Love Is Not Agreeableness
In keeping with the solemnity and purpose of the great day in the church year, all links will prompt us to ponder the state of our faith and that of the Christian church in the West.
Rod Dreher in “Why Convert to Islam?” reflects on a testimony in First Things of Jacob Williams, a Brit who converted to Islam. Why?
As Williams watched the moral anarchy and disintegration of British culture, he looked for a way forward in education at Oxford—only to see the disease more advanced there. He also didn’t see it in the one place that should have been a countervailing force:
In short, Christianity in Europe and America, in its efforts to remain on friendly terms with the culture, has spent far too much capital being agreeable. As I noted in my book, Jesus Mean & Wild, Jesus was anything but agreeable, but he was strong and not about to bargain with unbelief as we are wont to do.
Toward the end of this longish blog post, Dreher quotes some timely advice by one of my spiritual heroes, Alexander Schmemann, calling us to demanding forms of prayer, obedience, and acceptance. Sobering and yet inspiring reading for me anyway.
The West’s Spiritual Crisis
You cannot mistake Guinean Robert Cardinal Sarah as someone who bargains with unbelief. Here’s his prophetic jeremiad on the state of Western Christianity. Sarah is a man who has informed my faith (especially his book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise). Admittedly, he’s attracted to sweeping assertions and harshness, but woven into hard words are diamonds of truth that reveal the core issues of Western culture:
I’m recommending only reading the first part of this interview, through question four. After that, matters uniquely Catholic are discussed.
A Witness to the West from the East
Another Christian who is anything but agreeable is Chu Yiu-ming, leader of Chai Wan Baptist Church in Hong Kong. He was recently arrested for being involved in pro-democracy movements. At his trial, he recounted his testimony
Chu faces up to seven years in prison.
The Ultimate Miracle of Good Friday
Finally, a short piece on “Why God Needs Skin in the Game.” And by implication, the divine grace that gives us courage to engage our culture with the boldness of Chu and Sarah and, yes, Christ.
Grace and peace,
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today