This Week’s Colson Center Breakpoint Recap

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A Quote From Break Point This Week:

“An Originalist doesn’t at all mean that the current situation on the ground doesn’t matter. The idea that someone could tell you, ‘Here’s how I’m going to rule on any case having to do with the ACA…is to miss what’s there. There’s a sort of judicial care from Judge Barrett ” ~John Stonestreet~ 

What We Learned From the Amy Coney Barrett Hearings
Teacher Anxious on Preferred Pronoun Mandate Asks Shane and John for Advice
So-Called “Virginia Values Act” Undermines Religious Freedom

 

Truth, Love, and Stones of Remembrance

BreakPoint Journal

Truth, Love, and Stones of Remembrance

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John Stonestreet and David Carlson

“Remember the calamity of the Great Tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.” Those are the words inscribed on what are appropriately called “Tsunami stones,” markers left by previous generations in Japan that warn future generations of difficult lessons learned.

After decades with no tsunamis, especially given new technologies such as better seawalls and flood-proof construction, these kinds of warnings were increasingly seen more as relics than wisdom from past experience. They became easier to ignore and, as a result, in 2011, many perished.

The villagers of Aneyoshi, however, heeded the instructions their forebears placed on a tsunami stone in the 1930s, and they moved their village to higher ground. They not only survived the 2011 tsunami, but the one in 1960 as well.

When I learned about these stones recently from a friend, I immediately thought of a parable by G. K. Chesterton about those committed always to reform:

“… let us say, for the sake of simplicity, (there’s) a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.’”

In other words, we should never remove a fence until we know why it was put up in the first place.

There’s no doubt we live in a culture that’s quite committed to clearing away all kinds of moral fences in all areas of culture, often replacing them with new fences in new places. What used to be unthinkable is now unquestionable. What used to be unquestionable is now thought of as quaint, puritanical, and in some cases, oppressive and evil. What used to belong to families now belongs to the state. The guilty are now victims; the good guys now the bad guys; the essential now non-essential.

Even in the Church today, perhaps especially in the Church, there’s a great temptation to move fences, to lower or remove moral standards in a well-intentioned, but often misguided, attempt to be “welcoming.” Almost always, these moves are made in the name of “love,” as if the key missional strategy of the Church is to remove any and all barriers to the Gospel, including any that are inherent and essential to the Gospel itself.

Often the tsunami stones of moral truth, which the Church has embraced and taught faithfully for 2,000 years, are seen as obstacles to progress. The first and greatest commandment to “love God,” at least as we’ve long understood it, seems to be in conflict with the second one of “loving neighbor.” Truth and love are increasingly seen as incompatible in the fog of secularism and moral relativism. Believing the truth about human sexuality, which went unquestioned in Christian history until yesterday, is considered unloving. Speaking that truth? Well, that’s downright cruel.

This, of course, gets it exactly backwards. What’s cruel, if moral realities do exist and if we live in a world designed and not accidental, is to remove fences and ignore stones. It’s cruel to tell someone who’s not okay that they are. It is not only possible to be loving and to tell the truth, it is in fact, impossible to be loving without the truth.

Learning to hold truth and love together, especially in a culture committed to their divorce, is now a key task of the Church.

In a wonderful scene near the beginning of C. S. Lewis’s “The Silver Chair,” Aslan is preparing a young Jill Pole for a rescue mission in Narnia. His instructions are clear, but his instructions about his instructions, even more clear:

“…first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. . . And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind… Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”

If this reminds you of God’s instructions to Israel in Deuteronomy, it should. Most of the Bible is about remembering. There is no way to live out what God has taught us and called us to, no way to love God or neighbor, without remembering.

At the most foundational level, each of the five modules of the Colson Center’s upcoming virtual event this month, “Truth. Love. Together.” is all about remembering. In our culture, there is no remembering without defining. The first module, featuring Os Guinness, Sean McDowell, Abdu Murray, and Natasha Crain is about defining, or remembering, what truth is. The second module, with Joni Eareckson Tada, Pastor Chris Brooks, Louis Markos, and me is about defining, or remembering, what love is.

