Slavery is Alive and Well?

Richard Lee

On Sunday, September 23, thousands of churches worldwide will be part of the global movement of Freedom Sunday. Started by International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, Freedom Sunday is a call to churches to join the fight to end slavery by dedicating their service to learning about, praying for, and partnering with IJM.
I recently talked with Richard Lee, IJM’s director of church mobilization. Lee frequently speaks about issues of injustice and slavery, as a preacher at churches across the nation, as a guest on radio and podcast interviews, and as a TEDx speaker.
How is it possible that slavery still exists?
Quite simply, slavery still exists around the world because laws are not enforced. At IJM, we find that when you have people in power next to people in poverty, it creates an atmosphere where exploitation and enslavement can occur. Slavery affects those that are the most vulnerable in society: those who are outside the protection of law enforcement.
The United Nations estimates that 4 billion people currently live outside of the rule of law. Too often a country’s law enforcement, courts, and government officials are (at worst) not motivated or (at best) not trained and equipped to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
If you can imagine a world where a person threatened with violence has no place to turn for protection, then you are able to imagine what life is like for millions of people throughout the world.
How pervasive is this problem, and what is IJM doing to combat slavery?
There are currently more than 40 million people currently enslaved throughout the world. Put this way, it is the equivalent of the combined population of America’s 32 largest cites from New York to Albuquerque. The type of slavery endured ranges from boys in a boat in Ghana to girls in a bar in the Dominican Republic to families in a factory in India. Slavery exists in every country in the world—but it doesn’t have to, and we have the power to make a difference.
IJM learned early on that for slavery to end, it’s not enough to just rescue the slaves. For slavery to end, you must arrest the slave owner. But in order to do that, you must work with the local police to arrest them, and work with the prosecutors to convict them and work with the justice system to sentence them to a long prison term. The only way for IJM to have the authority to act and the resources to scale the solution for the long run is by working with the local governments in the countries that we work to enforce the existing laws.
But that’s not all that we do, because ending slavery means more than just putting the “bad guys” in jail—it means breathing new life into survivors. So, our IJM aftercare workers partner with government social services and other NGOs to help restore the victims who have been freed to ensure that long-term needs are met and survivors’ vulnerability to future abuse is reduced through services like long-term homes for girls rescued from commercial sexual exploitation who are unable to return to their families, micro-enterprise opportunities for victims of illegal land seizure or illegal detention so they can start a new business, and medical care for clients who are HIV-positive or have other medical needs.

When pastors talk biblically about slavery in their churches, they shine a light on the global problem while most of society is still unaware of its existence. The hope is that members of the congregation will continue to seek additional information about the problem and ways to get involved.
At IJM, we know that God is the embodiment of justice (Isa 61:8), so the work of justice is the work of God. We know that we can’t end slavery in our lifetime without God’s help, so we ask people to join us in praying for the work of justice around the world.
Finally, our investigators, lawyers and social workers wouldn’t be able to do the work of justice—rescuing slaves, putting slave owners in jail and transforming the justice system—without the support of generous donors and churches to make that work possible financially. When your church asks your people to give, it is one the most practical steps that you can take to fight slavery to make a direct impact.

Throughout history, when a group of people are faced with oppression, God has raised up his prophets to speak out against injustice. Moses, William Wilberforce, and Harriet Tubman all used their influence to fight slavery. And now, we must remember that God is calling the local church to speak out against the evils of slavery today. To raise the voice of the church for the over 40 million enslaved people who have no opportunity to raise theirs.

Can’t Men and Women Be Friends?

In the age of social media we have more friends than ever, yet we lack depth and quality of relationship. Unfortunately, this seems to be true in the church as well as the larger culture. Yet there’s perhaps another and less obvious barrier to friendship than our screens and apps—sex.
In Why Can’t We Be Friends?: Avoidance Is Not Purity, Aimee Byrd writes that in response to our oversexualized culture, the church has unnecessarily made friendship between men and women controversial. Byrd frequently refers to a line from the movie When Harry Met Sally to articulate a false cultural assumption she believes has infiltrated the church: “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”
Byrd, a Bible study teacher and cohost of the Mortification of Spin podcast, has experienced this assumption herself: “[T]he church sent messages that a woman’s attractiveness serves the purpose of landing a husband, then becomes a threat to all other men” . “My sexuality became a barrier to friendship,” she writes.
Highlighting the prevalence of sibling language in Scripture, she argues that we should see believers of the other sex as people with whom we can share meaningful friendships, rather than as objects of temptation with whom we may fall into affairs.
Avoidance Is Not Purity
Byrd explains that when Christians see their brother or sister as an object of temptation, they often feel anxious about “ordinary acts of kindness and business” with a person of the other sex (34). She also critiques larger-scale philosophies like the so-called Billy Graham Rule, which prohibits being alone with a member of the opposite sex other than one’s spouse. When we avoid interactions with people of the other sex, Byrd contends, we reduce them to their physical assets and fail to view them holistically as people created in God’s image.
She also argues that avoidance keeps us from experiencing the blessings of communion in sibling relationships with the other sex, and she rightly notes that avoidance alone doesn’t bring about purity, which is rooted in the heart by the Spirit.
Instead, Byrd encourages us to meaningfully engage in “sacred sibling” relationships by promoting one another’s holiness; practicing encouragement, exhortation, and intercession; suffering with one another; and sharing the table together.
Amid these sibling relationships, she challenges us to “rightly orient our affections” and deal with heart issues that would lead us into sin rather than relying on rules. If we relate to one another as fathers, brothers, mothers, and sisters as Paul instructs in 1 Timothy 5:1–2, Byrd says “we remove the possibility of sex”.

Society says we are merely sexual beings and should embrace this, and in the church we use this same view as an excuse to distrust and avoid each other. We shy away from healthy friendship, and even our siblingship in Christ, in the name of purity and reputation . . . but is this what we are called to do?
Aimee Byrd reminds us that the way to stand against culture is not by allowing it to drive us apart—it is by seeking the brother-and-sister closeness we are privileged to have as Christians. Here is a plan for true, godly friendship between the sexes that embraces the family we truly are in Christ and serves as the exact witness the watching world needs.
purchase
While Byrd offers a thoughtful consideration of biblical siblingship and rightly draws out heart issues, on this point I fear she goes too far. Though our sanctification enables us to avoid sin, so long as we remain in our fallen state, the possibility of any particular type of sin won’t be removed.
It’s certainly possible to go so far in trying to avoid sexual sin that we become pharisaical, potentially hurting others as well as ourselves. But it’s also possible to be overly optimistic about the likelihood of refraining from sin, particularly when placing ourselves in precarious situations.
Friendships Aren’t Just One-on-One
Byrd is eager to destigmatize male-female friendship in the church, particularly friendships that involve time spent one-on-one. But she so frequently references sharing car rides and meals that it feels like she goes beyond defending those activities to almost implying people who don’t engage in them aren’t experiencing true friendship.
By contrast, I’m blessed to have meaningful friendships with men that have developed largely through meeting as couples. My husband and I have nurtured deep friendships with people of both sexes: we’ve shared life as neighbors, served together in our church, and been members of the same small group. One-on-one interactions aren’t inherently wrong, but neither are they inherently necessary. Riding alone in a car or sharing a table for two aren’t the only—or even best—ways to foster friendship in the church.
One-on-one interactions aren’t inherently wrong, but neither are they inherently necessary.

