Recently a friend of mine reappeared at church. He slipped in during the worship, sat in the back row and watched. He shared what he observed was how animated the congregation was during the service, yet after the service nobody seemed to give him the time of day. No handshake. No words of welcome. Not even a God bless you.
How many new Christians slip into the back of your sanctuary every week? Do your eyes dart away when they try to make eye contact with you? Did you take 30 seconds to shake their hand and send a God Bless you, glad you’re here, hope to see you next week, or throw out a half smile while rushing out the door? We have not been called to run away.
Paul wrote in Romans 12:4-5, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Members of one another. Jesus is the head. Some Body parts are the eyes, others are the ears. There are those who feed those who need to be filled. Many have arms to hug, hold, or shake a hand. Many have legs to walk or run. You have the eyes (look toward the back row), they need to be filled (you know God’s Word), they need to be touched (shake their hand). Before you start thinking up all of the reasons why you don’t have time to do this during the week, here’s a point to ponder:
Jesus saw you. He heard you when you cried out. He feeds you through His Word, fills you with His Spirit. He holds you in the palm of His hand, close to His heart. His legs were broken for you, yet He walked up to you and touched your life.
What you do for that lonely, broken soul in the back row could very well make the difference between eternal life and death. Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy God will give you for reaching out, because whatever you do unto the least of them you also do unto Him.
Traci M. McGowan
Good News, Etc. (March ’98) reported on James Dobson’s criticism of the GOP for “betrayal” of the pro-family agenda. Dr. Dobson cited 11 pro-family issues that were abandoned by the GOP-controlled Congress. I suggest that Dr. Dobson and other leaders of the Christian right betrayed themselves by not voting principle ahead of party in 1996.
Career-politicians rarely keep campaign promises. It’s not that they are compulsive liars; it’s a strategy developed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s when he stole Norman Thomas’ Socialist platform and most of his voters along with it. The game plan for career-politicians is to undercut their opponent’s base of support by giving their opponent what they want. Note President Clinton’s high approval ratings as he gives lip service to his opponent’s ideas: Smaller government, lower taxes and a balanced budget.
Look at the 1994 Republican Congress that pledged to reduce the size of government. They have now passed three federal budgets that, combined, increased federal spending by 11.5 percent. They promised to abolish dozens of federal agencies, including three cabinets: Commerce, Education and Energy. All of those agencies are still in place and most of them enjoy larger budgets than when the Democrats controlled Congress.
As long as Focus On The Family, The Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, The Center for Public Justice and The Traditional Values Coalition are joined at the hip with the Republican party and career-politicians, betrayal of the issues seems inevitable. Perhaps we need to discern the difference between a political movement and a political party. A “party” is perpetual. A “movement” comes, changes society and goes. Political “parties” absorb “movements,” change philosophical direction and continue on. That is what happened in the 1930s with the socialist movement that turned our nation into a welfare state.
The reality of political life is that social change will, in all probability, never come from within either of the two major political parties. Perennial political pro Lyn Nofziger and Susan Estrich, manager of the 1988 Dukakis campaign, met on ABC’s Night Line, July 10, 1996, to discuss the Dole/Clinton race. The one thing they solidly agreed upon was that no political candidate can afford to propose, confront or support any idea or issue that is controversial, and any departure from the status quo is controversial.
The Christian voter will cease being impotent when we become rigidly principled enough to reserve our block of votes for only those candidates (third party, independents and “write-ins,” if necessary) who share our idealism. Anyone becomes a viable candidate with the Christian vote behind them.
Dr. Dobson and his fellow leaders of the Christian right will effect change in Washington when they heed the lesson that Norman Thomas learned from Roosevelt: Champion a “movement” with enough popular support and let the career-politicians “steal” the idea. It worked for independence in the 1700s. It worked for abolition in the 1800s. It worked for socialism in the 1900s. It will work for Christians in the 2000s if we put our faith in God and start voting principle instead of party.
Grant W. Kuhns
Time for the Fire
I just came across your review of my Holy Fire book and found it humbling – seeing that it was so positive and affirming. I am blessed to know that the work hit home in Paul McShane’s own life. It’s time for the fire!
Michael L. Brown