Monday Faith Links: Boring Christians, NYT Praises Evanglicals, etc.

Sorry for basically taking a week off.

Nothing earth-shattering happened this past week, just one of those periods where you don’t quite get to the things you meant to, which for me included blogging.

I did, however, find some interesting faith and religion articles in the downtime, basically saving them for today’s post. Hopefully you find them as insightful as I did.

One of them comes from Relevant Magazine, and it’s titled “We Need Boring Christians.” The writer’s premise is that as Christians, we can sometimes feel less faithful if we are not living out the great adventures and experiencing the sufferings around the world like many others are doing.

He doesn’t discourage the vital part that overseas missions and social justice play in proclaiming the Gospel. He simply says it’s important to realize that some of the most critical work done for Christ takes place in times and places that might seem boring.

Here’s a paragraph that sort of sums up his point:

Following Jesus is not to be romanticized through impressive Facebook status updates or photos of exotic places on our blog. Discipleship is often ugly, messy and painful. Faithful service will regularly lead us into dull labors and bewildering struggles that would make unexciting press. To romanticize social justice or cross-cultural evangelism is to promote an idealism that will be inevitably vaporized on the field, inadvertently leading to burnout and cynicism.

I found this article inspiring on many levels.

For one, I’m part of the group of evangelicals who hasn’t taken part in an overseas missions trip where I had my world flipped upside-down. All my work for Christ has taken place here in the USA, and sometimes I have felt inferior for not “fully participating” in God’s mission.

Also, it reminded me how I have to recognize everything I do as a way to glorify God. If that means ministering overseas, that’s great. But those kind of missions tend to make it easier to focus on God’s glory. Writing an story about a high school football game or mowing the lawn? Not so much.

But we’re called to do everything to the best of our ability so that God can get the glory. It’s a fact that we need to be reminded of daily, and I’m glad this writer presented the article the way he did.

For another quick take on the same subject, check out this post from Tulian Tchividjian of The Gospel Coalition.

Now, on to the other good stuff.

More Links

  • One of the last places I would expect to be linking to is The New York Times, but they came though for me this past week. As part of a remembrance for John Stott, a Christian scholar from Great Britain who died recently, the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof wrote a commentary praising the majority of evangelicals. He points out that we are too often stereotyped by insensitive messages from people such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and that we also aren’t given enough credit for our intellectual foundation. It was a very balanced and reasonable article about evangelicalism, which is sometimes hard to find.
  • For a look at how different evangelical groups felt about the debt deal from Congress and what they would like to see as a compromise, read this post from Christianity Today.
  • Sean Bess of Relevant Magazine had a solid post about how Christians can better defend the Bible as truly the Word of God while still accepting the human influence of it.
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