However, Byrd rightly points out that avoiding one-on-one situations can lead to unloving behavior. For example, Byrd references a time she was “in a strange city, at night, in the rain, walking down a sketchy alley when [she] could have been offered a ride”. Presumably a certain man didn’t give her a ride due to concerns about being alone with a woman.
Byrd was rightly offended by this man’s failure to help her, but disregarding his rule wasn’t the only way for him to care for her, as she might suggest. The man could’ve left her in a safe location, walked down the sketchy alley in the rain himself, and driven her car back to her. Most situations afford this type of option allowing a man to follow his conscience while still extending kindness to a woman.
In her criticism of the Billy Graham Rule, I find Byrd too focused on the idea that it communicates an oversexualized view of women as temptations. Many men, in ministry in particular, have these rules primarily to avoid false accusation and scandal, not because they view all women as temptations.
Though Byrd does briefly engage this concern, she’s quick to dismiss it, saying Jesus risked his reputation in his interactions with women. This is true—any interaction with women in the first century was potentially suspect—but we can be certain that Jesus conducted himself with wisdom and never put himself or others in the path of temptation. When we engage the other sex, we can do likewise.

Common Goal
Toward the end of the book Byrd writes, “Are we opposed to friendship? No—we are opposed to sin, and we are for holiness”. Amen. Where Christians have communicated by their behavior that members of the other sex aren’t valuable, we ought to repent and consider how we can treat others kindly. Where we have been the objects of overly zealous attempts to avoid sin, we ought to extend forgiveness and love. And where men have abused power and victimized women, let’s hold them accountable and strive to create environments that protect and defend women.
We should always try to believe the best about one another and leave room for individual conscience. So let’s assume our brothers are trying to honor their wives and not that they don’t value other women.
It’s clear from reading this book that Byrd loves the family of God and deeply desires that believers would enjoy the sweet communion of sacred siblingship. Her book can help us grow in experiencing appropriate freedom in our friendships.
May the Lord grant us wisdom to know how to enjoy the blessings of friendship in a way that will honor both our marriages and also our brothers and sisters in Christ—while ultimately bringing glory to him.

Whose job is it to teach young, unmarried women not to delay marriage for fun and thrills?

Do young women understand how to get to a stable marriage?
I found a very interesting post on a blog called Oz Conservative, which is run by an Australian traditional conservative. In the post, he looks at two women who wasted their 20s on fun and thrills. Both of them are childless and unmarried. And they are complaining that they should be married with children. How did it happen?
Excerpt:
Rachael spent her youth going out with the bad boy type:
relationships have never been my strong point. Historically, I’ve picked good-looking villains and addictive personalities.
I’ve had a ball and many passionate experiences, but nothing functional enough to constitute a long-term future and never anyone ‘normal’ enough to bring home to meet the parents.
Although she puts a positive spin on being single, she admits:
I’m realistic. I’ve probably missed the boat as far as children are concerned, and that is a shame…
[…]Yes, the life I have today is not quite the one I envisaged 20 years ago as a young woman. I foresaw a satisfying career along with 2.4 children and a handsome husband.
Then there is Bibi, now 44. She tells her story this way:
I am staring down the barrel of a lonely future without a man, let alone children.
And how do I find myself in this perilous position? One reason is undoubtedly that men like young women. Yes, I was young once and all that. In my 20s and 30s I wasn’t exactly a supermodel, but I was constantly surrounded by men. The trouble is I wasn’t necessarily looking to settle down back then…
Now that I am, there are very few available men out there and the ones there are would be more interested in my teenage nieces than in me…
[…]Bibi has a lot of friends in exactly the same boat:
In my close circle of friends, there are eight of us who are single and childless. This is a generational phenomenon – we are all aged between 37 and 45.
When our mothers were that age, such numbers would be unimaginable.
Like many women writing this kind of literature, when she looks back she recognises the negative influence of feminism on her generation of women:
I think the feminist teachings of the Sixties and Seventies seeped into our brains. My mum couldn’t be called a feminist, but I, too, grew up thinking we could be anything we wanted to be and have a fulfilling career, life and relationship…
[…]What she is trying to say here is that feminism pushed marriage and motherhood down the list of priorities (“there was more to contend with beforehand”). She admits that she was led into the magical kind of thinking I described earlier in which there is nothing in reality to limit having things as you want them to be (“we didn’t realise that men wouldn’t be interested … my generation was spoilt – unrealistic, even”).
The comments to the post are very interesting.
I was thinking about whose job it was to warn young Christian women about these bad choices, and I remembered a passage from the Bible.
Titus 2:3-5 explains:
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,
5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
The problem is that many older Christian women made a lot of mistakes in their youth, especially with alcohol and premarital sex. And for most of them, it’s more important that they not feel guilty about it, than that they warn younger women not to make the same mistakes. So, instead of admitting guilt and setting boundaries, they often tell young women that it doesn’t matter what you do in your 20s because God, the cosmic butler, will make everything work out in the end.
We just had a situation where one woman who had a successful marriage tried to give younger women some very basic advice about how to be attractive to marriage-minded men. And what happened was that she was attacked by pretty much everyone. The reaction seemed to be strongest from Christian women, however, who insisted that God’s grace meant that Christian women didn’t have to care what the Bible taught about morality and wisdom. The important thing was that they follow their desires in the moment, because to exercise self-control would be “horrible” and would “send the wrong message”. Telling a woman not to do what she feels like is worse than murder, because women must always do what feels good. Who cares about the words of the Bible, when a woman has feelings that are a direct line to God’s mysterious will for her happiness?
One of the commenters on this blog put it this way:
I’ve been observing this phenomenon among so-called “Christians” for well over a decade. Concepts like “tolerance” and not being “judgmental” took hold in our culture and many Christians absorbed the mindset completely. If you point out that what someone is doing is sinful or might potentially lead to sinful behavior, they act defensive or turn the tables on you and say “well, you’re not perfect either!” Some even say that they do certain things for the express purpose of not being “legalistic,” because clearly, legalism is far worse than compromising one’s witness. Jesus has become a postmodern hippie whose primary message is “let’s all be cool to each other.” The only sins left are transgressions against the belief that everyone is equal and worthy of acceptance.
In reading the responses to Lori Alexander’s article, my greatest takeaway is that people are rationalization machines. If they’ve made mistakes, they won’t humbly acknowledge them and use the wisdom of their experience to guide others in the right direction. Instead, they’ll try to find a way to argue that their mistakes weren’t mistakes at all, and that the real sinner is the person who’s judging them for what they did. It’s a deceitful, selfish game, and anyone who plays it is an enemy of the Gospel. Their argument essentially boils down to “every woman, regardless of whatever bad decisions she’s made in life, is entitled to a loving husband who’ll provide for her.” Same way everyone’s entitled to free health care, regardless of whether sufficient medical resources exist, I suppose. It doesn’t work that way, ladies.
And they use this feminist scare word “shaming.” How dare you “shame” me? I would go so far as to say that shaming is a good thing, because it incentivizes proper behavior. Men have good reasons for wanting their wives to be virgins, and if you remove the stigma against premarital sex, a lot of women are going to take Biblical teaching on the subject less seriously. If Christian men as a whole agreed that they would only marry virgins, I guarantee you that a lot of women would think twice about what kind of men they associated with. If you feel “shamed,” it’s probably a sign that you haven’t truly repented of your sins. Sin separates us from God, and if you see your sins for what they are, you should have no problem condemning the sins that you yourself have committed and discouraging them in others.
I’m sorry for this long-winded ramble, but it disgusts me how much politically correct rot has infested the churches, and this entire incident just confirms that Paul was correct to forbid women teaching. When everyone is afraid of upsetting women, we get false teachers popping up everywhere spreading a destructive message with nothing but rhetoric behind it. The end result? Fewer marriages, fewer children, fewer people taking Christian teachings seriously, and more people being miserable and lonely. Once you start ceding ground to liberalism, the whole thing eventually unravels. Lots of good Christian men and women can’t find a spouse anymore, because their society has lied to them and they don’t realize it until it’s too late. Did their churches stand against the world? Did their churches provide them the guidance they needed? Or were their churches too afraid to be seen as “out of touch,” and did they prioritize numbers over holiness and correct teaching? If we are sincere believers, it should be obvious which is more important.
Many of the women who chose to delay marriage for fun and thrills with the bad boys grew up in married Christian homes. Parents and pastors have, for one reason or another, decided that it is too unpleasant to warn young Christian women that their behavior may involve some costs in the long term. They don’t want to make them feel bad, and women’s feelings are so very much more important than what the Bible says, or even what peer-reviewed research on marriage best practices says. Even theologically conservative pastors just don’t have the courage to address the influence that feminism has had on the goal-setting and decision-making of young, unmarried women. It’s much easier to blame men when the woman’s fun and thrills plan doesn’t work out.

