By Rob Schwarzwalder
Family Research Council
Note from editor: Rob Schwarzwalder's essay is a timely reminder of the need to be missionally committed to serving. It is a fitting column for the In Business For Life forum.
Rob Schwarzwalder | Family Research Council | Tuesday, July 22, 2014
This originally posted at Christian Headlines.
Evangelicals’ mistakes in public life make snarky headlines all too frequently. But that doesn’t mean they’re always wrong.
Sometimes we’ve been too strident, so earnest and overly insistent, we make finding common ground virtually impossible. Name-calling for Jesus never honors Him.
Sometimes we’ve been too judgmental, quick to warn (rather theatrically) of God’s impending wrath on America or those we oppose politically.
Sometimes we’ve let political action supersede Christian evangelism, letting our temporal passions, however legitimate, override our Christ-given duty to fulfill the Great Commission.
Sometimes we’ve depersonalized our opponents, objectifying them with epithets instead of considering how we might both show them the love of Christ and persuade them concerning their political ideas.
Sometimes we’ve been too easily duped, ready to believe things we’re told by political and pastoral authorities because they use words and phrases that resonate with us and because we fatally place our hope in princes.
Sometimes we’ve oversimplified complex issues, reducing conflicts to (sometimes angry) slogans rather than providing humble consideration and prudential judgment.
Sometimes we’ve worshipped idols of political power, thinking that if we could only elect the “right” people and pass the “right” laws, our opponents would slink away and we could create the land of glory in the lower 48.
Sometimes our leaders have been crass, cutting, and shrill, saying things that make any serious Christian cringe.
Sometimes we’ve been activated more by frustration than wisdom, allowing the pain we feel in seeing our culture erode to overwhelm strategic, loving thinking, and thereby launching off into initiatives that are doomed to failure from the outset.
Yet in the public square, Evangelicals get a lot of things right.
We’ve born prophetic witness to the teachings of the Bible as they relate to public action and popular culture, a witness that was missing for decades.
We’ve stood against the destruction of unborn life and the dehumanization of their mothers, politically and in very tangible, compassionate ways.
We’ve sought to re-elevate the central role family plays in the lives of children and the culture broadly, encouraged marital fidelity, and worked to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman, for life, for the good of all around them.
We’ve raised the moral dimensions of various issues during an era in which moral relativism, post-modern deconstructionist theory, and basic ethical confusion have discouraged and often belittled the very ideas of right and truth.
We’ve cautioned that God is personal, just and the Sovereign of history; a truth that history itself bears witness to as nations that abandon Him fall through their own decay.
We’ve ministered to those in need, whether sexually trafficked or impoverished or malnourished or victims of natural disaster or diseased or exploited or addicted or homeless, in countless ways and often at great personal and social cost.
We’ve warned wisely of the risks imposed by the gods and obsessions of every age. From Carl Henry to Chuck Colson, David Wells to Herbert Schlossberg, the Evangelical critique has been intensive and frequently profound.
We’ve been stereotyped, ridiculed, dismissed as living anachronisms and demeaned as “poor, undereducated, and easily led” (in the words of a 1990s-era Washington Post comment). We’ve not always enhanced our credibility when those seen as Evangelical leaders reacted with rage to such designations or, on the other hand, internalized them without qualification and engaged in rhetorical self-flagellation, virtually apologizing for trying to advance biblically inspired policies.
We’ve done what many of our critics have asked: Our children have attended Ivy-League schools, have published scholarly books and articles in abundance, gained senior-level positions in the media, and so forth. Nevertheless, after advancing past the gate-keeping institutions, we’re often told to quietly fold our hands in our laps– or jettisoned outright if we fail to hold our peace.
Still, we must be above reproach. Whether in tone, temperament, character or conduct, Evangelicals should strive to be all things to all people. Just bear in mind that standing for justice and righteousness in the political, civic and social arenas can mean rejection or worse. A great cloud of martyrs bears witness to this truth.
For those unwilling to countenance that kind of mistreatment, simply plant your talent in the ground (Matthew 25:14-30). The Master has already told us how He will respond.
But we press on, knowing that however graciously, calmly, and lovingly we present the truth, many will hate us, asperse us, disparage us. Why? Because they hated Jesus first, and we belong to and represent Him (John 15:8).
Still we work to be found a good and faithful servant by the one who has suffered the most for us all, to receive that reward set aside for those who endure serious misunderstanding and worse while delivering a message of love and hope.
