Reading the headlines through a Gospel worldview 10-14-2019
A listener from Kansas called me out Friday morning during the show. He heard the news but wasn’t sure he heard me ever bring the Good News to bear on the news. I appreciate the reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing on air every day and received it as a good opportunity to restate what we’re doing here at The Reconnect.
As Christians we are called and commissioned to be Good News obsessed and not just news obsessed. We #PraytheNews even as we read, listen, interpret and respond to the headlines of the day through a distinctively Gospel lens.
As we consciously and conscientiously engage the news of the day, we recognize:
- this is not the way it is supposed to be (there were once objectively Good Ole days prior to Genesis 3)
- this is not the way its going to be forever, (there are going to be objectively Glorious days in the fullness of time, Revelation 21)
- but this (broken, hurting, dying, desperation) is the way things are in the mean time. We live in the midst of the not yet with eyes wide open to the reality of the Gospel still veiled to so many.
These are called the mean times for a reason (and not just because the mean is the middle!). The mean time are mean because they are all the time between the fall (Gen 3) and the consummation of all things (Revelation 21). The mean time is a time of wars and rumors of war, famine, disease, disaster, and an ever-increasing evil in the hearts of men. If you read the news you know, these are the mean times.
As Christians living in the mean times we must remember who we are, whose we are and what in the world we’re in the world to do. (Those are, by the way, the three big questions behind and under every other question. They are the questions of identity, belonging and purpose).
So, as we turn to the headlines of the day we do so having been in the Word of God before getting into the world because that’s the only way we can hope to bring the mind of Christ to bear on what we’re about to read. Redemption is happening and it needs its witnesses – which means we engage the news of the day through the lens of the Good News, that the Gospel might be extended to more and more people.
At the intersection of national politics and the Christian worldview
Democratic Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke made a very public statement in CNN’s town hall last week of his plan to strip churches and other religious non-profit organizations, including Christian colleges, of their tax exempt status if they do not bow the knee to the sexual revolutionaries and support the government’s redefinition of marriage by action of the Supreme Court in the 2015 Obergefell decision. It’s been widely reported but the best analysis I’ve read is by John Inazu. We’re going to have John back on Mornings with Carmen on Thursday to share his perspective.
O’Rourke certainly wasn’t alone in his condemnation or mockery of those who believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. Senator Elizabeth Warren also made sport of those who believe God has actually made human beings male and female and given us marriage as an image of a sacred eternal reality (Christ and the Church). We talk about this topic a lot. Here’s a resource and here’s a recent conversation I had with Sue Cyre about her book, From Genesis to Revelation, God takes a Bride.
Over the weekend a macabre video of a fake Donald Trump was shown at a fundraiser for the President’s re-election bid at the Doral Country Club in Miami. The video portrays Trump violently killing journalists and his political opponents in a church. Let’s start with this: there is NO place for this and there can be no excuse made for this. We sow peace we do not condone violence. We appreciate the freedom of religion AND the freedom of speech and the necessity of a free press. And we must protest the setting of the scene in a church which was designed to suggest Christians condone and even platform such murderous violence against journalists. Again, there can be NO excuse made for this. It is not funny and it is not funny. We talk at length about the need for a restoration of civility in our political discourse. That begins by drawing clear lines when civility is impugned.
We are all watching in horror as the U.S. withdrawal of all forces from Northeastern Syria leaves civilians exposed. The Kurds have now turned to Syria’s Bashar Al Assad and the Russians to help them oppose the invading forces of the Turkish military from the north. ISIS prisoners have escaped and there are reports of atrocities against the people of the region once held by the Kurds. President Trump sought to assuage Christians gathered this weekend at the Values Voter Summit saying, “I have made clear to Turkey that if they do not meet their commitments, including the protection of religious minorities … we will impose very swift, strong, and severe economic sanctions.” But that comes as little solace to the tens of thousands fleeing, those targeted by Turkish warplanes and those who hold up their dead children in viral videos on social media pleading that they know we know. World Magazine’s Mindy Belz is reporting that Christians were among the first to die as Turkey invaded the Kurdish-held territory in Northeastern Syria but Turkey is also actively deporting Christian workers and church leaders. And it is not as if Erdogan’s plans for the region were secret or unknown. In January 2018 Erdogan laid out this plan. There’s even a map! Genocide Watch has renewed a genocide warning, saying “Kurds, Christians, and Yezidis in Northeast Syria are at grave risk of genocide by the armies of Turkey and Syria.”
I’ve been talking for some time about the Islamization of Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership and we will continue to cover this story even as we seek to respond in what has become our moral moment.
As Christians, let us remember who we are as disciples commissioned by the Prince of Peace to sow peace and make peace. The Nobel Peace prize was awarded to Ethiopia’s Evangelical Christian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. As I read this I was reminded of the conversations I’ve had with Matthew Sleeth about Reforesting Faith and the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s effort to plant more than 350 million trees on one day this past July.
You and I may not be called by God to elected positions of service like Abiy Ahmed but we are called to be agents of grace who sow peace and tend the garden of culture where God has placed us as stewards. So, wherever you are today, live in such a way that the Prince of Peace would recognize your effort to make peace.
Finally, there are two new world records for both men and women in the marathon. One set yesterday at the Chicago marathon where the fastest time for women is now 2:14:04 set by Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei. On Saturday in Vienna, Austria, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge achieved the once unimaginable feat of running the marathon in under 2 hours. His time 1:59:40.2
Here we call to mind Hebrews 12:1-3…since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Friends, Christian discipleship isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Let us run with perseverance today and let us finish well no matter how long it takes.