Canadian hospital denies man’s requests for assisted care, offers him euthanasia instead.

Wintery Knight

Excerpt:
An Ontario man suffering from an incurable neurological disease has provided CTV News with audio recordings that he says are proof that hospital staff offered him medically assisted death, despite his repeated requests to live at home.

Roger Foley, 42, who earlier this year launched a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government, alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death.
Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs, and prevents him from independently performing daily tasks.
In his lawsuit, Foley claims that a government-selected home care provider had previously left him in ill health with injuries and food poisoning. He claims that he has been denied the right to self-directed care, which allows certain patients to take a central role in planning and receiving personal and medical services from the comfort of their own homes.
[…]He is now sharing audio recordings of separate conversations he had with two health care workers at London Health Sciences Centre, where he has been stuck in a hospital bed for more than two years.
In one audio recording from September 2017, Foley is heard speaking to a man about what he has described as attempts at a “forced discharge,” with threats of a hefty hospital bill.
When Foley asks the man how much he’d have to pay to remain in hospital, the man replies, “I don’t know what the exact number is, but it is north of $1,500 a day.”
[…]“Roger, this is not my show,” the man replies. “I told you my piece of this was to talk to you about if you had interest in assisted dying.”
In a separate audio recording from January 2018, another man is heard asking Foley how he’s doing and whether he feels like he wants to harm himself.
Foley tells the man that he’s “always thinking I want to end my life” because of the way he’s being treated at the hospital and because his requests for self-directed care have been denied.
The man is then heard telling Foley that he can “just apply to get an assisted, if you want to end your life, like you know what I mean?”
And how has the government responded to the audio recordings? The same way you would expect any government to respond – with silence:
“I have not received the care that I need to relieve my suffering and have only been offered assisted dying. I have many severe disabilities and I am fully dependent. With the remaining time I have left, I want to live with dignity and live as independently as possible.”
Lawyers for the hospital were sent the audio excerpts on July 19. Foley and his lawyer have not received a response.
CTV News also asked the hospital for a statement. The hospital has not responded.
This isn’t the customer service that you would get in a capitalist free market where private sector businesses have to compete on price and quality for your dollars. This is single-payer health care. They have your money already, and they know that you can’t go anywhere else, except to leave the country. The response of the government-run health care system to requests for better care is “go kill yourself, we already have your money”.
And a lot of patients in Canada are being killed.

Wesley J. Smith explains:
Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have reported that they have killed almost 4,000 (3,714) patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 — after which it was legalized throughout the country by Supreme Court fiat — an act of judicial hubris quickly formalized by Parliament.
Nearly 2,000 were killed in 2017, not including a few territories that did not report figures and assuming all euthanasia deaths were reported. All but one of these deaths resulted from a lethal jab — homicide — at the patients’ request.
[…]Note that as is the usual case, the number of doctor-facilitated deaths has increased steadily since legalization. For example, there were more than 200 more such deaths in the last six months of last year than the first.
The recordings help to explain what the phrase “at the patients’ request” really means.
Previously, I blogged about how the lack of money for palliative care is behind Canada’s push to “suggest” euthanasia to patients who ask for better palliative care. Again, what leverage do you have if you already paid them your money in taxes? You have no leverage, and they know that.
This is what happens when government taxes people when they are well, and then decides later who to give health care to, based on the politicians deciding whose votes to buy. Naturally, the young people with less problems are given “health care”, e.g. – contraceptives. abortions, sex changes, IVF, breast enlargements – because they have lots of voting ahead of them. The older people get asked to kill themselves for the good of those running this vote-buying operation.

