/11.  The airline industry struggled in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.  In all reality, every American’s life was affected by the attack on our country.

I began praying.  I called my husband who was in Omaha at the time watching Air Force One circle overhead.  I called my dad.  Our eldest son.  My brother and sister-in-law.  Other family members and friends.  It was important for me to know where everyone was and that they were o.k.  The prayers continued.

Ten years ago, 2,753 people — most of them our fellow citizens — died in the name of Islam.  The plot against America was strategically planned and carried out by Muslims jihadists who, after a great many daily prayers calling on the name of Allah, intended to gain their way into paradise.

This Sunday, a memorial event will be celebrated at Ground Zero.  Many people have expressed strong opinion about praying together where the towers once stood.  Others have expressed strong opinion in opposition of any kind of joint prayer.  But, are all religions the same?  Do we all pray to the same god?  Are all gods equal to the one true God — the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?  The Triune God of Old and New Testament?  The God who calls Himself “The Word made flesh” (John 1)?

Twelve days after the 9/11 attacks, the mayor of New York City called for a “Prayer for America” memorial service.  Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and Christians were given opportunity to “pray.”  Tragically, reports Michael Youssef, “every representative of Christian denominations, but one, judiciously avoided mentioning the unmentionable — Jesus Christ — out of political correctness.  There was only one elderly Armenian Orthodox bishop who dared to utter the name of our Savior, the Son of the living God.”  (onenewsnow.com 9-3-11)

God warned Moses before entering the Promise Land that His people must not fall into syncretism by mixing their worship with that of the Canaanites.  The Canaanites worshiped every sort of god, yet no god at all.  God’s people disobeyed.  They attempted to mix Yahweh — “I Am” — with the gods — “I think I am” — of false religions.

As I ponder on 9/11 and its significance for me, I think of all the freedoms I enjoy because I was born in this country.  These freedoms are hallmark of this extraordinary republic.  I want to pray faithful to the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods.”  I want to pray as a believer in the Triune God — one God who reveals Himself as Creator, Redeemer, and Encourager.  I want to pray as a Christian citizen motivated to push back evil even as I help build a culture on Truth.

I can.  I should.  I will.  But, my prayers will not be said at a prayer service where others are praying to Allah.  Buddha.  Mother god.  Where all voices are raised to what too many presume to be the “same god.”

My prayers and supplications to the Savior, Jesus Christ, will not be alone.  There will be countless — millions — of others.  No one can stop these prayers.  They will be lifted from churches.  Homes.  Small family circles.

God of grace and God of glory, on Your people pour Your power.  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage… for the facing of this hour (LSB 850) . . . in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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