Alan Jacobs writes, with more than a little irony in his voice, 'I think Andrew has finally convinced me. And as I have thought more about this I have finally realized whose fault all this is: . He could have stayed in his prayer closet instead of politicking; he could have attended to his own failures as a Christian, which of course were many; he could have forgiven white Southerners instead of judging them. But no. He became an "outside agitator," marching into ordinary American communities and telling them that their local laws, and indeed in some cases federal laws, were not to be obeyed — and why? Because they conflicted with '
'If you do much reading of books on business or leadership, you’ll soon be encouraged to fail. Popular books and the gurus who write them are always touting failure: “We should be free to fail.” “We should celebrate failure.” “Success only comes through much failure.” Etc. etc. etc. Still, much of our world hasn’t learned this less. Not our business. Not our schools. Not even ourselves, if you’re anything like me. My inclination towards perfectionism, one might almost say my obsession with perfectionism, makes it extremely difficult for me to be willing to fail... I find it interesting that Christians, who supposedly live their whole lives on the basis of God’s grace, are sometimes the most perfectionistic and the least open to failure. Why do we live with such fear, rather than in the freedom of God’s grace?'
'All of this raises questions about the tenor of church proceedings. Many have noted that the typical Christian church exudes a female vibe, in aspects ranging from type of music to common language to the nature of the primary events. If women become less of a mainstay in what occurs within churches, will ministries respond by increasing the male-friendliness of the proceedings? As women become less front-and-center, will men be pressured to upgrade their church involvement? Eras of change such as that in which we live today demand alert and courageous leadership to understand the times, know what to do, and engage in bold action.'
'There’s a long history of American Protestants wanting the approval of their neighbors. For a good part of our nation’s history, respectable denominations with roots in the Reformation surrendered their confessional peculiarities for a generic evangelical witness. A lot of this had to do with evangelism: wanting to reach the population of declining practicioners of the faith. Churches, with their distinct catechism, forms of worship, and government, were eager to reach nominal members as well as Native Americans and Africans, slave and free. Yet a lot of it had to do with cultural hegemony. Having fought off the Leviathan of Rome, the new Christendom would come only with the stripping away of doctrinal distinctives that divide activistic Protestantism. Especially after the Second Great Awakening, “deeds, not creeds” became the mantra.'
Quoting John Flavel, Desiring God's Jonathan Parnell gives a list of 6 ways to see God's hand in suffering. Rather than quote them here, I figured I would just get you to check them out. This is a very encouraging and Biblical post. I commend it to you. -SEAN