Freedom to Go 'n Grow Together in Christ
It has been over 40 years since the SCOTUS discovered a constitutional right to abortion based on the "penumbras" and "emanations" of the Constitution. We are approaching 60 million abortions since Roe v Wade.
What is Going on
A Christian Response
This page is a feeble effort to answer the question: how should Christians respond to what is currently going on in the United States and in the world? It seems that every day brings more and more bad news; news that not many years ago would have been undeard of. This page will be under permanent construction, but for now the focus will be on two main categories:
What is going on.
What Christians should do about it.
Note that this page is very incomplete. Please send in your comments, recommendations, etc.
I hesitate to call it "radical" Islam because it is really very mainstream. It is clear that the "moderates" are the ones that seem out of synch with Islam, not the radicals. It is possible, however, that the moderates are just keeping a (very) low profile.
Radical LGBT Agenda
Not a very pleasant picture, is it? And this is quite tame compared to some of the images from gay pride events. The MSM does not care to publicize the more extreme elements of the LGBT movement. How would it impact the "movement" if they did? It certainly would not help.
Trashing the Constitution
(for more on the Constitution, check out our America's Foundation page)
All the issues that demand a response from Christians, either in whole or in part, are a result of the trashing of our Constitution. Much more below.
Does the executive branch feel bound by the Constitution? Does our judicial branch? What about the legislative? The sad fact is that none of them feel much constrained by the Constitution.
Just ask Christian business owners if they feel protected by the First Amendment. The attitude of the Left is that anyone in business who wants to run their business on Christian principles should be put out of business.
Did the founders intend for there to be two sets of laws, one for the governing and one for the governed? I don't think so.
Even Hamilton would be appalled at just what the federal government does these days. The Constitution (tenth amendment) makes it clear that the federal government has the authority to do only those things specifically spelled out by the Constitution itself. Everything else is left to the states or the people (us) themselves.
Seven years ago, most of us thought that race relations were pretty good, getting better, and didn't have too far to go in order to put the whole race business behind us. How wrong we were.
Now it is my personal belief that certain politicians (and others) are exacerbating the problem for political gain. We have seen a remarkable lack of positive leadership - or no leadership at all. For those of us who can remember 1968, we do not want to go there again. Yet that seems a distinct possibility.
And our newly re-energized race issues don't just involve the police. There is the newly discovered issue of "white privilege." White academics may feel good about rejecting their "whiteness," but for normal people, this is just another wedge being driven between the races.
Now if you are wondering just what to do, everything in the right hand column is applicable.
Sad to say, it took me a while to find a positive image like the one above. The negative ones are a dime a dozen.
The Collapse of the Family
As hard as it may be to believe, TV shows used to reflect what we call "family values." We only had a TV for some of my childhood, and we didn't watch a whole lot of shows. Yet almost all the shows displayed and supported values that even today we would want our kids to have. Off the top of my head, in addition to "Father Knows Best," there was "Leave it to Beaver," "Ozzie and Harriet" and "My Three Sons." Even shows that were not specifically "family" shows tended to support family values - like "Bonanza."
What were these "family values?" First and foremost, I would say the importance of families to stick together and support one another, through thick and thin - and that means divorce was rare, and children out of wedlock was unheard of. Next, that mom and dad really were much wiser than the kids. They might make mistakes now and then, but they kept their kids best interests at heart and gave good advice. Finally, they taught values to their kids, values that we, as Christians, wish were more prevalent today. What were these values? One very important one was work hard in school - homework comes before everything else. But I also like to look at the scout law, which covers most of these values: a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
That is the way things used to be. Today, not so much. What is the state of the family today?
You may or may not know that prior to the implementation of the "welfare state," the illegitimacy rate was well under 10% overall. Today it is over 40%. What is truly frightening is the shift in attitudes over just the last few years, as indicated by the chart above.
The statistics are truly frightening. The black illegitimacy rate is over 75%, but do not for a minute think that it is just a "black problem." The white rate is now pushing 30%.
Here are some more statistics:
In 1950, 78% of American households included a married couple. It is under 50% today.
Many more couples live together before marriage. For those that eventually marry, the divorce rate is significantly higher than for those who did not cohabit first.
Approximately one third of American children live in a household with no father present.
The average American spends 4 hours every day watching TV.
For additional depressing statistics, go here and here.