From remembering, we move into doing. In module three, Andy Crouch, Brett Kunkle, Lauren and Michael McAfee, and Max McLean will challenge us on how we can “Become People of Truth and Love.” In module four, the great apologist Lee Strobel, Promod Haque, Uju Ekeocha, and J. Warner Wallace will remind us “Why Telling the Truth Is an Act of Love” and how we can indeed do that–tell the truth in love. Finally, Katy Faust, J. P. DeGance, and this year’s Wilberforce Award Winner, Bob Fu, will teach us how to “Love the Victims of Lies” by speaking the truth.

This is a 360 degree experience on “Truth. Love. Together.” And, it is absolutely free. Just come to WilberforceWeekend.org to register. All five modules, with more than 20 sessions, will be available live or on demand. Again, the cost is free.

 

 

 

The Enduring Power of ‘A Christmas Carol’

BreakPoint

thumbnail_BP_12_09_19_Christmas Carol

The Enduring Power of ‘A Christmas Carol’

One hundred and seventy-four years ago, a British writer was horrified at the conditions under which children were made to labor in tin mines. He decided to write a pamphlet exposing these conditions. His intended title: “An Appeal to the People of England on Behalf of the Poor Man’s Child.”

Thank heavens the writer changed his mind. Instead of a pamphlet, he decided to write a novel making the same points. It’s filled with colorful characters—including an old man who goes about snarling “Bah, Humbug!”

Those two little words instantly reveal what book I’m talking about: the immortal“A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens. The book has never been out of print—and it illustrates why telling a good story is often the best way to communicate our beliefs.

Why does “A Christmas Carol” still resonate today? For the answer, I went to my friend Gina Dalfonzo, editor of Dickensblog. She told me “A Christmas Carol “is a book that “has everything: great sorrow and great joy, corruption and redemption, poverty and pain, hope and love.” And “it expresses the deep belief that even the worst person can change for the better.”

“A Christmas Carol” is not merely a magnificent story, and its message is not confined to a “social gospel” teaching: Dickens points directly to Christ throughout. For example, Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, suggests that perhaps nothing about Christmas can be “apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin.”

And Tiny Tim expresses the hope that when people saw his lameness, “It might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” This is, Gina points out, “a wonderful example of the biblical idea of God’s strength being made perfect in our weakness.”

Dickens’ classic shoots down the idea—prevalent in some Christian circles—that reading novels is a waste of time. They seem to forget that Jesus Himself was a master storyteller. For instance, He didn’t just say, “Come to the aid of those who need help.” Instead, He told a vivid story about a Samaritan who rescues a wounded man.

Chuck Colson once said that when it came to learning moral lessons, he was “much more impressed by profound works of fiction than by abstract theological discourses.” Scenes from some of the greatest stories ever told, he said, “have etched moral truths deeply into my soul. Their characters and lessons are so vivid I can’t forget them.”

And that is likely why so many of us will never forget the moral truths told through Ebenezer Scrooge, Fezziwig, Tiny Tim, and all the other memorable characters that populate Dickens’ great Victorian tale. It’s why we reject pamphlets that say, “Be nice to the needy” in favor of a good strong character bellowing, “Are there no prisons? [Are there no] workhouses?” Or the ghost of Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, howling, “Mankind was my business!”

Dickens’ Christmas classic is more popular than ever. There’s a new film about how he came to write “A Christmas Carol,” called “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” And a writer named Samantha Silva has just published a novel titled “Mr. Dickens and His Carol.”

I do hope you’ll take time out to read, or re-read, the original, or read it aloud to your family. Who knows what great good may come of it?

And so I end this piece by saying—and you probably knew it was coming—“God bless us, everyone.”

Originally aired December 21, 2017

 

 

The Church Really Can Strengthen Marriage

BreakPoint Daily

The Church Really Can Strengthen Marriage

(in fact, only the church can)

 

by:  &  

Between 2014 and 2017, the divorce rate in Jacksonville, Florida, and surrounding Duval County fell 24 percent. Of course, divorce rates are falling nationally already, possibly because fewer people are bothering to get married. Still, 24 percent is a huge number, especially compared to a 6 percent decline nationally and a 10 percent decline across the state of Florida during the same period.

