Hey Bible Giver,
Does it seem to you like the world is raging against itself daily, trying to tear apart what is left of civilization? The Delta variant has given fresh legs to the Covid pandemic, whether you are a vaxer or anti-vaxer. And no one can even agree on what is wrong, let alone how to fix it. How do you move forward in the midst of all of this chaos? As a Christian, the hope within you provides not just comfort, but the ability to continue to focus on what is truly important, no matter how broken the world is.
Time in the Word and prayer helps me lead when I don’t even know what next week will look like, but I also seek perspective from others. Lately I have listened to Carey Nieuwhof’s podcasts. He is a former Pastor who writes and podcasts on leadership. His readership includes church pastors as well as business leaders. Carey’s June 29 podcast guest was Christian social commentator Ed Stetzer. Mr. Stetzer’s observations were fascinating and useful to understand the social chaos of today. I don’t always agree with Stetzer’s positions, but my own commentary here flows directly from Ed’s thought-provoking comments. If you want to hear it for yourself, and for attribution, here is a link to the podcast: CNLP 426: Ed Stetzer on the Evangelical Reckoning, QAnon, Conspiracy Theories and Why Extremes are Not the Norm - CareyNieuwhof.com
Many of us were old enough to remember the last time the country seemed to be tearing itself apart. The four-year span from 1968 to 1972 were what Ed Stetzer referred to as the last “cultural convulsion”. The US has routinely had these convulsions every 50 to 60 years. In that time frame, we had an impeached president, a war that did not end well, a pandemic (recall the Hong Kong Flu?), two high profile assassinations (Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy), racial tension and riots from one end of the country to another. Sound familiar?
I was eight years old at the time. I recall my father explaining to us what a curfew was and why we had to stay home and not go out dusk to dawn. I remember the smoke in the air from parts of Milwaukee burning. The news was filled with images of riots, tension, angry people shouting at each other. (And no one listening, so it seemed). I read about a Milwaukee policeman accidently shot by his fellow officers. That shocked my senses. I grew a lot more aware of the world around me in the summer of 1968, and the world seemed a powder keg with a burning fuse.
The country eventually settled down and was somewhat predicable until 2020, when a new convulsion started. Race riots. Not one impeachment, but two, and, the pandemic… All institutions of social norms are rejected in these times of unrest. The government always tops the list, but its interesting how the CDC, WHO and even the UN have taken it on the chin in this court of world opinion. And the church is not immune. It’s been hard to be a Pastor or church leader for the past 2 years. The bad news Stetzer shared was that we’re not done. These upheavals can last 4 years. Pastors and leaders are criticized no matter what vaccine or mask stance they take.
So, how do we move forward, Bible Givers? In times of crisis, you focus on your mission and find ways to keep moving forward despite the headwinds. The church has the ONLY durable answer to what ails the world, and MANY are open to the Gospel – they Need some good news. I continue to believe there is an enormous harvest out there for us, if we stay focused on our mission to give Bibles wherever there is need. The world is likely going to keep tearing at itself for the next couple years and then settle down. Let’s not squander the huge opportunity in front of us, but stay focused on mission. And maybe give your Pastor some words of encouragement, too.
Give Hope. Give Life. Give Bibles! CJH