Smartphone Addiction Causing Problems for Children, Teens, Parents

 

In a recent article by The Atlantic, Erika Christakis asserts that there is a growing epidemic of parents distracted by smartphones, unable to attend to the needs of their children.
This issue has grown more and more over the years, given the prevalence of smartphones and their presence in our daily lives. Not only is precious time being robbed from children, empathy and cognitive growth is as well.
The Atlantic quotes Temple University professor, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, saying, “Language is the single best predictor of school achievement… and the key to strong language skills are those back-and-forth fluent conversations between young children and adults.”
Hirsh-Pasek also states, “Toddlers cannot learn when we break the flow of conversations by picking up our cellphones or looking at the text that whizzes by our screens.”
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock
Distracted Parents Can Miss Children Crying for Attention
Speaking to the balance between adult needs and desires and children’s, Christakis writes that there has always been a time, throughout the generations, where adults have had to tend to the needs of the house and children were left to play or occupy themselves. This is reasonable, Christakis assures, however, the distraction that comes from being absorbed in smartphones, even addicted, is detrimental to children.
Christakis writes, “Smartphone use has been associated with a familiar sign of addiction: Distracted adults grow irritable when their phone use is interrupted; they not only miss emotional cues but actually misread them. A tuned-out parent may be quicker to anger than an engaged one, assuming that a child is trying to be manipulative when, in reality, she just wants attention.”
“Short, deliberate separations can of course be harmless, even healthy, for parent and child alike (especially as children get older and require more independence). But that sort of separation is different from the inattention that occurs when a parent is with a child but communicating through his or her nonengagement that the child is less valuable than an email.”
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock
The Risk of Children’s Screen Time
In addition to the issue of parental distraction, smartphones and technology have also become an issue for children. More frequently, children are exposed to screens in school, daycare settings, and at home. The Atlantic reports that children are exposed to more screen time than previous generations, with preschoolers averaging more than 4 hours per day and screen time beginning earlier, at only 4 months old.
Rather than playing outside or at home, children occupy themselves by watching television or videos online and playing games. The Atlantic reports, “To argue that parents’ use of screens is an underappreciated problem isn’t to discount the direct risks screens pose to children: Substantial evidence suggests that many types of screen time (especially those involving fast-paced or violent imagery) are damaging to young brains,” however, they say that “Some of the newer interactive games kids play on phones or tablets may be more benign than watching TV (or YouTube), in that they better mimic children’s natural play behaviors.”
Christakis concludes, “Still, no one really disputes the tremendous opportunity costs to young children who are plugged in to a screen: Time spent on devices is time not spent actively exploring the world and relating to other human beings.”
It seems that for children to develop better cognitively and grow in social learning, a significant amount of time away from the screen is necessary.
France Banning Smartphones from Schools
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has addressed the issue on a nation-wide scale. Macron has banned smartphones and tablets from all schools. “The phone ban will apply to all pupils in France up to the age of 15, as of the start of the new term in September,” Daily Mail writes.
Recognizing an ongoing issue with children and teenagers and screen time, the French Education Minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer told The Telegraph in December, “These days the children don’t play at break time anymore, they are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view that’s a problem.”
He continued, “This is about ensuring the rules and the law are respected. The use of telephones is banned in class. With headmasters, teachers and parents, we must come up with a way of protecting pupils from loss of concentration via screens and phones.”
Photo Courtesy:
French Schools Can Decide How to Implement Law
This newer law passed in French Parliament on Monday. According to the Daily Mail, Blanquer “said the earlier law did not apply across the board and lacked teeth, while the new law moves France ‘into the 21st century’.”
The new smartphone ban means that children and teens will have to leave smartphones and tablets at home or turned off during the day, although, the Education Minister realizes that these devices may be needed in case of emergency or for teaching.
At this point, each high school is reportedly allowed to make decisions for itself on whether to follow through with the ban in its entirety or to enact a partial ban. Furthermore, “Schools may make exceptions for ‘pedagogical use’, extra-curricular activities, or for disabled pupils,” according to Daily Mail; they continue, quoting Blanquer, “’It sends a message to French society’ as well as countries around the world.”

For When You Have to Say Goodbye

Embracing the Good in ‘Goodbye’
by Heidi Carlson

The first goodbye I remember is my family standing on the church stage, our elders praying with their hands on us. Tears. Cake and a reception in the fellowship hall. Friends and family from across the country. Lots of photos.
I didn’t know it at the time, but we wouldn’t return to the United States for five years after that goodbye. I was 5 years old.
For many, summer is a time of transition, a time that most likely includes a goodbye or two. A move to college or a move to an assisted-living residence. A move across the globe or a move to a town 20 miles away.
Holding back tears, most people would agree with my 8-year-old daughter (who has moved four times and lived in three countries): “I don’t like goodbyes. They are one of the worst things I don’t like.”
Goodbyes aren’t easy, but they’re a valuable practice in our homes and churches. Instead of hiding behind our discomfort—“I’m not good at goodbyes!”—we can develop practices that lead to healthy, helpful goodbyes. Here are five suggestions.
1. Acknowledge the Pain
For the person leaving, saying goodbye raises all kinds of painful uncertainties: Will I ever have this again? This fellowship? These friendships? These opportunities? This church? This community?
Those are the questions I had when I graduated from high school in Africa. As a third-culture kid, I knew I was leaving not only my school but also a culture I might never return to.
Whatever the circumstances of the parting, grief is a close companion of goodbye. God created us for community, and when physical separation breaks our community, we grieve. We long for togetherness. As I tell my children and remind myself, it’s okay to cry at goodbyes. As believers, we stand in a long line of the faithful who have grieved at a departure. However, we grieve with the hope and knowledge that eternal togetherness is certain.
When Paul left the Ephesian elders in Miletus they knew they wouldn’t see each other again on this earth. They accompanied him to the ship, “And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him” (Acts 20:38). These Christians didn’t conceal their tears or deny their grief. Neither should we.
2. Be Intentional
Maybe you’re the one staying put and saying goodbye to a friend moving away. Or perhaps you’re the one planning the relocation. In either case, make the goodbye intentional. You don’t have to throw a fancy party among the boxes, but making space in the schedule to say a purposeful goodbye honors relationships. Often we focus on the person departing, but those left behind, particularly family members, can also feel the deep pain of separation.
In the military we have a tradition called the “Hail and Farewell.” We welcome newcomers to the team and honor those who are departing. At a farewell, colleagues and friends get the opportunity to say a word of encouragement and give parting gifts. “Hail and Farewells” are an integral part of the military community, encouraging healthy goodbyes.
Though formal goodbye parties can be important, individual parting words are essential, too. On a recent move from Romania, we were about to drive our loaded car away on an Eastern European road trip that would ultimately end at an airport in Germany and a flight back to the States. We had buckled the kids. We opened our gate.
But I felt to the urge to say goodbye to the neighbors one more time. I wanted to thank them for their friendship and kindness. Sure enough, the few extra minutes were worth it.
3. Acknowledge Blessings
At the point of saying goodbye, we have an opportunity to acknowledge the blessings of the past.
Our family will soon move to house in a different neighborhood. Though the relocation is barely a mile away, we feel the impending change. Before the goodbye, we’ll walk through each room of our home with our kids and share memories of living here. We’ll write down their favorite memories—where we put the Christmas tree; the bedroom where our daughter lost her first tooth; the dining room where we hosted family, friends, refugees, and neighbors; the kitchen where we made pizza every Friday; the corner where I sat to drink in the view. We write them down as Ebenezers to God’s goodness and faithfulness.
A friend of mine, a military spouse, says her family sets aside the beginning of each relocation road trip to share the “bests” of living in the place they’re leaving. This practice teaches children to reflect on God’s kindness in difficult circumstances. And it trains our hearts to be thankful for his faithfulness in our lives.
4. Pray at Departure
The best goodbyes are marked by prayer. We’ve stood in a circle at the airport to pray and bid farewell to dear friends. As a family, in the loaded minivan with the engine running, we’ve prayed before beginning yet another cross-country move. Such times of prayer help us focus our teary eyes on Christ, who goes before us.
Two thousand years ago on the coast of Syria, a band of disciples honored the goodbye by praying (Acts 21:5–6). After seven days of sweet fellowship, Paul had to say goodbye yet again as he continued his third missionary journey. He didn’t give a quick wave, quipping “see you in heaven if not before” as he boarded the ship. No. Fathers, mothers, and children alike accompanied him to the outskirts of the city. Kneeling on the beach, they prayed and said their goodbyes.
5. Remember You Are Sent
Some of my most meaningful goodbyes have come in the form of commissions, like that church service from my childhood.
Our missionary commissioning service recognized God’s call on our lives and sent us to do that work. Twenty years later, I was commissioned in the United States Air Force. I took an oath, and the military confirmed my competence and sent me to do my duty. When I graduated from college, my Bible study group gave departing seniors a spiritual commissioning. We were reminded that wherever we went, we were sent ones.
When the time comes to say goodbye, we can be assured that God goes before us. He is with us in the journey, and he is preparing us for the next destination.

