Thursday, June 9, 2011
Finding balance in the tension
I have not posted for some time (you can see that clearly from the last date posted on the side over there) and mainly because there has been so little time. I was busy leading up a a college Institute and trying to keep its head above water during the last two years (and it has). I was busy trying to be a dad to my four boys (one of which turns 18 today - and I'm having some issues with that...) :) I was busy speaking to churches, college campuses and audiences who would listen about the importance of maintaining a civil Christian worldview in a culture that is hostile to some of our ways of thinking. I have more time on my hands now, but more on that later...
Until recently I was working as Vice President for College Student Ministries with the Focus Leadership Institute (a division of Focus on the Family) and while there had to opportunity to watch the transition from our found Dr. James Dobson to the new CEO Jim Daly. I have been a huge supporter of both men for very different reasons. I respect a great deal the standards by which Dr. Dobson set up the ministry and helped found the Institute. When Jim Daly came on, I used to introduce him to the students of the Institute as the right guy for the right time. I meant it. Still do. I have appreciated his willingness to reach out into the culture and talk with those that most in the conservative Christian culture have never reached out to. As human beings we DO share a great deal of the same conclusions about how to treat others.
However, Jim is walking a very thin line that creates a tension from time to time. In this morning's Colorado Springs Independent (http://www.csindy.com/colorado/change-of-focus/Content?oid=2244124) there was one of those lines that worries me a bit. The article is about (if you haven't clicked over and read it already) how those in all circles agree that foster kids should find homes with loving families. In the middle of the article, there is a line where Daly says, (on the question of gay adoption) "So in the context of same-sex marriage, or adoption by same-sex couples, the culture will go in the direction its going to go.We [the church] can't control that. But for the Christian in the Christian community, we want to do our job..."
But isn't that the point of the Gospel is that it is for everyone? As a "worldview guy" I worry that in the midst of this tension we perhaps make rhetorical statements that seem as if we are throwing our hands up about where the culture is headed and essentially say, we can only influence our own house. I don't think that is Jim's heart, but again we have to be careful with that line of tension. There is a design for marriage and family that isn't just for the church or Christians it is for all people, at all times, across cultures. That is the nature of God's Truth and Design for things. Follow the path of research on the strength of communities as it relates to the strength of traditional families (defined as a husband/wife and children). Over years and across cultures the message has been (and not just for the Church) that when you have cultures built on that model, they have any number of advantages (educationally, socially, economically, etc). When you have cultures based on non-traditional families, there isn't evidence that horrible things occur but that you don't have those advantages. Where do you want to live? Which type of culture? That transcendent truth about God's design isn't because some organization said it was so or some political approach claimed it was good, but because He designed it that way.
Be careful when walking the line. Sometimes the tension pulls too far away from the Truth.