Thursday, October 17, 2013

THYME Magazine: Looking to the Future

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VI, Issue XXI

Motivated by the Hope Unseen

"Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but G-d, and I care not whether they be clergyman or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.” -- John Wesley

Consider for a minute the amount of energy expended worldwide to persecute people of Faith. Organizations like Voice of the Martyrs [1.] report that it is at an all time high. Christians and Jews seem to often find themselves in the cross hairs of world opinion. Why should this be? Could it be that those who want to set up earthly kingdoms or earthly Utopias know better than the Saints the true power of the Kingdom of G-d?

In his book Under the Influence [2.] Alvin Schmidt lays out a compelling case for the positive influence those who have pursued the Kingdom of G-d have had on the world. Far from being of "no earthly good," people of faith have revolutionized healthcare, care for orphans and the poor and generally improved the welfare of the places they have been carried to, in fulfillment of the admonition in Jeremiah 29:

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the G-d of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;

Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.

And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace."

Generally the abuses so quickly cited as reasons for limiting the influence of the church occurred as kings and clerics misappropriated the language of faith in pursuit of earthly power. The National Socialists in Germany may have artfully spun the language of the church, but why then did they find men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer [3.] so dangerous? In earlier times men like Meno Simonsz [4.] stood in opposition to what they saw as the church succumbed to the culture around her.

Presenting a clear alternative to the prevailing paradigms of the culture, men and women of faith serve an unseen kingdom and in doing so influence the world. William Wilberforce eliminated the vile institution of slavery [5.] in England. George Müller changed the way society viewed orphans [6.] along with Charles Dickens [7.]. Florence Nightengale and Dorethea Dix [8.], inspired by faith, worked tirelessly to improve the human condition.

Which brings me back to the original question: Why should a society so diminish those institutions and people who have contributed so much? Perhaps it is time to take another look at the power and place of faith... especially the place it has in one's own life. To that end Billy Graham, one of America's most prominent spokespersons for faith, presents: My Hope America [click to view]. This series of programs, culminating in November of 2013, offers a foundation of hope to a nation who's moorings have been deeply shaken.

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