Netflix Building Faith & Family-Family Library

VP Says; ‘It’s a Very Important Audience’

Netflix is well-known for its edgy content, but a company vice president said the streaming service is working to produce family content, too.
“It’s a very important audience to us,” Netflix vice president of original series, Cindy Holland, said at the Television Critics Associations’ Summer Press Tour in California Sunday, according to Fox News. “It represents a significant percentage of the population not only here in the U.S., but around the world.”
Holland, who did not provide details, added that she “grew up in a place that was very much steeped in those traditions.”
“I want to make some great programming for my cousins and their families too,” she said. “So it is something that we are focused on really building out a robust slate of family-friendly programming.”
Her comments mirror what Brian Bird, a producer for When Calls the Heart and The Case For Christ, told Blasting News. He is producing a family-friendly series for Netflix.
“People are taking notice of the hunger out there for faith and family kind of content,” Bird said.
Bird wants families to be able to watch TV together.
“That was a cultural experience that was part of my growing-up years — watching Bonanza and [other] shows with my family. And that’s lost to us now. But When Calls the Heart is actually bringing it back, because we hear from a lot of our fans.
“… They tell us all the time: ‘We loved watching the show with our whole family and it’s pretty hard to find anything else that you can do that with.’”

Why Indianapolis Megachurch Members Are Joining God in the ‘Swamp’

by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

On the eastern side of Indianapolis, there’s a neighborhood that police used to call the “swamp.”
Less than four miles from the city’s revitalized downtown (including the Indiana Convention Center and 10-year-old Lucas Oil Stadium), Brookside is lined with quaint old houses and spacious yards. If you tip your head and squint, you can see how it used to be a beautiful and bustling middle-class neighborhood back in the ’40s.
But if you stop squinting, you’ll see the garbage piled up in the alley. You’ll see the broken and boarded-up windows and the overgrown lawns. More than a third of houses here are abandoned (37 percent). Residents earn a lower per capita income than 97 percent of the rest of the country. Only 40 percent of kids attending the local public school pass state examinations. And the wider area—called the Near Eastside—is one of the most dangerous in Indianapolis, with 24 murders in 2016 and 10 in 2017. (As a whole, Indianapolis’s 2018 murder rate is outpacing 2017.)

It’s been that way for a while. More than 20 years ago, when College Park Church asked the mayor which part of their city needed the most help, he pointed to Brookside.
The church initially started a Saturday kids’ church in a local community center in the mid-’90s, but the need seemed greater elsewhere. College Park spent the next 10 years focusing on other countries.
“We wanted to go where people had never heard the name of Jesus,” urban outreach pastor Dale Shaw said. “But we had a blind eye to some of the needs in America.”
It wasn’t until a congregational survey in 2006 that the leadership realized their weakness on local missions. “We needed to ‘build bridges of grace that can bear the weight of truth,’ a statement I borrowed from Randy Alcorn,’” lead pastor and TGC Council member Mark Vroegop said.
Shaw was tapped to start the local effort. He figured they’d focus on Brookside—after all, they already had that kids’ church there.
Shaw wasn’t naïve; he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The set-up—a wealthy megachurch from the suburbs reaching back into the city—does not lend itself to easy success. Even with patience and hard work, there are cultural and socioeconomic barriers that often prove too hard to cross. He’d seen other churches try and fail and try and fail.
That’s why it was so weird when College Park succeeded.

By the end of 2016, media reports called the Brookside neighborhood “one of Indy’s most improved neighborhoods,” where “crime and drug activity are both down.”
“It’s amazing to see how this place has changed,” said Indianapolis police spokesman Aaron Hamer, who patrolled in Brookside when he joined the department 11 years ago. (He attends the College Park Fishers congregation.)
For that change to happen, holistic investment was needed—everything from job opportunities to education to mothering support to legal aid, all centered around the grace and guidance of the gospel. It’s too much for any church to pull together in 10 years, even one with the resources of College Park.
And that’s the secret. Because aside from planting a church in 2012, College Park didn’t set up a single program or design a single ministry.
Grassroots
Shaw is on the extreme end of extrovert, honking and waving hello to every single person he drives by, whether he knows them or not. He can’t stop himself from chatting with strangers in the park or restaurant or street.
He hasn’t read When Helping Hurts, but he did listen to co-author Brian Fikkert when he came to speak to College Park. (“I love that guy,” he says enthusiastically.) And Shaw’s nature lends itself to asking questions, listening, connecting people, and investing in relationships.
So when College Park took its first Christmas offering for local ministry in 2008, Shaw didn’t use it to start a local ministry. Instead, he thought about the people he knew who were already running good urban ministries.
“We said to our grassroots friends, ‘We want to do something in Brookside. If we gave you a grant, how could you help us?’” said Shaw, who had $643,000 to spend. “It was really fun and exciting. We had all kinds of ideas.”

