I love Sunday. This is partly because it is the one day of the week when I feel absolutely justified in just enjoying my family, relaxing, and often exploring nature. But the other reason is because--I confess--I love to hear a good sermon. Now I know that the sermon is not preached for my enjoyment, and I would not have it be so for anything. But my heart rejoices when the Holy Spirit uses one of my pastors or Sunday school teachers to make that one point that I so needed to hear, or to explain a Scripture text to me in a way that never would have occurred to me.
Today at my church, Pastor David O'Dowd referred to Francis Schaeffer. Now I'm already a big Francis Schaeffer fan. He was a mentor to my boss, John Whitehead, and I am currently reading through "How Should We Then Live" with a group of friends from church. Pastor O'Dowd was discussing the fact that over 30 years ago, Schaeffer was already warning us that in the post-Christian era, religious faith would be acceptable as long as it was "privately engaging but publicly irrelevant."
Isn't that what we're dealing with today?
I abhor the way many elected officials and some organizations are unapologetic in taking this stance. You know what I mean: they are outraged that Christians would actually try to live out their faith consistently and publicly, branding this as "trying to force religious beliefs on the rest of us."
But friends, isn't it worse that we actually allow our faith to be "publicly irrelevant" at times? When we are so busy with our jobs, our families, our familiar church circles, that we have no time or energy left to be a light in the dark places all around us in our community, state, nation, and world? While there is a sense in which we certainly can be a light by faithfully caring for our families and church body, isn't our calling broader than that?