Like many people of faith, you may feel disillusioned with government and politics and the tone of the rhetoric in election campaigns. In addition, the fear, pain, and disruption of Covid-19 to our entire world has made 2020 a year to remember or one you may prefer to forget. You may be watching “I Love Lucy” reruns to avoid the news. You might have considered loading your family and friends on a time travel train and taking off to another place, another time. But where would you go? At what point in history could you plant yourselves and not deal with a culture in need of redemption?
When we were in college in the early 1970s, the country was awash in political scandal, particularly what was known as Watergate, the first of the political “gate” scandals. President Richard Nixon spoke at my undergraduate ceremony in May 1974 amidst “Impeach Nixon” signs and loud protests. That August, he left office, leaving the presidency to Gerald Ford. Chuck Colson had been Nixon’s Special Counsel. He was known as the president’s “hatchet man” and gained fame as a player in the Watergate scandal. As he faced arrest, a friend gave him a copy of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Colson served seven months in prison in 1974 for obstruction of justice but he went into prison as a believer in Jesus Christ, a new man. Two years later, his book Born Again was published. In this best-selling memoir, Chuck wrote, “I found myself increasingly drawn to the idea that God had put me in prison for a purpose and that I should do something for those I had left behind.” That time in history was Chuck’s cultural moment. He emerged from prison with a desire and a vision, resulting in the founding of Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. Chuck allowed God to use him at that time, in that place, in that culture. (See the Prison Fellowship website for more information about how you be part of this ministry.)
On October 24, 2016, “Focus on the Family” president and host, John Daly, interviewed John Stonestreet, the executive director of the Chuck Colson Center of Christian Worldview. The interview, “The Importance of Voting”, contains excellent perspective and can be read or heard here.
Christians should see their cultural moment as part of their calling to engage.
Acts 17 tells the story of the apostle Paul teaching in Athens. At the Areopagus, he said…
“From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and reach out for him and find him…”
Regardless of our occasional desire to turn and run, God determines the times and places we would live. This is our moment, our opportunity, our time to engage. Though the temptation to climb aboard the time travel train is real, we can’t choose to be in another moment other than the one we are in today. God has put us right here, right now, for His eternal plans.
As Paul traveled throughout the Roman Empire he continually looked beyond the culture. His gaze was fixed upon the people. Paul understood that he had been entrusted with the gospel and was eager to preach because he knew the gospel was God’s means and power to redeem what was lost. He had seen God’s power demonstrated whenever the truth was proclaimed. Just as in Chuck Colson’s story, Paul saw men and women made free by Christ—free from the sins that once bound them. He understood salvation is by faith alone and the free offer of salvation is to all without distinction.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is
the power of God.
– 1 Corinthians 1:18
Christian parents, whatever time and place and culture you are in is your place to be–even if in the midst of political conflict, cultural confusion, and a global pandemic. As God’s work is all about redeeming individuals, our mission as Christians remains the same.
- To grow up and contribute to the building up of the church. [Ephesians 4:14-16]
- To do good to all men. [Galatians 6:9-10]
- To train up godly children. [Deuteronomy 6:1-25]
- To bring the Message. [Acts 20:24]
“There has never been a more exciting time in America to be a Christian, to be a person of deep faith in God. This could be our finest hour because when all hope seems lost, that is when God parts the waters. I think this could be a Red Sea moment for you, for me, for us, in our America story right now.”
–Kirk Cameron, American Actor