What happened in Jacksonville?

The difference was the commitment of local Christians to go beyond lamenting the state of the family and to actually do something to help married people.

Behind these efforts was the unifying work of a group called Communio, whose goal is to help churches “strengthen marriages and families in their community.” The group uses a data-centered approach to identify couples in crisis, and then elevates “best practices” to offer help to these couples.

In Jacksonville as elsewhere, the data continues to show that “churches are the best at strengthening marriages.” After all, what other social institution can offer the sort of surgical precision needed to identify and connect with couples? What other institution is as scattered, de-centralized, and localized? This insight is obvious once you think about it, but unfortunately, it’s rarely put into practice, especially at the kind of scale needed to make a difference.

Communio worked closely with churches across denominations to create programs to supplement marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programs. These programs both identified and helped couples who showed signs of being at risk of divorce; signs such as “struggling with anxiety, financial stress, or substance abuse.”

Whenever couples were identified as fitting the criteria for “the greatest level of marriage difficulty,” they “would be directed into more intensive programs like Live the Life’s Hope Weekend.”

Altogether, between 2016 and 2018, 59,000 people attended a four-hour or longer program in Jacksonville. That’s nearly 12 percent of all adults between the ages of 18 and 64. In contrast, in 2015, only 300 people attended similar programs.

Because less than 20 percent of U.S. evangelical, Catholic, and mainline churches have any budget for marriage ministry,” that low 2015 number isn’t surprising. Connecting and sharing resources between churches is an absolute game-changer.

For example, consider Watermark Church in Dallas. Their intentionality to strengthen marriage in Dallas is, like Communio’s efforts in Jacksonville, a model other churches can and should follow.  In the last decade, over 100,000 people have participated in the church’s re|engage” program in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, a program that intends to change the way marriage is done in the area. And, Watermark is sharing its program widely. Chances are, there’s a church in your area that’s been trained in and is employing re|engage.

What’s happening in Jacksonville and Dallas embody an important truth summed up by Communio’s executive director J. P. De Gance, who was my guest on the BreakPoint podcast: “The federal government cannot fix marriage, but churches can.”

Indeed, we can, if we decide to light a candle instead of merely cursing the darkness. If, we do not succumb to what Jacques Ellul called the “political illusion,” which is the tendency to look to the government to fix all of our problems, and instead employ the vast network and personalized potential of the Church to the hurting and lost, we can make an incredible difference.

Strengthening marriage and the family is a task God has assigned to the Church. Delegating that task to any other institution is not only a dereliction of duty, it’s a failing proposition. And, the efforts of Communio and Watermark remind us that this task is not easy, but it is doable.

Download MP3 Audio Here

 

When There Are No More Volunteers

BreakPoint Daily

When There Are No More Volunteers

How the Church Can Love God by Loving Others
JOHN STONESTREET WITH BROOKE BORIAK

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of volunteer firefighters across the country has been steadily in decline, with a drop of over 132,000 volunteers in just the last four years. Many volunteer fire departments, especially in rural communities, are struggling to meet the demands of their districts.

Even more alarming, the most drastic demographic decline of volunteers is young people. In fact, over 50 percent of current volunteers across the country are over the age of 40. The widespread decrease in volunteering among young people threatens EMS services, pregnancy resource centers, shelters, and non-profits —from the Red Cross to retirement homes.

In other words, a live and pressing question we face as Americans is this: Will younger citizens be prepared, not to mention willing, to step in and maintain so many of the things we take for granted as Americans who rely on volunteers?

Several federal, state, and local government entities have seen the problem and are experimenting with programs that will incentivize young people to volunteer—from high school and college credit, to scholarships, to tax rebates. Pennsylvania has even proposed a program to forgive up to $16,000 in student loans for those who volunteer for four years as a first-responder.

While these sound like good ideas, and we should applaud innovative efforts, government solutions don’t always work out as advertised, and we can’t fix what are ultimately cultural and spiritual problems through political means.

Culturally speaking, ours is a far more mobile society than previous generations, but volunteerism and community engagement are rooted in a sense of ownership for a community. Simply put, it’s hard to foster ownership of a time and place among those always on the move.

