America Needs Prayer Like Never Before? Really?

This is the headline on a Foxnews.com piece written by Pastor Greg Laurie, Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.  I’m not sure what that is exactly, but apparently they are instrumental in organizing events for the day.

On National Day of Prayer, America needs prayer like never before

Now, the article, which you can read here, goes on to quote several people expounding on the reason America is so much worse off now than ever before.  The reasons are the usual suspects of the breakdown of the family, the shutting out of God in culture, the loss of the founding Judeo-Christian values, etc.  Interestingly, the writer brings back the old “the 1960s started us on a downward spiral” argument.

This purpose of this post is not to argue these points.  The purpose is to question the premise of the headline, and I’ll keep it short because it’s the perfect opportunity to put into practice the purpose of this blog.  I want you, the reader, to think about this.

Are we really worse off now than we were between 1800 and 1960?  Examine those 160 years from roughly the invention of the cotton gin, which contributed to the revitalization of the slave system through a Civil War then the oft-excused, even forgotten, period of segregation.

Is homosexuality, not mentioned in the article but obviously a big target for this observance, worse than the systematic oppression of a whole race of human beings for 150+ years?

Think about it.

And as always, let me know what you think.

 

Dobson and Stowe?

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing RightWingWatch.org.  I’m simply using their video because I didn’t find this clip anywhere else.

I’m also not making a final judgment on Mr. Dobson’s book, Fatherless, because I haven’t read it (yet).  I am going to try my best to read it.

But, independent of the quality of the writing in Fatherless, let’s examine the claim that Fatherless might be the modern-day Uncle Tom’s Cabin (“This is this,” Beck says and Dobson seems to completely agree with the assessment).

I recently read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, so I can speak to the standard set by it.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a complex novel that, while it does not leave its message to interpretation, is complex in its methods.  Stowe uses themes like humility, Christian faith and redemption, and racial and gender roles to tell a complex story.  It’s not just about the cruelest brands of slavery.  It demonstrates how even the slaves’ best conditions were unjust and degrading to everyone involved.

It displayed the everyday life of everyone involved in the slave system.  It had flawed characters, like St. Clare who ultimately achieved salvation through faith in Christ, and it had characters like Senator Bird who believes in the legality of slavery (specifically fugitive slave laws) but takes the opportunity to help a slave escape.

In short, Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows the slave system as it was…right then.  It didn’t speculate.  It didn’t predict.  It was a story of now…in 1851.

Also, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this complex novel so that she could change prejudiced minds.  It was published first in a major magazine read by people who needed convincing.  Fatherless would have to reach beyond a very conservative, predominately Christian audience (and change minds) to have the same impact as Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Fatherless, which is set in the future, is very much open to the inherent pitfalls of speculation and prediction.  Interpretation of current attitudes, economic and political changes, and changes in medical technology are just a few of these.

I definitely hope Fatherless doesn’t ignite a war given these inherent issues.

Again, I can’t say Fatherless is a bad novel.  I haven’t read it, but is it Uncle Tom’s Cabin?  Well, only time will tell.  I guess I have to concede my predictions are open to the same vicissitudes as the novel.  It seems unlikely though.

Has anyone read it?  How does it measure up?

A Good Start

On the About page of this blog, I express, in essence, the hope that at some point, the church will be able to discuss differing opinions on any cultural, moral or political issue civilly no matter what it is.  I hope that this includes the “agree to disagree” principle so that we can come as close as humanly possible to the truth about such things as respect for human life (death penalty, abortion, etc.), the government’s versus the church’s role in providing for widows and orphans, etc., etc.

Same sex marriage is among the issues that I know a vast majority of Christians can’t, under the current church climate, question in their church.  I know there are exceptions, and I hope that this is beginning to change.

Well, I just came across this document calling for exactly this to happen.

A Call for a New Conversation on Marriage

Now, I looked at the list of signatories and am not satisfied with the number of church leaders involved.  There are a few who are to the right of center on the conservative spectrum, and there are a few (“liberal”) seminary leaders and a Bishop in the Episcopal Church.  I applaud these church leaders, but I wish there were more conservatives on the list.

The most encouraging for me is the name of the President of Fuller Theological Seminary.  Fuller has for a long while been a distinctly Christian institution, with a good reputation for facilitating this kind of discussion.

I do hope this document is the spark for a new kind of discussion..

Dangerous New Front in the American Culture War

Watch this video, and keep an open mind.

Look past the “bias.” Look past the fact that it’s an opinion piece, and listen to what the Christians are saying.  There is no way you can take this completely out of context and make them mean something other than the words they’re saying.  Listen to the last words of the video at the very least.

Gospel of Intolerance

Unfortunately, I could only insert a link and not the actual video, but I think it at least speaks enough for itself to at least provoke your thought.