Note: This is the main text of a letter I wrote in response to a brother in Christ who disagreed with the statement in my last article, "Time to Build an Ark," that "I am no longer looking to the political process for solutions."
Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate the thought you gave to my article.
I wouldn't expect Christians to disengage from the culture; in fact, I encourage it. I simply believe that we've put too much faith in the political process and not enough in the power of God to do amazing things through His church stepping out boldly in every community across the land.
I don't know if you followed one of the links in my article, but this church-led initiative in my old home county is illustrative of what the body of Christ can do when it takes hold of the power God has bestowed upon us. If every congregation in America committed itself to tackling the problems in their local communities, without waiting for the government's permission, and without fear of government sanctions, we could change the culture overnight. We would shame those who hate the church by our abundant compassion and care of our neighbors, and we would make government irrelevant other than for its intended purpose, to protect the people, enforce the law and administer justice.
I will continue to fight, but on a different battlefield. I've been active in retail politics for a significant part of my adult life, and I feel God calling me to another way to use my gifts of communication and leadership. I want to encourage and convict the church to roll up its sleeves and be about the business of saving the world first by meeting the needs of the people right where they live. I want to fight for the restoration of civil society that was once the hallmark of American communities before the Great Depression.
When government seeks to intrude, as is its nature, I will be a loud voice for religious liberty, freedom of conscience, free enterprise and local solutions. I'm not intending to leave the battlefield, but I'm planning to fight on another front. And yes, I'm still encouraging people to "build an ark," but at the same time, I want them to fill it up with as many people as they can carry with them. No matter how active the church becomes in engaging needs at the community level, there will always be those who are hard of heart and dark in spirit, and to the extent the "ark" is a place of safety from those who refuse our help, and seek to deny it to others, I believe it is needed.
I have a great deal of respect for those culture warriors who wade into the political battles with gusto, and who are energized by the fight. I've been right there alongside them, and to an extent, I always will be. My passion for influencing the culture for Christ will never go away. The body of Christ is comprised of different parts, however, and not everyone has to fight in the political arena. I found over the years that the fight was taking more out of me than it was adding, and I reached a point where I had to call a "timeout" - or, more accurately, God put me in a timeout - to figure out what God wanted me to do.
I don't know that I've found the answer yet but, like a game of hot-warm-cold, as I move toward the concept that God intended for His church to be the hope of the world, in tangible and intangible ways, community by community, I feel my spirit getting warmer. I've had conversations with other fellow Christians who feel as I do, and we sense a movement toward local engagement in our communities as the order around us continues to deteriorate. There are people all around us enduring hard times, and with my trials of the past six years, I've endured them, too. I feel it's been a time of preparation for me to be a source of comfort to others, just as my family and I have been comforted through our pain. I think we're going to need to be a source of comfort to others more and more as time passes. You are absolutely correct that we need a time of revival, and the church needs to be the church. To my thinking, this is one way to get it started.