Headlines from the New York Times for Thursday, August 3, 2017
Trump Can’t Save American Christianity By ROD DREHER
(Note, I have only excerpts from this article. If you have access to the New York Times, it is worth your time to read the entire article.)
According to Genesis 1, in four days, God made the heavens, the earth and all the vegetation upon it. But four days after Anthony Scaramucci’s filthy tirade went public, Team Trump’s evangelical all-stars — pastors and prominent laity who hustle noisily around the Oval Office trying to find an amen corner — still had not figured out what to say.
Is there anything Donald Trump can do to alienate evangelicals and other conservative Christians who support him? By now, it’s hard to think of what that might be. These are people who would never let men with the morals and the mouths of Mr. Trump and Mr. Scaramucci date their own daughters. And yet, Team Trump has no more slavishly loyal constituency.
This is not only wrong, but tragically so. The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.
The truth is, Christianity is declining in the United States. As a theologically conservative believer, I take no pleasure in saying that. In fact, the waning of Christianity will be not only a catastrophe for the church but also a calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate.
First, Americans are falling away from the church in unprecedented numbers. According to a 2014 Pew study, more than one in three millennials refuse to identify with a religious tradition — a far higher number than among older Americans. Most of these young adults are likely to stay away from church as they age.
Readings from the Sermon on the Mount for Thursday, August 3, 2017
Jesus had a lot to say about conflict. He knew that conflict is one of the largest issues we face in life. The “eye for an eye” approach was intended to limit retaliation. If someone injured another, the retaliation could only be equal and not excessive in nature.
Jesus has a far better solution to conflict. His path may seem unduly difficult, as we choose to not protect our security or possessions. We may wonder if it is even remotely practical. Notice below Jesus’ teaching.
Matthew 5.38-41 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.”
Jesus is our example. When others wanted his only possession, his cloak, and when they threatened his security by executing him by the most cruel method, he permitted it to take place. Jesus knew that the way to defeat our enemies is by making them our friends by love.
Prayers for Thursday, August 3, 2017
Dear God, help us to learn how to deal with conflict your way. May we through love turn our enemies into friends.