Jun15WedJune 15, 2016
We have a crisis in our country. Certainly this is true. Mass shootings. Hate crimes. Racial discrimination. Religious violence. The topics could go on… But how to we as Christians make sense of it all in order to equip ourselves to engage our world through disciple-making?
Weeks before the tragic shooting in Orlando, pastors from around the country met at Moody Bible Institute to learn to engage this culture. On Thursday, May 26th, a panel of Christian researchers gathered during Pastor’s Week to assist church leaders to assess our culture. John S. Dickerson, a journalist and pastor in Los Gatos, CA and Christopher Yuan, a formerly practicing homosexual, both offered a clear and surprising diagnosis to the crisis around us.
According to their assessments, we live during a time of ‘tribalism.’ Tribalism is way to describe sub-groups of people which have clear identities and yet move beyond more familiar sub-groups like race, gender, ethnicity, and geographical proximity.
At the core of many of these ‘tribes,’ is a yearning for dignity. Therefore, the crisis in our country is primarily around the topic of dignity. The LGBTQ ‘tribe,’ for example, wants more than equal rights, according to Christopher Yuan, they are searching for dignity. Sadly, the shooter in Orlando was likely searching for dignity and had falsely assumed that dignity could be found by taking the lives of other people.
If we indeed live at a time when various ‘tribes’ of people are looking for dignity, and I believe that this is true, Christians are faced with an interesting dilemma.
We believe that everyone has dignity because each person was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14). There still remains a remnant of the image of God in each person that we meet.
Yet at the very same time, we also believe that no one is dignified before God because “all have become corrupt and there is none who does good – not even one” (Psalm 14:3). When the world is looking for dignity, our message is an odd paradox. This paradox is only reconciled when a person trusts that Jesus is the only way to restore the dignity which we lost through sin.
You and I may not have the ability to care for victims of the shooting in Orlando, or even minister to those who are considering religious extremism, but we DO have the ability to talk about dignity with our children and disciple-making friends.
If you are a parent and want to have deeper conversations with your children about dignity (and sexuality), I encourage you to check-out the display table in the FMC library. Here you will find resources to talk about God's design for our bodies and sexuality at the various stages of childhood development. There are also three other resources to better understand how to minister to those with same-sex attractions. Orders will be placed on June 27th.
If you want to have deeper conversations among your disciple-making friends, consider talking about the subject of dignity. (Have your Bible ready in case the Lord opens the door for spiritual conversations.)
If you want to listen more about this topic, Moody’s panel discussion is available for free by clicking here.
We know the answer to the crisis of our time. May the Lord give us wisdom to address the subject of dignity carefully and clearly.