CULTURE, POLITICS AND THE CHURCH
There’s an elephant in the room—and also a donkey. As we anticipated this issue on culture, politics and the church, we felt we must begin here, with the frustrating reality we all know: The church is sucked into the same polarization as the broader culture. So, how do we lead?
The Church of Us vs. Them. David Fitch calls us to freedom from a faith that thrives on making enemies. “We who lead churches amid the conflictual violence of our day must follow Jesus into places of restoration and healing,” he writes. “We must resist the temptation to enter the violence of the world on the terms of the enemy-making machine. We must release control, make space for God and trust him to work through his presence in us. We must tend to his forgiving and healing Spirit at work amidst the tumult. Then we can become the reconciling presence of God in Christ in the world.” So he concludes—but you will want to follow the line of thinking that brought him there—in the May/June 2019 issue.
What does this look like in the day-to-day? In their book, I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening), Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers—friends from opposite sides of the aisle—lead us in the quest to rediscover civility. Not to shy away from political discussion, but to recast it in mutual respect. What can we who lead learn from them about the process and ongoing discipline of listening?
The Political Science of a Nation Divided. As professor of political science at Wheaton College, Amy E. Black thinks about this stuff all the time—and ponders the intersection of faith and public policy. As we embark on what promises to be another lively year-and-a-half of political engagement, we pause for the prof’s faith-integrated perspective. I think you will find it helpful, perhaps somewhat disheartening, but, ultimately, encouraging. We are called to redemptive involvement, focused prayer and a hope anchored in the supreme reign of Christ. “Any time I find myself complaining about politics,” she says, “I must remind myself to turn to prayer. Prayer changes us. And I believe that’s how a nation changes for the better.”
There’s much more in this issue. And more coming as the year unfolds. In the process, we’d like to hear your experience and your insight as you lead in these challenging times of great opportunity—[email protected]
INSIDE THE JULY/AUG ISSUE
BREAKING FREE FROM THE ENEMY-MAKING MACHINE
Living the Presence of Christ in a Divided Culture
WHEN I THINK YOU’RE WRONG
How Can We Model Gracious Disagreement?
TIM KELLER ON GETTING POLITICAL</strong
What Can We Learn From Jonah, Jesus and the Good Samaritan?
THE INTERVIEW: AMY E. BLACK
Beyond Toxic Politics
PLUS: Alan Briggs on Cultural Blindness; Michelle Sanchez on Grace, Truth and Sexuality; James E. Beitler on Grace-Filled Persuasion; Bruce B. Miller on Leading a Church in a Time of Sexual Questioning; Kevin Harney on Cultivating a Sending Mindset; Ed Stetzer on Evangelism and Outrage; Kyle Idleman: Don’t Give Up—and Outreach Ideas for Any Church, Any Size