As I have already mentioned in the previous post, there were two secessions today.
I have already written about the AM secession and now I will discuss the PM secession. I have to admit that after lunch, I felt kind of sick. We had Mexican for lunch and I guess that it did not agree with my stomach as I thought it would. So it goes. Before I went back to my cabin to get some rest, I played a mean game of Scrabble with my great Aunt Nance. She is 93 and as sharp as a whip (I still do not understand that cliché). Usually she beats me by a solid 100 points. Today however, I beat her by 55 points. She is a great teacher.
After a good nap, I went to the PM secession. Dr. Lutzer spoke on, “When Religions Collide.” Interesting topic. I have some knowledge in this area so I thought that I would be able to chug along with Dr. Lutzer and his conversation. I was not disappointed.
From the stories of the 400 prophets of Baal to Luther’s stand against the trials he faced as reformer to the calling of the Puritans to come to America, alternative religious beliefs have been a continual issue. People would actually kill others because they did not follow the same religious beliefs. To me, that is crazy. Yet again, I do live in a country where my freedom to live as a Christian has not been challenged. I am truly blessed.
Do we thank God for the freedom we have? I do not as often as I probably should. I do not have people in military armor busting down my door with guns because I am a Christian. I have not and will not be thrown into prison because I own a Bible. We are so selfish.
Our response to a pluralistic society could be four-fold: We could either water down our Gospel and not be active in our pursuit, we could not witness and keep our faith to ourselves (for the sake of our ‘personal’ faith), we could fight for our faith and destroy other faiths in the process, or we could be salt and light while remaining distinct and unique in a pluralistic society. I like the last one the best myself.
We are called to live a distinct Christian lifestyle. We are called to live with a Kingdom mindset and perspective. We are called to live out our Christian testimony. We are not called to separate ourselves from the world though.
With that in mind, Dr. Lutzer gave some words of encouragement: We need to respect the freedom of Conscience. Not everyone we meet will believe what we believe. Even though we do not agree, we need to remember that in most cases, people grew up in that faith community. Instead of tearing them down, we need to engage and dialogue with them. There is nothing wrong with being friends with those who are of different faith beliefs. We must be willing to draw our lines in the sand though in where we stand. We should not compromise who we are in order to befriend someone of a different faith belief. Finally, we should work to bring up the younger generations to be willing to die for their faith. That is key because other faith communities raise their children in this way.
As I sit and reflect about his discussion this evening, I thought about the emerging movement and the missional stance I have come to abide in these past couple of years. I have found agreement in this stance of colliding religions and how we are to live as believers in Christ.
In other news… I asked the camp director (this dude who stands up front and spends twenty-five minutes or so giving announcements and talking up the camp) if we could spend just a few moments in prayer for those who are captured in Afghanistan. I was told that the camp schedule was too busy and they needed to give the speaker ‘ample time’ to give his talk. If we wanted to spend some time in prayer on our own about it that would be fine. As I looked at this gentleman, I struggled to submit to his choice, I looked at him and said, “Sir. There are people who are dying for their faith. These people went to serve God and others – the very thing we are called to do as believers in Christ. People have died and more will continue to die if something is not done. Do you not think that a whole ten minutes would be worth it?” He stuck to his guns though. So it goes. It is my hope and prayer that these people are not forgotten like those from Columbine or 9/11. It is as though we have chosen to forget the past. I hope and pray we will not forget those who have died for their faith. These are true martyrs. Please, please, please. Keep them in prayer. Thank you