Giving Thanks for a Few “Secular” Testimonies

In a time when many are talking about how millennials (and others) are saying goodbye to the church, I am thankful for expressions of the church that are responding to millennial concerns with a new (but really ancient, biblical and Jesus-like) way of being the church in the world. I am thankful for the growing number of non-believing people who are taking notice of these expressions. Instead of an “us against them” posture, more and more Christians are winsomely engaging the world around them with love, dignity, and respect. Instead of hiving off into their own secluded enclaves, these Christians are moving out into the world seeking to leave things better than they found them.
          I am thankful, for example, that a noted secular New York Times journalist has identified evangelical Christians as exemplary activists on behalf of the poor and downtrodden.
          I am thankful that a noted gay activist risked his own reputation and platform when he “came out” as a friend of an evangelical Christian business leader who had kindly befriended him.
          I am thankful that Portland’s gay mayor shared openly about his positive experience of partnering with evangelical Christians, in spite of their differences, to serve the needs and the common good of their city.
          I am thankful for two of our church members here in Nashville, who courageously opened their home for civil discussion about one of the most heated and contested issues of our time–the “life” versus “choice” debate–in a way that showed deep biblical conviction and neighbor love to those on the other side of the debate–an experience that I, too, got to be a part of, and that I wrote about here.
          I am thankful that these are only a few samples of the good that is coming out of today’s churches.
          I am thankful for signposts of a reforming church…one that teaches biblical orthodoxy but also practices it…one that is eager to be the aroma of their King who welcomed and ate with every kind of sinner, and who repeatedly put himself at risk of guilt by association.
          I am thankful for signs of a church that embraces Jesus’ method of loving people not merely with words, but also with actions and in truth. I am thankful, in other words, that millennials (and others) who have left their churches may soon find good reason to reconsider…as many already have.
          I think it’s a great time to be the church. Let’s put the idea of rallying a so-called “religious majority” behind us. The track record of religious majorities is not good at all. Let’s put our energy instead into engaging the world around us as a life-giving minority. Let’s make it our aim to leave people, places, and things better than we found them. Let’s love as we have been loved.

          Shall we?

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