Heart Change—a discipleship and life skills school born after College Park member Cindy Palmer saw the ongoing needs of moms at the pregnancy center where she volunteered—said they’d move into Brookside when Shaw offered them a small, unused building.
The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, headquartered about five miles away, said they’d open an intake center in Brookside. (Attorneys there provide free legal help to urban residents in areas of bankruptcy, clearing criminal history, and foreclosure defense.)
And a shrinking Nazarene church gave College Park their building for Kids’ Church and other ministries in exchange for renovating it.
Kids’ Church was by now 10 years old, and steadily plugging along. But with the excitement at College Park around building a new sanctuary, commissioning more than 50 missionaries, and planting two new churches, it wasn’t grabbing a lot of pulpit time or headlining any capital funding campaigns.
While nobody was looking, Kids’ Church was slowly building a foundation for everything else.

The best thing College Park did for Brookside was not try too hard in the early days. The church didn’t roll in with well-funded programs staffed by outsiders, provide quick answers to decades-long problems, or even set any long-term goals.
Instead, Kids’ Church staff and volunteers learned about problems without being able to offer immediate solutions, watched the slow progression of intergenerational poverty, and built genuine friendships.
“Kids’ Church created enough relational capital that when we did start working intentionally in 2008, it really took root,” Shaw said.
We needed to ‘build bridges of grace that can bear the weight of truth.’
“It’s a mercy,” he said. “We’re not smarter than anybody else. We were just concentrating on other things.”
When Kids’ Church did get its own space and a little more attention, it stabilized and began to grow. The College Park boost helped the legal clinic (which takes between 100 and 200 cases a year) and Heart Change (which outgrew its meeting space in two years).
The more College Park got to know Brookside, the more opportunities for long-term development it saw. And the more development it did, the more change it saw—in both Brookside and College Park.

In 2012, College Park helped The Oaks Academy—a nearby classical Christian school designed to offer excellent education regardless of income—open a second campus in Brookside. The Oaks Academy was a known entity: Its first campus was started in 1998, in a neighborhood just ten minutes away. (Former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels would later say that “of all things life has brought, the start of The Oaks is the most important human endeavor I’ve ever been privileged to be part of.”)
The brick Brookside building opened to 85 students, then doubled to 165 the next year. Five years in, they have more than 250 students. (About 92 percent of them will go to college.)
Half of the students are from low-income households. “We see every person as an image-bearer,” said Kelly Altman, head of school at The Oaks Brookside. “Education is a great equalizer.”

One little girl, who just finished second grade, was living with her mom and two little sisters in a shelter three years ago. Today, her mom is in Heart Change, she and her sisters live in a house and ride bikes around the neighborhood, and she can recite Alice Joyce Davidson’s poem “Even-Tempered” flawlessly. (“But the thing that’s most amazing to me is I have seen you be so quick to pardon your sisters lately,” Cindy Palmer tells her. “You don’t get mad at them. You’re not easily irritated by them. You’re doing really well.”)
College Park also helped elder David Palmer (Cindy’s husband) start a furniture-making business. Purposeful Design grew up in response to Palmer’s 15 years of volunteering at a nearby homeless shelter, hearing “I’m looking for a job” over and over. He began teaching the men how to work with wood and how to read their Bibles. Palmer now employs eight full-time craftsmen—all formerly addicted and/or homeless.
One is the son of a College Park couple—“grew up in the church but kinda got lost in addictions,” Shaw said. “But he is thriving here.”
Another is Rusty Phillips, who moved in with his dad when he was in high school. “My dad owned a bar, and I thought—being 16—that was the best thing in the world,” said Phillips, a bear of a man with tight orange curls springing from beneath his baseball cap. “I thought I hit the jackpot.”
He didn’t. Phillips “got in with the wrong crowd,” drinking and doing drugs. He taught himself to read in prison, and picked up a Bible in another prison. He found out about Purposeful Design while staying in the homeless shelter where Palmer used to volunteer.
“It was definitely a godsend,” he said. “This place is wonderful. It kept me clean. It keeps my relationship with the Lord—this place and the men here.” Now Phillips goes to church twice a week, works hard to stay clean, and encourages his colleagues to do the same. (“We’re just one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread,” Palmer said.)

Also in 2012, College Park planted Nehemiah Bible Church. It was the next iteration of Kids’ Church, because “kids were aging out at 18 with nowhere to go,” said Kids’ Church then-pastor Cory Johnson. So College Park stopped the Kids’ Church to plant Nehemiah, ordaining Johnson to keep him in the neighborhood. (It’s practically home for Johnson; he grew up 18 blocks north of Brookside. Because he’s got both the history and also the gift of preaching, he’s effective where a traditional College Park pastor couldn’t be, Shaw said.)
In five years, Johnson started a food pantry but shut it down when it was too enabling. He tried a dignity project to encourage people to work, but couldn’t motivate them. Finally he landed on a daycare, which provides a Christian environment for low-income families so parents can work. At Nehemiah, he teaches Reformed theology, practices church discipline, and has done about 80 baptisms in the last five years. (And he restarted Kids’ Church.)

College Park’s efforts in Brookside were working. In fact, it looked like a textbook example of the When Helping Hurts principles—listening and building relationships, grassroots ministries springing up in response to actual needs, long-term development instead of quick relief, centering everything around the gospel and the need to live biblically.
“I love the layers,” Altman said. “There are moms who attend Heart Change and dads who work at Purposeful Design and children who attend The Oaks. There is an opportunity to redeem what has been broken for many years because there are so many layers around it. That’s invaluable for families—that there is such strong partnership and so many people cheering them on.”
The most influential cheerleaders are peers—the men and women from the neighborhood who have already believed the gospel and begun to stabilize their lives.
But the B-team cheerleaders from College Park are also passionate, because nothing is more attractive or invigorating than watching the Spirit of God at work. (“I told my husband I would do this for free,” Altman said.) They just kept edging closer and closer—until they started moving in.