Culturally and spiritually speaking, we are all susceptible in this world to the hyper-individualism that marks our age. All of us, but especially young people, are drawn today toward either the pursuit of social media celebrity-status, or personal happiness as our definition of “the good life.”

What we get instead, as we’ve said before on BreakPoint, is increasing anxiety, loneliness, and depression, especially among young people. The “Joker” film is just the latest to picture what can happen to those who lose all social ties and abandon any sense of social responsibility.

Not only is the decline of the volunteer ethic physically dangerous to the health of citizens in communities with no EMS providers to answer a call, it’s dangerous to the health of our young people if they don’t hear that they’re needed and that their life matters to their local community—wherever that is. That’s because volunteering protects the health of those providing care, as well as those being cared for.

Here, of course, is where the church comes in—or should come in. We can create a sense of community and belonging, instilling civic virtue, helping people experience the truth that no man is an island unto himself, and that our faith, though personal, is certainly not private.

Think about it. God has revealed Himself as a community—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Relationships aren’t merely something God does. It’s Who He is. Made in His image, we too are made for community. In other words, there’s simply no loving God without loving our neighbor.

So, here we have this place where a cultural need and a theological truth intersect. How might the church respond? What opportunities can we create, or can we join, that will draw young people into the life of the church for the good of the world?

And who knows, that young person we place at a soup kitchen today might be answering our 9-1-1 call tomorrow.

My thoughts: Volunteering is great and I encourage everyone to do so; just know that with the ever increasing call for “Socialism” on college campuses and even in High School class rooms across America; I think it prudent to be warned about the need for social activism, that is volunteering at a young age, without indoctrination attached. Equally concerning is the push withing evangelical circles for “Social Justice” which to has had it’s own agenda unfortunately apart from the biblical mandate to love and take care of our brothers in Christ first. – Mike

“No Safe Spaces”

BreakPoint: “No Safe Spaces”

Freedom of Speech vs. Tyranny

Speaking at the Obama Foundation Summit on Tuesday, former President Obama told his mostly young audience to get over “wokeness.” “If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb,” he said, “then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, because, man, you see how woke I was . . . That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”

The former President’s comment reminded me of a moment during his presidency when he denounced universities that disinvited conservative speakers because they were afraid of exposing students to differing points of view.

That moment is featured in a brand-new documentary by two people you wouldn’t expect to share a stage—conservative commentator Dennis Prager and liberal comedian Adam Carolla. These two men have launched an important new movie called, “No Safe Spaces.”

Through this film, Prager and Carolla are tackling the dangers of “wokeness” and the suppression of speech that has taken over our nation’s college campuses. The folks interviewed in this film represent almost every political and cultural view imaginable: From conservative comedian Tim Allen to liberal TV host Bill Maher; from liberal legal genius Alan Dershowitz to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro; from liberal Darwinist atheist biologist Bret Weinstein (the guy who touched off protests at Evergreen State when he refused to participate in a woke campus event) to former Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper.

Throw in the likes of Van Jones and Cornell West on the left and Robert George on the right and Jordan Peterson somewhere in between, and you’ve got an amazing variety of viewpoints from people who disagree about almost everything. But, they can all agree on this: Free speech on our campuses and in the public square is essential for a free society.

As the film makes abundantly clear, the American experiment is based on the freedom to articulate, discuss, and engage differing viewpoints, including and even especially those viewpoints we vehemently disagree with. What is true, what is not true? What promotes human flourishing, what destroys it? How do we arrive at the common good, or how do we undermine it?

Wrestling with these questions freely and openly lies at the heart of representative democracy, not to mention education itself. Losing the ability to wrestle with these questions means we become weaker people, more easily oppressed and ruled over, and ultimately it will spell the end of education and of representative democracy.

Political censorship, suppressing ideas, shutting down (or shouting down) conversation leads only to tyranny, as Prager himself relates in the film. Early in his life, Prager was sent by the government of Israel to smuggle Jews out of the Soviet Union. He experienced totalitarianism first hand, a totalitarianism he says no American can understand but every American should dread.

No Safe Spaces” was released just a week ago in a small number of theaters and is scheduled to open across the country in more and more communities over the next few weeks. So far, the attendance has been encouraging. The more this film is seen in theaters, the more it will be shown in theaters.