Rather than end on a sour note - and additional bad news is easy to provide - consider the following from the Heritage Foundation: A Marshall Plan for Marriage: Rebuilding Our Shattered Homes. This is a paper on public policy, so it says virtually nothing about what churches can do. For that, here is a good article from way back in 1995: How Churches Can Be Truly Pro-Family.
The Decline of the Church
When we talk about the decline of the church, we are not just speaking about a decline in membership. But such a decline is indisputable. Mainline protestant churches have been declining since the 1950's. Evangelical denominations have done much better. For example, the PCUSA (my former denomination) lost 46% of its membership between 1965 and 2005, while the Southern Baptists gained 51%. Lest we Southern Baptists get too carried away patting ourselves on the back, we only managed to gain 4% between 1995 and 2005, and have actually lost membership in the last decade. The numbers are even worse when we consider a growing population. Evangelical / conservative churches may be doing better than mainline / liberal churches, but that does not mean that collectively they are doing well. They are not. For all sorts of interesting statistics and other information, check out the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
But the church is not merely declining in numbers. Even among Christians, our faith is becoming a less critical part of our lives, and this trend seems to have accelerated in recent years. For example, between 1991 and 2009, approximately 45% consistently reported that they read from the Bible at least once per week. That number has dropped to just 33% today. And it isn't just Bible reading. Just since 2011, the percent who believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches has fallen from 48% to 33%. In just 5 years! If you want to see many more depressing statistics, check out this paper from the Barna Group: The Bible in America: 6-Year Trends.
What to do? Again, everything in the "What Christians Should do About it" (right-hand) column is applicable, but personal revival is where it all begins.
Am I getting carried away with this one? Most of us thought that this possibility ended with the end of the Cold War. But at least when dealing with the Soviet Union, we rightly considered our adversaries to be rational. This is no longer the case. It is bad enough that we are allowing countries with irrational leadership (Iran and North Korea) to develop nuclear weapons. But we are actively assisting Iran to achieve this goal. Is an all-out nuclear exchange likely? Probably not. But Israel is at risk, and there is always the possibility of terrorists acquiring a nuclear weapon (or being supplied one).
Black is White (and Vice Versa)
I'm not talking race relations - I've already covered them. Here I am talking about the perversion of our language to promote or support a particular agenda. For just a single example, consider abortion. We have "pro-choice," "women's health" and "reproductive rights," just for starters. Just look at the euphemisms used to avoid using the accurate term "abortion." If this were just limited to using euphemisms, it wouldn't be so bad. But we also resort to outright lies to avoid the truth in order to promote our agendas. Examples abound in the LGTB movement, but the truth (I use the term deliberately here) is that lying and prevaricating on hot-button issues is the norm, not the exception. And while I think the progressives are far worse, our side is guilty as well. Which leads us to ....
Loss of Civility
Politics is the typical example, but however much we might yearn for the "good old days," politics has never been very civil. We often read of "road rage" incidents, which certainly qualify. On a personal level, I see the lack of civility most prominently when looking at or making comments on the internet. Perhaps because of the anonymity afforded by the internet, many choose to let it all hang out. The most common form of debate seems to be insults and name-calling. If this sort of behavior were limited to the internet it would be bad enough. But it seems to be spilling over into personal relationships as well. Christians, do NOT get caught up in this. Always be civil, especially to those who strongly disagree with you. Question: has anyone ever changed their mind about something because someone on the other side was nasty and rude to them?
If feminism simply meant "empowering" women, there would be no problem. And indeed, "Christian feminism" sounds fairly benign. From Wikipedia: "Christian feminists believe that God does not discriminate on the basis of biologically-determined characteristics such as sex and race, but created all humans to exist in harmony and equality, regardless of race or gender." Sounds nice, but what is meant by "discriminate" and "equality?" The fundamental problem is that Christian feminists have tended to ally themselves with secular feminists, re-interpreting Scripture to conform to the progressive view of womanhood. Many feminist pastors identify as lesbians and view abortion as a positive good. And it goes downhill from there.
What Christians Should do About it
Don't Sit on the Sidelines
Remember Richard Nixon and the "Silent Majority" speech? He gave this speech in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War and long before Watergate. Guess what? Nixon was right about the silent majority. If you watched the news between 1969 and the 1972 election, you would have thought that the entire country was rising up against Richard Nixon and his policies, especially those concerning the Vietnam War. Then Nixon won almost 61% of the popular vote in 1972.
There really was a "silent majority." It really was a majority, and it really was silent. But it was the vocal minority that had the last laugh. In the long run, they were the ones that impacted public policy and well as public attitudes and perceptions - and they wrote the history. And all because that silent majority remained silent - until they were a majority no more.
