Posts tagged with: holiday

We have plenty to celebrate this 4th of July.

We have plenty to celebrate this 4th of July.

Between the outrageous actions of legislators, controversial supreme court decisions and the upcoming presidential election, every day the news is bombarded with stories and opinions that do not coincide with biblical convictions. This seems to leave many Christians in the United States despairing, disillusioned and detached. While they certainly have legitimate troubles, I’m concerned when I see my fellow Americans retreating from interest in the public sphere because they are so bothered by “the way this country is headed.”

Regardless of the perceived state of politics, there is much to celebrate this Fourth of July. This celebration must not only be nostalgic remembrance of the past, but also hopeful vision for the future. God does not call his followers to detachment. Without the proper amount of patriotism, these distraught individuals may be missing out on the restoration happening in their community, nation and world.

Nothing can alter the fact that the Constitution of the United States finds its origin in the Christian view of the Individual. In fact the whole of the classical liberal tradition can be traced back to transformation of thought that Jesus and his followers began. This essentially Christian spirit of individual liberty and dignity that the founders wove into the fabric of our nation is far from dead.   (more…)

carolers2Over the last century, Christianity has declined in social influence across much of the Western world, leading many to believe it has little place or purpose in public life.

In response, Christian reactions have varied, with the more typical approaches being fortification (“hide!”), domination (“fight!”), or accommodation (“blend in!”). In each case, the response takes the shape of heavy-handed strategery or top-down mobilization, whether to or from the hills.

And yet the cultural witness of the church ought to flow (or overflow) a bit differently. For Greg Forster, it has less to do with “cultural lever-pulling,” and a whole lot more to do with joy.

“Christianity is losing its influence in contemporary America because people outside the church just don’t encounter the joy of God as much as they used to,” Forster writes in his latest book, Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It. “…The joy of God can do what cultural lever-pulling can’t do.”

As we experience the joy of God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, our attitudes and activities are transformed. As Christians, our primary task is not to take that transformation and funnel it toward end-game tactics, but to faithfully embody it across culture: blessing our neighbors and cultivating civilization, whether in the family, our work and the economy, or citizenship and community (Forster’s three main categories). (more…)

Order matters. So much in life builds on what has come before and prepares us for those things that are in our future. So it is no accident that Sunday comes before Monday. Since the Early Church, Sunday has been both the first day of the week and the day of rest and worship for Christians around the world.

But have we stopped to ask why God gave us Sunday before Monday? What is supposed to happen on that first day of the week, and how should it impact the subsequent days? It is easy to live a life without making those connections. We silo our time between weekend and weekday. Our understanding of the spiritual is carefully kept within the confines of our devotional time and our Sunday worship experience.

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