“The sad truth is that many of us are, at best, only half awake. We think we’re engaged with the real world — you know, the world of stock markets, stockcar racing, and stockpiles of chemical weapon — but in fact we’re living in what Lewis calls the “shadowlands.” We think we’re awake, but we’re really only daydreaming. We’re sleepwalking our way through life — asleep at the wheel of existence — only semi-conscious of the eternal, those things that are truly solid that bear the weight of glory.” — Kevin Vanhoozer, In Bright Shadow: C.S. Lewis on the Imagination for Theology and Discipleship
Going through hard times? Feeling confused about how or why God has led you to where you are in life? It’s time to pray. Here’s a prayer you might like to use . . .
“Oh Lord, I know not what to ask of you. You alone know my true needs. You love me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask for either a cross or consolation. I can only wait on you.
My heart is open to you. Visit and help me, for your great mercy’s sake. Strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me. And I will worship you in silence.
Your will is holy and your ways inscrutable, so I offer myself as a living sacrifice to you. I put all my trust in you. I have no other desire than your good and perfect will be fulfilled in my life. Guide and sustain me by your invisible hand. Teach me how to pray. And when I pray, may it be you yourself praying in me. Through Christ my Lord, Amen.”
Recently, a prominent Australian Christian made national headlines for their opposition to gay marriage. While being well within her rights to express an opinion, her public statements stirred up much anger and hurt, especially (and obviously) among the LGBTQI community. The whole saga reinforced the widespread public view that Christians are judgemental rule-keepers who feel the need to stick their moral noses into other people’s business. Yes, the Bible does clearly say that acts of gay sex are ‘sinful’ – that is, outside God’s good parameters for human flourishing – but why should people who are not Christians be expected to live the Christian life? Why do Christians seem to single this issue out, and not issues like greed, racism, and divorce? And why do so many Christians forget to tell people about the joy of trusting and following Jesus?
The fact is that the church in Australia has a lot to learn about engaging our culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ – including my own church. Including me.
How should we speak about homosexuality? How should we answer the very good questions that people have about marriage, morality, and sex? How can we point people to Jesus?
Below is an interesting video clip of American pastor Tim Keller, who was asked about his views on homosexuality. While his responses are off-the-cuff and not as concise as they might otherwise be, what he says stands in stark contrast to recent attempts to promulgate the Christian worldview.
The word ‘gospel’ is thrown around a lot in churches. And it should be. The gospel conveys the reality and relevance of the Christian faith to the world. The gospel is literally “good news”. It’s a bold message. An authoritative proclamation. But what is it? What’s the message?
In this video, respected New Testament scholar D. A. Carson talks about the gospel. It’s helpful.
“If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be a sermon against Pride. The more I see of existence, and especially of modern practical and experimental existence, the more I am convinced of the reality of the old religious thesis; that all evil began with some attempt at superiority; some moment when, as we might say, the very skies were cracked across like a mirror, because there was a sneer in Heaven.”
~G.K. Chesterton: “The Common Man.”
In this video we meet Sam Allberry, an Anglican minister in the UK. He explains to their General Synod that he is a man who experiences same-sex attraction. But he also explains that, in being a follower of Jesus, he is not defined by his sexuality. Worth a look.
UPDATE: Sam spoke to RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) about the above video. You can find his comments here.