Something a bit off-brand today, so don’t let it throw you. The beauty of true theology is that it is at home anywhere, applicable in any situation, and has something to say in the most mundane, most visceral, most public, and least abstract, situations.
The Saddest Dilemma
Firstly, a thoughtful and compassionate online friend posted an article which calls our attention to the need for more funding of government services for children who are at risk.
It does need priority, but that would just be a bandaid. This simply is not government’s role, and government cannot do any better regardless of funding levels. It is the role of the Church in each of its parishes/communities to evaluate and help out on a personal level. The society which rejected the Church and its care is suffering the consequences, and as it always turns out, those who suffer most are the children.
If we banish the Church from our hearts and homes, the vacuum will be filled by the State, which was not created or ordained to fulfill this type of ministry. As long as we think this is a government problem rather than a community problem, it will only get worse. This applies to Church institutions to some degree as well. Those who work tirelessly in the system are to be admired, but a system is a machine. The Church is a living body. The first man was tested to qualify him as a tree of righteousness, that is, food and shelter. There is no true shelter without prior reference to and submission to God.
Big Bang Theory Ratings Fall
A possible Nobel-prize winning discovery is the existence of a signal left in the sky by the super rapid expansion of space just after the Big Bang. I ridiculed a Christian friend’s posting of this and copped it (probably rightly) but an integrated worldview means that nothing escapes its attention. Every statement must be rightly discerned.
It’s a terrible thing for Christians to succumb to dogma which blatantly contradicts the Bible and supports a worldview which is quite directly tearing our society apart. This is not a side issue for the Church. I can understand the pressure upon people, especially academics, but it isn’t that hard to sort the empirical science from the dogma. Yes, they have discovered something, but they immediately take it as evidence for a theory which is losing ratings even among the ranks of secular scientists, and conveniently leave out all the problems with the theory because it doesn’t fit their godless narrative. This stuff matters.
Another friend posted a speech given recently by a senior local man who spends a lot of his time helping refugees. His charity is admirable and a great example but his accusations against Australia’s new government and their policy concerning “boat people” are lacking some understanding. As usual, this has to do with focussing only on individuals, beginning with his own story as a refugee from the Holocaust.
Governments have to make big picture decisions. Do we help out the local single mum? Yep. Do we subsidize single mums with taxpayer money so single motherhood becomes an epidemic, which leads to much greater levels of delinquency, further societal breakdown and even greater costs? No. Helping the single mother is the responsibility of the community. As above, this is a personal ministry. Welfare is not generosity. Too often it is enablement and even encouragement. This gentleman might change his mind if he spent a week in government faced with the tough decisions rulers have to make. A view of the big picture might help him to see the difference between the sovereign responsibility of government and the responsibility of a community to be gracious. It’s not a simple issue because these two issues are related. Should we do more to help asylum seekers? Yes. Should we encourage people to risk their lives to get here through lax border protection? No. It will make things worse, a lot worse. Most of this confusion is the result of deluded secularists (usually working in public education) putting the responsibility of the state in the place of the Church, which it despises. The problem is that they will never understand how indispensable the Church’s role in community is. And the products of public education, even many Christians, are too often sucked in by the well-meaning but short-sighted compassion of unwitting statists.
Thou art the man
And finally, a lot of Christians are saying even nastier things about Mark Driscoll, now that he has publicly repented of things which other “celebrity pastors” will never repent of. Imagine if God was like that. Thank God He isn’t.
A message of grace will attract people but only a culture of grace will keep them, and a culture of grace includes repentance and forgiveness. This sort of apology by Driscoll is exactly what is missing from just about any authority you can name in our culture.
Regarding Driscoll himself, he might go off the tracks with a passion, but he gets back on them just as passionately. It seems to me most people fail to realize that his obvious weaknesses are the flipside of his obvious strengths. In other words, he has a spine, and he’s passionate, things which many of his Christian critics will never understand. God has done more through this flawed man than He could ever do with the armies of cowardly pastors who hide in their churches, never take any risks for the sake of the Gospel, and are not willing to be bold for the sake of the truth. And I’m not talking about sizes of churches here. There are many courageous men who have small churches. But there are many cowards who do nothing but hide and criticize.
Driscoll has stumbled numerous times but he just keeps getting back up again. God asked Adam what he did wrong and he blamed everyone else. So did King Saul. Driscoll is taking the blame, and it disempowers the devil every time. His critics really ought to start reading the Bible. The narrative concerning King David might be good start. Driscoll is a real man of God, like David, and he has the faults and the faith to prove it.
One of my favorite maxims is “The person who says it can’t be done often gets run over by the person doing it.”