College Park sits in the first suburb north of Indianapolis. Carmel (originally named Bethlehem by Quakers back in the 1830s) was ranked America’s best place to live at CNN Money in 2012, then by Niche.com in both 2017 and also 2018.
Seven out of 10 Carmel residents have graduated from college. Most own their own homes (78 percent), the median value of which is more than $305,000. Their median household income tops $106,000. No one’s been killed there since a man shot his wife and then himself in 2014.
College Park fits in well, with 2,400 members, a gorgeous new sanctuary, and an $11 million annual budget. The church offers live-streamed church services, small groups (you can search for the one geographically closest to you), and online directions on how to donate stock.
The congregation is about 30 minutes north of Brookside. From the beginning, it seemed like a long trip, especially since part of the ministry of Heart Change is picking up mothers who don’t have their own vehicles.
“You’d be driving to their homes and have to go around four cop cars just to get to the house,” said Sarah Shaw, wife of Dale. Doing that over and over “defanged it. These are just people, and so many of them are young and isolated.”
Heart Change volunteers went with their moms to the bank, to the doctor, to the kids’ schools. They attend baby showers and parent-teacher conferences and court proceedings.
Eventually, Cindy Palmer and Sarah began to joke with one another, “Boy, it sure would be easier if we lived down here.”

And then, somebody did. Dori Morton—who was involved with Heart Change—and her husband, Frank.
“They fell in love with it,” Shaw said. “They said they had found more friends in one year than they did in 20 in [their suburb].”
Cindy and Sarah got a little more serious. “Look,” their husbands said to each other. “It doesn’t have to be forever. We could try it.”
A week later, Sarah found the house she wanted. When she and Dale walked in the first time, he felt “nauseated.” It was falling apart, full of junk, and smelled horrible.
They bought the place and gutted it; now it’s a charming 1913 home with an open floor plan, a fireplace, and a screened-in porch off their second-floor bedroom. From it, you can see both their well-kept backyard and also the scrap metal piled up at the neighbor’s.
Another College Park couple moved in, and then another. Today, there are 12 College Park families living within a few blocks of each other and more thinking about making the move.
“They’re not just cosmetically fixing the houses—they’re making them nice,” said Todd Ralston, who has lived in Brookside since the early ’70s. The Shaws now live two doors down from him.

“You look at it, and it stands out, like, ‘Wow. I didn’t know the street could look like that,’” Ralston said. “That is very uplifting. Even if it’s one house or two, that can change a whole block.” (And Shaw makes sure it’s just a house or two—he’s mindful of spacing, making sure church members aren’t gentrifying the neighborhood.)
But the advantages are deeper than stable home ownership and better-kept lawns. “Most of our moms only experience community when they’re in class with us,” Cindy said. “Most of these women live in isolation. Many are afraid that if anyone comes in your house, they’re seeing what you have so they can come and steal it, or to see how you’re living so they can report you to the [Department of Child Services].”
Now that Heart Change women are living in the same neighborhood, they walk together—and with Heart Change mentors—on Tuesday evenings. They have coffee on Saturdays. They sit on each other’s porches.

Shaw’s dream is for every one of the 50 blocks in Brookside to have an “anchor house,” where a solid College Park family lives missionally. To drum up interest, he offers “roadies,” or short road trips through the neighborhood and ministries for College Parkers on Saturday mornings. On it, Shaw explains the “five pillars of a healthy community” he’s seen change the community—a culture of place and relationship, Jesus-centered churches, opportunities for economic development, strong educational structures, and safe and affordable housing.
The roadies are working; of the about 250 people who have been on one, 36 are thinking seriously about moving in. Still, it’s a lot to ask. The blocks with Covenant housing and College Park homes feel moderately safe (no bars on the doors or windows), but last month someone dumped the bodies of three decomposing dogs a few streets over. Last year, a man was shot dead in an alley, a teen was shot and killed in front of the public elementary school, and two children were kidnapped over unpaid drug money.
In the last six months, Brookside has had 376 reported crimes, including 69 against a person (mostly battery), 135 property crimes (including theft, fraud, vandalism), and 42 crimes against society (such as prostitution, juvenile runaways, criminal trespassing). In comparison, the neighborhood just to the north of Brookside had half the crime (175 incidents in the past six months), and at least one on the other side of the interstate had 7 percent of the crime (27 incidents).
“I have wondered what I’d do if I was upstairs and somebody came in and the alarm went off,” Sarah Shaw said. “I’d lock myself in my room and pray, ‘Lord, just help.’”
The Shaws are leaning on that help.

“We think the gospel has the power to light up the whole neighborhood,” Dale Shaw said.
He’s already seen it, in the smiles and waves of neighbors, in the kids giving speeches at The Oaks and the men praying before work at Purposeful Design, in the funeral he did for a neighbor in which he laid out the gospel message. He sees it in the houses themselves, with their fresh paint and cut lawns and bright flowers. And he sees it in himself, in his prejudices that have been challenged and his heart that has been softened.
“God is on the move,” he said. “He keeps changing us.”

That’s a common sentiment.
“We have women [volunteers] who may be in a dry spell with their own walk, and God really uses this environment where we are servants and it’s all about God’s Word,” Barb Tait said. She’s speaking from experience. “I thought I was going to go help the poor, and the first thing I realized was that I am a broken sinner, and it was my heart that needed to be saved from prejudices and assumptions and selfishness. God exposed me.”
“I can see people in poverty, and I’m not intimidated by that anymore,” said Heart Change volunteer Kris Schneider. “I can talk to them. I love the relationships I’ve formed with the women here and what that does for me and my heart.”
Her heart change can hardly be overstated. Schneider and her husband are finishing up an adoption process—they’re taking home two children of a Heart Change mother who could no longer parent.
“As Brookside has flourished, it has created a hunger for a similar but different transformation to take place in the suburbs as we consider what incarnational gospel influence looks like outside of the urban core,” Vroegop said. (They’ve found it looks a lot like the same five pillars.) “Brookside has expanded our understanding of how the gospel brings hope.”

“The contemporary evangelical church is too quick to overlook social issues out of pragmatism, write off social justice as ‘liberal theology,’ and forget that the Bible uses strong words when the poor and disenfranchised are neglected,” Vroegop said. “The ‘though your sins are like scarlet’ issues that will be washed white as snow in Isaiah 1 include failing to seek justice, not correcting oppression, not bringing justice to the fatherless and neglecting to plead the widow’s cause (v. 17).”
He knows that College Park can’t cure poverty in Indianapolis. Indeed, as Brookside brightens, drug deals and violence may simply darken another area of town.
“The fact that social issues may move to another part of the city is, perhaps, discouraging because there is no comprehensive solution,” Vroegop said. “But isn’t that what the church is called to do—to bring light in darkness and hope in despair? We are convinced that we should try. . . . Our prayer is for more churches and individual believers to engage the needy parts of our city with the hope of the gospel not just because it works, but because it is right.”
“We see through a glass darkly—we cannot get a full picture,” Altman said. “God does far more with our ‘yes’ than we could ever do by plan or intent. It’s definitely a privilege to be here—sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself.”