Having seen a screening of the film before its release, I can tell you: It is very well done. This excellent, important documentary clarifies why we must do everything we can to support freedom of speech on our campuses and in every public sphere. Take the teenagers and young adults in your life to see this film, and then talk through the important ideas it presents.

Learn more about “No Safe Spaces” here and petition movie theaters near you to show how some ideas can still cross the political aisle.

 

Download MP3 Audio Here

PRO-LIFE NEWS

With one week still to go, we know of 371 babies spared from abortion because you answered the call to pray


 

Kanye West Slams Democrat Party Leaders: They Are “Making Us Abort Our Children”

Kanye West slammed abortion and pro-abortion Democratic politicians last week in an interview promoting his first Christian album, “Jesus is King.”


 

Kamala Harris Campaigns for Legislator Whose Bill Allowed Abortions While Women are Dilated

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris campaigned Sunday in northern Virginia for a state lawmaker whose bill would have allowed unborn babies to be aborted up to the moment of birth.


Pro-Abortion Rep. Brian Sims Finally Apologizes Months After Harassing Pro-Life Teen Girls

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker who bullied three teenage girls as they peacefully prayed outside a Philadelphia abortion facility has finally apologized to them.


embryoToday’s BreakPoint: Is an Embryo a Person?

You should be pro-life. Everyone should be pro-life, and not only if they are Christians and see in the teachings of Holy Scripture how God defines life, or in church history that Christians have long opposed abortion. The more we are able to look into the womb and the more we know about embryology, the more we know that every single embryo is a whole, distinct, valuable human life.


Missouri Could Become First Abortion Free State if Dangerous Planned Parenthood Closed

British Doctors Finally Won’t Leave 22-Week-Old Premature Babies to Die

Study Confirms Half of Women Killing Baby With Abortion Pill Use It as Birth Control

Liberal Media Want More Men to Promote Killing Babies in Abortions

Nevada Abortions Jump 20% as More Abortion Pills Used to Kill Babies

BreakPoint: Should We Abolish All Prisons?

Human Fallenness, the Role of Government, and the Myth of Utopia

by:  &  Maria Baer Oct 24th 2019
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez successfully grabbed another headline last week by tweeting that Americans should have a “real conversation” about abolishing prisons. Though she did later walk back this bone-toss to her far-left supporters, the prison abolition movement isn’t as niche as you’d think.

At their annual meeting this year, the Democratic Socialists of America passed a resolution to start a working group on the topic. In April, the ACLU told the New York Times it wants to defund the prison system.

The idea behind this radical proposal is this: If we could just get our systems right – our healthcare system, our education system, our welfare system – we wouldn’t need any prisons. If everyone just had proper healthcare, great teachers, and all the money they could want or need, no one would commit any crimes.

It’s a bit like suggesting we should abolish doctors; because if all had equal access to leafy greens and the flu shot, no one would ever get sick.

Obviously, part of the prison abolition movement’s strategy is to shock and turn heads toward these other issues. But such a proposal is also a particularly obtuse expression of Utopianism.

Chuck Colson defined Utopianism as “the myth that human nature can be perfected by government.” Utopianism has at least two core flaws: First, it completely misunderstands the human condition. Because human beings are corrupted by sin, we gravitate toward greed, selfishness, and pride without the redirection of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we do this without help of any kind… our sin is not society’s fault or caused by poverty. You can’t educate us out of our sinful natures.

In fact, even the most devoted prison abolitionists can’t make it through a single morning without falling short of their own standards, much less God’s standards. And neither can we.

Today’s prison abolitionists fail to acknowledge the scores of men and women who had every conceivable privilege and went on to commit crimes anyway. Wealthy Wall Streeters commit white-collar crimes. America’s Ivy League campuses – arguably the very seats of privilege – are plagued by sexual assault. Even some perpetrators of mass shootings came from stable, affluent families.

A second problem with Utopianism is that any attempt to create this fantasy world where no one commits a crime means advocating for government control on an unprecedented scale. Any government with that much power would quickly end any illusion of utopia. After all, governments are still made up of fallen human beings.

