“For every century in the life of the Church, there have been places of persecution. In many instances, the persecution has included terrible, physical violence and even martyrdom. Rather than the world evolving into a more and more mellow environment, the persecution has actually accelerated. In the twentieth century, more Christians were martyred than in the previous nineteen centuries put together! Hopes that the world would mature and come to a more civilized and gracious demeanor have certainly not been realized. Increasingly, as the realities of Christendom have faded into a memory, there have been a number of forces assaulting Christians: Secularism, Radical Islam, and Paganism.”

Much, much more here. Must read material!

Agapé Does Not Mean What Many Think It Means

As I have been preparing several essays on ἀγάπη I came across this from Kelly Wright:

“In an article he wrote for Ebony magazine in 1966 titled Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom in 1966, King sounded the alarm that it is a moral imperative to be non-violent: “Only a refusal to hate or kill can put an end to the chains of violence in the world and lead us toward a community where men can live together without fear. Our goal is to create a beloved community.”

As King addressed the issues of his time and promoted a society of brotherhood, he wanted to avoid being looked upon as a super and unrealistic optimist in an age of cynicism and pessimism.

He wrote on page 64 of his book, Struggle to Love: “As we struggle to defeat the forces of evil, the God of the universe struggles with us. Evil dies on the seashore, not merely because of man’s endless struggle against it, but because of God’s power to defeat it.”

Dr. King did, and still does, encourage all of us to come to the table of brotherhood, to discuss our differences openly and honestly, to work and pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Dr. King would remind us that in everything we do, we must act in love. Not in some sort of sentimental love.

He explained it would be difficult for men to love their enemies or oppressors in an affectionate sense. Because of that, he pushed the concept of Agape love. He explained that Agape love is not sentimental or affectionate, but is a reciprocal love.

A person will love out of a redeeming good will for mankind. It is the kind of sacrificial love that seeks nothing in return.”

Read it all here.

Seriously, hie thee hence.

You’re welcome!

Conservative Naiveté and Politics…and Church ‘Polity’ and Our Christian Witness to Boot

These are difficult times. Understanding where we stand is a good step toward appropriately dealing with the reality of the times. We must not and cannot plant our heads in the sand. Too much rides on our being light and salt and the body of Christ for a deeply darkening world.

A snippet to whet your appetite – from Sarah Hey at Stand Firm in Faith:

“…The continued naive cluelessness from conservatives in our country and in various smaller organizations [like TEC] being eaten alive by revisionist parasite ideas continues to astound me. Most of us simply do not have discernment, and we continue to act “as if” something is not true that is true. That thing is well-described in this political theory article I’ve linked to over at RedState and from which the below is excerpted. Time after time after time, Our Allies act as if our opponents are one way, when in fact they are the other way entirely. You can’t act or think or write or discern effectively when you’ve completely and totally misunderstood the nature of your opponent or his future actions and responses. …

Hie thee hence for the remainder of this very timely word. P.S. – Read the comments as well.

Today’s Most Significant Pressing Problem

Dallas Willard is one of my top favorite authors, speakers, philosophers, thinkers. Frankly, if Dr. Willard published even his throwaway rough drafts, I’d rush to Amazon to buy my copy.

At this still early stage of the twenty-first century, Christians and Christian leaders from all directions would do quite well to take the full impact of the quote that follows. It seems to me, we would all then be under a Holy Spirit inspired obligation to pray. Hard. Then act. Promptly and decisively. There is no other option. This is Kingdom of God business.

“The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes – a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching its message too low.”

~ Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives

Can I get an AMEN out here?

A Prayer for Our Country

From : http://www.bcponline.org/Misc/Prayers.htm

Please consider using this prayer on an ongoing basis.

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Call for the Church to be the Church

This blog entry from the Reverend John P. Richardson’s web outpost, The Ugley Vicar, presents all Christians with the formidable and momentous call to mind the flank in the battle in which we must be active. That is, if we really are Christ’s Church!

A snip: “‘You cannot withdraw. Under any conditions. If you go, the line is flanked. If you go, they’ll go right up the hilltop and take us in the rear. You must defend this place to the last.’”

Five-star, recommended reading. And prayerfully acting upon!!!