As Christians, we need to speak out. And that means speaking out to the world, not just quietly among like-minded believers. More on this subject to follow, but for now ponder the following. Would SSM be the law of the land if opponents were as vocal as the proponents? Certainly the MSM is more inclined to promote the other side. But how many of us made a "public" statement, defending traditional marriage to proponents of SSM, signing petitions, writing to our representatives or attending a demonstration?
But First Things First
There are a number of steps - and they are mingled in somewhat random order below - that we as Christians need to take in response to the direction our country is heading. Unlike some projects where step 1 must be completed before we can begin step 2, we can (and should) be actively working on all these steps simultaneously. Yet there is some logical sequence, though hardly fixed. We do not want to neglect the early steps in favor of the latter ones. Consider the following ordered list (always subject to change!).
Personal Revival (see our Personal Revival page).
Evangelism (see our Easy Evangelism page)..
National Revival (see our Revival in America page)..
Public Activism - including running for office (see our Actions page).
Directly impacting government, courts and law.
As an example, we should certainly be fighting to end abortion. But can anyone dispute that the fight would be much easier if we first, with God's help, experienced a national revival?
Please note that while it is possible for us as individuals to be active in all of the above, we can often be much more effective if we
Actively participate in our local church. And it always helps to Promote Your Church.
Develop a Thick Skin
OK, so I'm showing water off a duck rather than thick skin. But the principle is the same. If you stand up for what the Bible says, you will be called names. "Bigot" and "hater" seem to be the current favorites. It doesn't matter that you really are neither and have shown no evidence of being one. The fact that you disagree with someone based on Biblical principles means you will be called these names and worse. Take it as a badge of honor and never, never, never respond in kind. Is it hate to try to bring people to Christ? Is it hate to try to get people to leave a lifestyle that can keep them from God and take 20 years from their lives? The list is endless.
One of the main reasons more people did not speak out against SSM was the fear of being called bad names. You cannot let that deter you.
Know Your Bible - and More
You cannot promote or defend Biblical values if you don't know what they are. And as Christians, we need to take positions based on what the Bible says. But that doesn't mean that we can only promote and defend based on the Bible. For almost every "social issue," there is a secular case to be made as well as a biblical one. A biblical argument may suffice if you are debating a reasonably serious Christian, but will be totally unpersuasive to a non-believer or a casual Christian. So be prepared to discuss issues, from a biblical perspective - and more.
Note: I will be building resource pages on various issues to provide info on how to make your case from both a biblical and a secular perspective. Please send in your suggestions for topics and resources.
Run for Office
Franklin Graham thinks more Christians - especially pastors - should be running for office. It doesn't have to be the Senate. The local school board would be just fine. Sadly, some have bought into the notion that you have to set your religious faith aside when you are in a political office.
Evangelize, Evangelize, Evangelize
OK, so it isn't always easy. Yet it can be easy, which is why we have our easy evangelism page to help you out and get you started. Evangelism is pretty foundational. If we want to turn our country around (to say nothing of doing Christ's work that we are all called to do), this is for all of us. You may not be ready to run for office, but you can absolutely evangelize. Pick one of our easy evangelism tips and get started.
Pray for Revival
Praying Nehemiah's and Daniel's great prayers - suitably modified for our country - is a good place to start. We have a revival in America page which includes those prayers and much more. If you wish a printable copy of those prayers, just click here.
Revival Begins With Us
It isn't non-Christians that need to be revived. Revival isn't something that needs to happen to "others." Revival must begin within Christ's church and that means it needs to begin with us as individual Christians. So check out our personal revival page to help get a jump start in reviving your Christian walk.
I see far too many quotes like the one above. And far too many people follow that advise. What is their solution to their perception of being "disrespected?" To be disrespectful (or worse) in return.
Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. And he told us to turn the other cheek. That is, we are to treat everyone with the respect they are due as children of God. And we are all children of God. And we are not to return tit for tat. This doesn't mean we cannot disagree with others, that we cannot be concerned for their salvation, that we cannot think they are doing wrong or even evil. But our objective should always be to bring people to Christ and to do that we must treat them with R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
However, treating people with respect does not mean you can't challenge them. Do NOT use this as an excuse to not engage at all. Some people seem like they deserve no respect, but some of them will respond favorably when they are treated with respect, "deserved" or not.
Be Active in Your Local Church
In Small Groups.