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Friday, February 24, 2017

Evangelism Isn't That Hard

Forgotten America
Here's another article that explores the economic state of the nation and the unprecedented challenge we find ourselves in. I'm not an economist or the son of an economist, so I found this long read a compelling explanation of a yawning gap in our culture and economy, and how it has affected too many men and women in their prime work years, ages 20 to 54. It's not a pretty picture, but it explains a lot:
Whatever else it may or may not have accomplished, the 2016 election was a sort of shock therapy for Americans living within what Charles Murray famously termed "the bubble" (the protective barrier of prosperity and self-selected associations that increasingly shield our best and brightest from contact with the rest of their society). The very fact of Trump's election served as a truth broadcast about a reality that could no longer be denied: Things out there in America are a whole lot different from what you thought.
Bible-Believing Founders
The debates about whether America was founded as a Christian nation should be over by now. It wasn't. But that doesn't mean that Christian faith, and especially the Bible, didn't play a substantial role in how the founders understood their national mission and the ethos of the new nation. A review of a recent book (Daniel Dreisbach's Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers) to this effect drives home the point:
The founders "knew the Bible from cover to cover," writes Daniel Dreisbach. … Taking an expansive view of the term "founders" by including state lawmakers and patriot preachers with the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Dreisbach asserts that the founders' religious beliefs and biblical knowledge shaped their political thought. … Most importantly, the founders believed that education and religion were essential to promoting the knowledge, morality, discipline, and social order necessary for self-government.
The Benefits of a Messy Office
Apparently a cluttered office actually might be more productive than those utopian pictures of offices of clean lines and desks empty of everything but a screen and a keyboard:
What if the ideal office isn't the coolest or the most aesthetically visionary? What if the ideal office is the one, dog pictures and gnomes and all, that workers make their own?
In 2010, two psychologists conducted an experiment to test that idea. Alex Haslam and Craig Knight set up simple office spaces where they asked experimental subjects to spend an hour doing simple administrative tasks. Haslam and Knight wanted to understand what sort of office space made people productive and happy, and they tested four different layouts.
I hope the conclusions of this article—and the unnerving example at M.I.T.—don't apply to the home; kids will have a unassailable apologetic for not cleaning their rooms.
Evangelism Isn't That Hard
That's the message you'll get from Jerry Root of Wheaton College, and it's a good one. He may have the gift of evangelism (and he may be the director of the Billy Graham Center Evangelism Initiative), but he also has the gift of helping the rest of us realize that sharing one's faith isn't only for specialists or extroverts—as he explains in this article. One of his main insights is this: We do not take Jesus to people; he's already there, already working in their lives.
We are not merely permitted but commanded without fear or awe, without what would here be a false shame and reserve, to boast of the fact and continually to proclaim: "We are the children of God."
-Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV I page 601
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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