Are Christians Prepared for the World Ahead of Them?

by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
The year 1976 continues to reverberate throughout evangelical Christianity. The towering giants of the evangelical world at that time seemed to see our world in increasingly hopeful terms. The urgent cultural crises of the 1960s appeared to be in recession.
As we now know, it was not really so. In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion on demand nationwide. Larger intellectual currents were setting the stage for a massive shift in the culture. Evangelicals were wearing “I Found It” buttons and building massive megachurches, but the culture was shifting toward a hostile secularism that would not be fully apparent for a generation.
Still, some saw it coming. I turned 17 in 1976 and was facing my last year of high school and trying to figure out the world around me. An apologetic crisis had troubled me for a couple of years by then, and I needed help. I was already facing some of the issues and questions that would soon explode onto the American scene.
Thankfully, I did get help, and from multiple sources. D. James Kennedy introduced me to the writings of Francis Schaeffer. At that point, I had not met Schaeffer, but his writings were a form of theological rescue for me. They gave me a way of understanding how the Christian faith related to and answered the questions of the world around me.
In 1976, Schaeffer released How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, and I bought one of the first copies. I read it from cover to cover with intensity, knowing that Schaeffer was telling the story of Western civilization.
How Should We Then Live? was both a book and a multi-episode video project, just like Lord Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, a 1969 series on the history of Western society told from a humanistic perspective. This was not a coincidence. Schaeffer was deliberately answering Clark and telling a very different story. The subtitle of the book made that clear—The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. That was virtually the opposite of Lord Clark’s story. Schaeffer did not disagree with every argument of Clark’s Civilisation, but he did disagree with many of Clark’s arguments and, more importantly, with Clark’s humanistic interpretation of the main story.
Francis and his wife, Edith, founded and directed L’Abri Fellowship, a ministry in the Swiss mountains, drawing disaffected and confused young people from around the world, presenting them with the gospel of Christ, and answering their questions with a rational and demonstrative apologetic for biblical Christianity. While other leaders were building the evangelical empire, the Schaeffers took in scores of long-haired and intellectually agitated young people, engaging their minds and interpreting the culture.
I read How Should We Then Live? straight through, but the book troubled me. Who was right about the main story of Western civilization, Schaeffer or Clark? I wasn’t sure when I first read the book. Lord Clark pointed to the continual rise of the culture over centuries, right down to the present. Schaeffer saw modern culture as overwhelmingly opposed to God and disintegrating, cut off from any ability to make transcendent judgments or truth claims. He saw the looming humanism as a direct challenge to Christianity. I realized then that Lord Clark believed the same, and yet he saw the new humanism as a liberation from ancient but persistent religious beliefs. To my chagrin, I had not realized the presuppositions behind Clark’s story of civilization.
The collision between Clark and Schaeffer introduced me to the great collision of worldviews that became such a central interest and urgency of my life. On the one hand, I felt embarrassed that I had not recognized the problems with Lord Clark’s storyline. On the other hand, I knew that I desperately wanted to understand the intersection of ideas, morality, art, culture, architecture, music, science, philosophy, and biblical Christianity.
Years before words such as worldviews and truth claims entered the common evangelical vocabulary, Schaeffer was introducing the terms and stressing their importance. He knew that the great conflict of world-views was underway, and he cared deeply about a generation of young people who were even then deciding between Christianity and intellectual revolution.
Schaeffer was absolutely right when he began How Should We Then Live? with these words: “There is a flow to history and culture.” Yes, there is such a flow, and Christians had better know which way the culture is flowing.
“People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of those presuppositions than even they themselves may realize,” Schaeffer wrote, and he was talking this way when most evangelicals were unaware of the storm of worldviews that was coming. He perceived the presuppositions of the looming humanistic and secular worldview as showing up first in art and high culture. He was right. While most evangelicals were watching Gunsmoke and taking their kids to the newly opened Walt Disney World, Schaeffer was listening and watching as a new worldview was taking hold of the larger culture.
He was also right that the greatest threats to evangelical faithfulness were the promises of personal peace and affluence. He was prophetic in criticizing the Christian church for a legacy of racism and the abuse of economic abundance. He was right when he looked to developments such as Roe v. Wade and knew that something seismic had shifted in the culture, and that bigger shocks were yet to come.
He was also asking precisely the right question: How should we then live? That question that troubled Schaeffer so much in 1976 troubles all of us now. We are about to find out if professing Christians in this generation are going to believe and to live authentic biblical Christianity.

Teen Vogue Tells Girls Abortion ‘Can Be Funny’

Teen Vogue has published an article about an “abortion comedy tour,” drawing criticism from pro-life supporters.
In a July 18 opinion piece, Solange Azor wrote for the publication about the Lady Parts Justice League, a comedy tour she interned with in 2017.
“Lady Parts Justice League is a grassroots, comedy driven, pro-abortion organization founded by comedian and activist Lizz Winstead in 2015,” Azor said. “They are a group of comedians and performers who use their art to raise awareness about the erosion of reproductive rights.
“Consequently, their style of comedy varies from staging counter protests at fake abortion clinics to posting online memes about harmful legislation in the United States.”
Azor said she was “slightly hesitant” of the group’s mission to use comedy in abortion politics, but she said the “Vagical Mystery Tour” uses “laughter to bring people in, and then takes that opportunity to remind them that every person has the capacity to be an advocate.”
The group shouts back at pro-life supporters who may be protesting at clinics and “make jokes out of the situation.” The group also volunteers with the clinic if needed.
“What makes Lady Parts Justice League critical in the current political moment is their ability to push both anti-abortion and pro-choice advocates to be unapologetically supportive of women that choose to obtain abortions, no matter what their reasons,” Azor said.
Cassy Fiano-Chesser, a blogger at Live Action, however, wrote in response to the opinion piece that abortion isn’t funny.
“Teen Vogue applauded the comedy tour for bringing ‘joy, pleasure, and relief’ to discussions on the topic — even though there is nothing joyful about a woman in a situation so dire that she feels she has no choice but to take the life of her preborn child,” she said.
“Are these the messages that young girls need to be hearing?” she added. “This kind of extremism has no place in a publication marketed towards children, and yet, that’s exactly what Teen Vogue continues to do.”