Every utopian project that has been tried so far has failed. Many were led by characters like Stalin and Mao and Castro – international revolutionaries who turned almost cartoonishly fast from “men of the people” into tyrants. History teaches it best: Presuming to create a perfect system will ultimately degrade into power grabs and human misery.

Because of the accurate way the Bible describes the human condition, we can expect prisons to continue as a necessary part of society until Christ makes all things new. In Matthew 25, Jesus instructs his followers to visit those in prison. An effective prison system will keep people safe, communicate the consequences of wrong-doing to the larger culture, and work to return the imprisoned to our community with better means and accountability by which to govern their own fallen impulses.

And let me add this: Because we believe the incarcerated are human beings made in the image of God and that restoration is possible, the Colson Center stands with Prison Fellowship and others who support criminal justice reforms that address the very real problems of over-incarceration and sentencing disparity.

But, the idea of abolishing prison is an unrealistic, and yet very real, distraction from the necessary conversations we need to be having about how to handle crime in our communities. Not to mention, it’s a poster child of Utopianism.

 

 

BreakPoint: Practical Atheists

Living as if God is Irrelevant

If a time-traveler from the Early Church secretly followed you from Monday till Saturday evening, would they be able to tell you’re a Christian?

The answer for many of us just isn’t very clear… and that’s no accident. Many Christians live lives indistinguishable from secularists. The reason? Well, quite simply, secularism is the default state of our culture. It’s the water we swim in—the air we all breathe.

Or, as author Craig Gay put it in his book, “The Way of the Modern World,” the problem isn’t atheism. In fact, a red-blooded atheist is hard to find. The problem, he said, is “practical atheism.” It’s not that people do not believe in God, it’s that they live as if God is largely irrelevant. That’s what secularism does to us. It doesn’t disprove our faith, it dismisses it. It makes faith an issue of personal, private belief, disconnected from the outside world.

Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor has written the monumental work on the subject called “A Secular Age.” The marginalization of religious belief in our world, Taylor argues, has led to “disenchantment.” While God’s revelation in creation was obvious to prior generations, we completely miss the sacred things revealed in the way the world is made and ordered.

Scripture’s metaphors make no sense in a disenchanted culture. As practical atheists, we are deaf to the heavens’ loud proclamation of the glory of God. Stars and rainbows remind us more of human achievement and self-determination than they do of God’s promises. Even breathtaking events like weddings, the birth of a child, or even death itself, fail to remind us of God’s eternal attributes.

In other words, we live in a world where the assumptions that govern how we think and what we do are almost always secular ones. Whatever people may say on surveys about their religious beliefs, the fact is that modern, Western life is overwhelmingly lived without even considering God.

Living as a six-day secularist, shaped by secular assumptions and rituals, has very serious and practical consequences. Good things result from our hard work and planning, we think, not from the gracious hands of our loving Father.

Also, because God is not easily replaced as an organizing principle for life itself, many of us today find ourselves living lives of fragmentation—our thoughts, emotions, and desires constantly pulling us in opposite directions; the changing values all around us giving us worldview-whiplash.

Still, worst of all, practical atheists are always subject to idolatry. As John Calvin said, humans are incurably religious creatures, and our secular age offers all kinds of God-replacements: sex, self, stuff, state, science. Ironically, a secular age is still filled with faith—just in all the wrong gods. These gods mark us in their images in profoundly dehumanizing ways.

The only way to be distinctly Christian in today’s culture is to consciously and intentionally swim against the secular currents. First, we need to recognize them, as well as how they sweep us away.

Thank God this is not only possible; it’s been done before. Christians throughout history have had to swim against cultural currents opposed to their beliefs. Many not only succeeded in keeping their faith but in transforming the surrounding culture.

That’s why I think our next Colson Center Short Course is one of our most important. It’s a crash course in understanding and countering practical atheism. It’s called How Not to Be A Secularist. Beginning on October 1st and continuing for four consecutive Tuesday nights, this webinar series will equip you to recognize secularism in all of its forms and assumptions, and will help you keep a firm grasp on your Christian identity in this secular age, even while the culture tries to sweep it away.

