What about the church? Is it ever right for Christians and churches to engage in controversy? Of course, the answer is yes—there are times when believers are divided over serious and consequential questions, and controversy is an inevitable result. The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise.
All these things we must grow down in? Well, these are things that all of us as regular adults have come to embrace as part of our lives. Over the years, experience, pain, hardship, and sin have beaten out all the simplicity, authenticity, trust, and passion that come to us so naturally as children.
There is nothing trite, nothing minimal about “I’ll pray for you.” To say, “I’ll pray for you” is to say, “I will speak with the Author and Creator of all things. He’s my Father and invites me to come to him any time. I will speak to him about those things. I will plead his promises. I will speak to the one Being in all the universe who has all knowledge and all power and who is perfectly good, and I will ask him to help, to intercede, to grant joy and peace and meaning.”
Nelson Mandela. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Martin Luther King Jr. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. When we think of 20th-century political dissidents who were people of faith, these are the names that spring to mind. And for good reason: These men left an indelible mark on humanity with their resolve and fortitude, their eloquent words, and their profound wrestling with what it meant to oppose injustice. Now, thanks to the research of historian Lian Xi, we have a new name to add to the list: Lin Zhao, the only Chinese citizen known to have openly and steadfastly opposed communism under Mao Zedong.
Based on what I’ve seen and heard of it already, Eric Geiger’s new book has the potential to be one of the most important of the year. (And I don’t say that because I work for him.)
Whereas in olden days their warmongerings would have had to penetrate an editor and a publisher to reach the general public, they can now bludgeon their victims mercilessly at the touch of a button. And they do. They can club them from behind without the added bother of ever looking them in the eye, skulking back to binging on Netflix afterwards. They can be vulgar, they can be rude, they can be unappeasable. Saul has slain his thousands, David his ten thousands, the internet troll his hundred thousands.
A favorite from the archives:
I’ve struggled with my weight for my entire life. I’ve tried different fads. I’ve tried strictly regimenting my intake. Try as I might I’ve not found anything that’s had a lasting effect.
But as we examine dieting practices, we need to ask how the gospel applies to dieting.
That might sound ridiculous, but bear with me.