Keith and Donielle Wilde are expecting their tenth child, now 17 weeks in gestation, and the baby is already a hero. Thanks to the pregnancy, doctors discovered an ovarian tumor which then revealed her breast cancer had returned after a nine-year remission. Her doctors have asked her to consider an abortion because the baby will not survive Donielle's cancer treatment. Donielle's reaction: Cancer treatment will have to wait until the baby is born, resulting in critical time lost in the effective treatment of her breast cancer.
Donielle's response should be an inspiration to businessmen and women who risk home and business when putting principle over personal welfare.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
For full story: http://www.lifenews.com/2014/07/18/mother-pregnant-with-her-10th-child-refuses-cancer-treatment-and-abortion/
I scream, you scream, we all scream for....?
A business is evidently trying to make the world a better place for death. The Oregon-based What's the Scoop ice cream parlor is offering "Rose City Revolution" ice cream as a limited-edition flavor to commemorate legal abortion and rally area abortion rights supporters.
Any Portland, Oregon pro-life businesses out there interested in a counter offer that is really worthy screaming for, instead of against?
32 year-old Brother Frommeyer unwittingly contracted his New Orleans-based company, River Parish Disposal, to help prepare a site for a "medical complex" only to later find a poison pill in this deal -- babies would be aborted. Read this inspiring story by Peter Finney, Jr., in the Clarion Herald.
"It's a good idea, but it won't cure cancer."
Phrases like that represent the magnitude of the disease called cancer; the affliction is so massive and so complex that its cure is deeply embedded in our lexicon of skepticism. Everybody wants cancer cured but precious few have the personal, professional and economic margin to commit to something so elusive and seemingly inevitable, and that is why In Business For Life finds Warner Baxter intriguing. Leaders tend to take on challenges that they can reasonably see solved in a finite period or season of time, but cancer is something that requires being content with small yardage instead of quick scores.
There are similar causes in this category: curing AIDS and a host of crippling diseases known mostly to third world country remains a hard slog, but there are other long term problems that get less visibility that IBFL readers might consider adopting. Adoption (and especially cross-cultural, cross-ethnic adoption) come to mind. Opposing the opening and sustenance of abortion clinics is another hard slog.
IBFL commends Warner Baxter, CEO of Ameren Missouri, of leveraging his personal and professional margin for a hard slog of a cause.
CEOs Against Cancer site: http://www.acsworkplacesolutions.com/ceosagainstcancer.asp.
Chris Patton at Christian Faith at Work writes a helpful, concise post about two competing schools of thought that really should not be competing: whether believers should be active (evangelizing by the initiative spoken word) or passive (evangelizing by life style and example). If the "active" school is too aggressive and the "passive" school too quiet, Patton's essay is a refreshing reminder that the Bible calls us to be doers in word and deed.
He commends the active:
"Barna reports that roughly 40% of the U.S. adult population is unchurched. That means there are plenty of people around you in the workplace that need what you have. They need you to share your faith."
He commends the passive:
"This means your business practices are to be above reproach. You are to walk what you talk! You are to live out all that Jesus has commanded us – in every facet of your life. You are not free to live as you please simply because you are good at approaching complete strangers with the truth of the gospel.
Does the Bible mean business? Author/Speaker Dr. Jim Harris found 12 Bible promises that he says should inform a Christian businessman's company plan, and he has fit them into four categories. You can find the full post and verses at http://www.toahigherlevel.com/business-2/12-bible-promises-for-business-planning.
1. CRYSTALLIZE YOUR KINGDOM PURPOSE
2. SEEK GODLY ADVISORS
3. TAKE YOUR TIME
4. COUNT THE COST
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood have grabbed the lion's share of headlines lately for religiously-minded companies wanting to practice their business in accord with their faith, but there are many more such businesses across the United States and this 2012 article in Business Insider profiled 17 of them.
For some, making the company's bottom line square with God's bottom line has hurt business while others credit it for their success sauce. Most regard mixing faith and business as simply the foundational "cost of doing business" and they are content to succeed or fail on that recipe.
Read the full article here: "17 Big Companies That Are Intensely Religious," by Kim Bhasin and Melanie Hicken at Business Insider.
Are men unwelcome to matters regarding abortion because of gender? Pro-life women are saying that real men are needed more than ever.
"Join in the debate, guys," writes Chelsen Vicari, Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion Democracy. "You will be surprised how many of us ladies welcome your voice."
Read her July 17 column appeared in the Christian Post.