Must Read Monday: Bernard Lewis, Shifting American Attitudes and Immigration
Bernard Lewis has died
He was 101 and he changed the century in which he lived. You may have never heard of him but you should read his work. In addition to his obituary, please read “The Return of Islam” from Commentary Magazine, 1976. Bernard Lewis saw things coming others did not see. He was a person who was able to read the signs of the times. From the AP’s obit: “In hundreds of articles and more than 30 books, Lewis established himself as one of the world’s foremost experts on Islam, bringing a dose of antiquity to discussions of jihadism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the nuclear threat of Iran, and expanding consciousness of the historical roots of those problems.
He was among the leading proponents of the idea of “a clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam as a major source of post-Cold War conflict. Lewis argued the roots of the battle lay in the similarities at the core of the two faiths, distinguishing them from other major religions.
A round-up of recent research illuminates the generational shift in American attitudes toward cremation, abortion, marriage and assisted suicide. Add to that the research showing that Christians don’t think sharing their faith matters much in today’s marketplace of ideas. What does it all reveal? The foundations of faith upon which the American experiment was built have been eroding over time. The anemic witness of the mainline church, the limited gospel preached by me-and-Jesus evangelism, and a failure of generational transfer of faith result in the numbers we see evidenced in recent research. We now live in a largely post-Christian, post-truth, post-Biblical morality culture. If you are a practicing confessional Christian, you are now a member of a minority faith in America. The question we need to ask is: How do we faithfully live and bear witness in Babylon?
Special Series on Immigration
We’re going to spend this entire week talking about immigration on Connecting Faith. We’re going to look at the Bible, the views, the issues and the stories of people caught up in America’s immigration policy mess. The immigration-related headlines today range from fights in Washington over the Farm Bill to California’s showdown with the President to active deportations of people with minor children who are American citizens. There are a range of opinions espoused by Christians which we’ll seek to sort out. We’ll clarify terms and seek to gain God’s perspective on what has become a highly contentious and inflammatory topic of conversation. This graphic animation illuminates why those whose families immigrated to the U.S. in the 1800’s see current immigrants as “different” from themselves.
President Trump made moves last week Christians need to note and celebrate
On Friday, the White House proposed a rule that would restrict the federal funding of abortion. Also on Friday, the President embraced criminal justice and prison reform. For Christians concerned with genuine liberty and justice for all, these are steps in the right direction.
The news moves fast
Yes, there was a royal wedding on Saturday, but the news cycle has already moved on. Maybe we should pause and say, “not so fast.” What did you see and hear in the wedding on Saturday? What did you expect to see and hear but did not? The wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle provides opportunity to talk about marriage, divorce, race, royalty, redemption, reconciliation and yes, love. One note of clarification the preacher missed: while God is love, love is not God. For now let us simply rejoice with the young couple and pray God’s blessings upon them as the two become one flesh as witness to the eternal mystery of Christ and His bride, the Church (Ephesians 5, Revelation 19).