All of our previous short courses have sold out, and this one is especially important today, especially in this cultural moment. Each session starts at 8PM Eastern and includes a Q&A session. If you have to miss a live session, all registered students receive the recording of each week’s class.

We only have a limited number of spaces, so please sign up today.

 

 

BreakPoint: If You Were Drew Brees, What Would You Say?

As most of you know I have never been a big pro-football (go Slingo Rovers) fan. I have not watched a game since before Colin Kaepernick’s unpatriotic stunt a few years back.

However, I do feel that for good or bad NFL players are role models and as such it is our duty to point out when they err against God. Not with name calling and false accusations of bigotry and racism but with the loving kindness that the bible calls for. Like wise should note when they are doing the right thing and not be afraid to be supportive and speak out. – Mike 

Thoughts on a Faux Controversy

“Controversy erupts around Drew Brees,” proclaimed news outlets on Friday, the very same news outlets who erupted the controversy engulfing one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

Here’s the story: In a short video, Brees encouraged students to participate in Focus on the Family’s “Bring Your Bible to School” project. He never once mentioned anything about sexual orientation or gender identity since, well, that’s not what Bring Your Bible to School Day is all about. To my knowledge, Brees has never spoken publicly on LGBTQ issues. He really didn’t clarify his views even on Friday, when he was forced to respond to the “erupting controversy.”

Perhaps Brees hasn’t talked much about LGBTQ issues because, again, he’s a football player, and that’s not what football is about. Or perhaps he’s realized, as a public figure who is also a Christian, what would happen if his views were revealed as anything less than a full-throated endorsement of the new sexual orthodoxy.

Either way, Brees seemed honestly surprised by his presumed guilt simply because of a connection to this Focus on the Family project. That in and of itself is a lesson for all of us.

Theologian N.T. Wright suggests that Christians need to ask the question “What time is it?” meaning that Christians should understand where they are in redemptive history – within the overarching historical framework the Scriptures present from the creation to the new creation. I’d add that Christians should also ask the question “What time is it?” in regard to what cultural moment do we live in? What is being asked and expected of people of faith now, in this time and in this place?

Friday’s Washington Post article on Drew Brees is a case in point. Widely assumed by many, especially by Allyson Chiu in the Washington Post piece, is that even associating with anyone who holds less-than-affirming views on LGBTQ issues is no longer acceptable, even if the association is completely unrelated to LGBTQ issues in any wayNo argument was offered by Chiu or any other critic as to why this is now the case. It was almost as if no argument was necessary.

That’s more than a little frustrating, because as one blogger noted recently, any movement that spends years trying to shut down a Denver bakery and discredit a chicken sandwich restaurant is a movement that has, long ago, run out of real injustices to fight. This second-degree-of-separation guilt-by-association campaign against Brees indicates that the gatekeepers of the LGBTQ movement have moved on, and are now demanding that everything, and I mean everything—from football to business to education to politics to Stranger Things—has to be about this.

As Focus on the Family Jim Daly demonstrated so well in his response to this nonsense, Christians should resist the demand to frame every issue of life and culture around LGBTQ issues. There’s so much more to life than this.

It’s strange that Christians are constantly being asked why we spend so much time talking about sex. But we aren’t the ones turning reality upside down, making this the one issue that every other issue has to be about.

On the other hand, as Mr. Brees found out, we won’t always be able to sit this one out. If you are even perceived as being on the “wrong side of history,” it may not matter how nice you are.  That means that in this time and in this place, we’ll have to be ready to speak to those issues when appropriate or unavoidable.

Christians, what time is it? It’s post-sexual revolution, a time in human history in which nearly everything about life and our life together, from our understanding of right and wrong to our understanding of what it means to be human, has been reimagined along the lines of sexuality.

If you were Drew Brees, targeted because of a completely unrelated story about your opinion on homosexuality or gender, what would you say? Too many Christians are unprepared for the tough questions that, like it or not, are inevitable in this time and this place.

But there are answers. And last week, the Colson Center launched a new video series to help. It’s called “What Would You Say?” and it provides understandable, repeatable, and convincing answers to the hardest cultural questions.

New videos will be posted every week at WhatWouldYouSay.org.