Culture Watch Wednesday is a weekly roundup of stories that shape or represent our culture. I’ll offer minimal commentary but hope to engage in conversation with you about these issues in the comment section.
An undercover video from pro-life activists Live Action exposed Planned Parenthood’s acceptance of gendercide or sex-selective abortions. Meanwhile, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012 proposed by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) sought to prohibit discrimination against the unborn on the basis of sex or race, and for other purposes. The bill failed because opponents believed the measure was “another attempt to restrict abortions and force women to justify their reasons for wanting the procedure”. It makes you wonder if Americans really are becoming more pro-life.
This post is part of The Disciple Making Preacher series. This series attempts to answer those who are against preaching and to propose that preaching is an irreplaceable means of disciple making in the church today.
Some wisdom from the late John Stott (27 April 1921 – 27 July 2011) on responding to the anti-authoritarian mood against preaching:
The prophets of doom in today’s Church are confidently predicting that the day of preaching is over. It is a dying art, they say, an outmoded form of communication, ‘an echo from an abandoned past’. Not only have modern media superseded it, but it is incompatible with the modern mood.
What is the anti-authoritarian mood against preaching?
Seldom if ever in its long history has the world witnessed such a self-conscious revolt against authority. Not that the phenomenon of protest and rebellion is new.
What seems new today, however, is both the world-wide scale of the revolt and the philosophical arguments with which it is sometimes buttressed…All the accepted authorities (family, school, university, State, Church, Bible, Pope, God) are being challenged.
Stott gives 5 responses to the anti-authority mood against preaching:
On the first Friday of the month, I’d like to give you an opportunity to win a great disciple making resource. This month I’m giving away the Discipleship Essentials library from Greg Ogden. Read through to the end to find out how you can win.
This three book set includes Discipleship Essentials, Leadership Essentials, and The Essential Commandment. These resources are great guides for one-on-one or small group disciple making.
About Greg Ogden
Greg Ogden (D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is a writer, speaker and discipleship teacher living in Monterey, California. He was formerly executive pastor of discipleship at Christ Church of Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois. Previously he was academic director of the doctor of ministry program and associate professor of lay equipping and discipleship at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. For twenty-three years he served as a pastor with the Presbyterian Church, USA.
I have a short-list of books that I use in disciple making and mentoring. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by my friend David Platt is at the top of the list.
In fact, Radical is one of those books that needs to be read by every American or Western Christian, whether Protestant or Catholic, evangelical or liberal.
First, some back story: I first met David Platt when he was a doctoral candidate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the teaching assistant for Dr. Jim Shaddix at the time so he presented a couple of lectures if Dr. Shaddix was absent. We didn’t really know each other then but I remember thinking that he was a gifted teacher.
These steps first appeared in a Leadership magazine article (Summer 1988). I rediscovered them in an ebook by Calvin Miller called The Disciplined Life.
According to Miller, these are “nine rather drastic steps wealthy Westerners would have to take to truly identify with the developing world”:
- Take out the furniture: leave a few old blankets, a kitchen table, maybe a wooden chair. You’ve never had a bed, remember?
- Throw out your clothes. Each person in the family may keep the oldest suit or dress, a shirt or blouse. The head of the family has the only pair of shoes.
- All kitchen appliances have vanished. Keep a box of matches, a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a handful of onions, a dish of dried beans. Rescue the moldy potatoes from the garbage can: those are tonight’s meal.
- Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, take out the wiring and the lights and everything that runs by electricity.
- Take away the house and move the family into the tool shed.
- No more postman, fireman, government services. The two-classroom school is three miles away, but only two of your seven children attend anyway, and they walk.
- Throw out your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, insurance policies. You now have a cash hoard of $5.
- Get out and start cultivating your three acres. Try hard to raise $300 in cash crops because your landlord wants one-third and your moneylender 10 percent.
- Find some way for your children to bring in a little extra money so you have something to eat most days. But it won’t be enough to keep bodies healthy—so lop off 25 to 30 years of life.
Question: Which of these would be the hardest “step” to take? For me, I think steps 4, 5, and 6 would be the most jarring for my American sensibilities. You?
I’m going to take my family to the grandparents house today. My wife made an amazing red, white, and blue trifle. There’s a parade in our town and we might just pull out the mini pool.
It will be a full but fun day.
What will you be doing for Memorial Day? Who will you be remembering?