By Godsbooklover, Sunday, November 18, 2012 —————————————————————
If you were paying attention earlier this year, you will recall that Charles Colson –author, speaker, founder of Prison Fellowship (and yes, also former Nixon aide and indicted Watergate co-conspirator)–died on April 21, at the age of 80.
Charles Colson pleaded guilty to the Watergate charges in 1974, and spent seven months in prison. If you read only the lead paragraphs from the mainstream papers or news magazines, you know that fact…and little else. However, Colson spent the next 35+ years impacting our culture in profound ways: founding a ministry, writing books, speaking on the radio and in person on a variety of social issues and worldview issues. Prison Fellowship is the largest ministry to inmates in the world.
Its official mission statement is:
…to seek the transformation of prisoners and their reconciliation to God, family, and community through the power and truth of Jesus Christ.
It was during the Watergate scandal, but before Colson went to prison, that close friend and businessman Tom Phillips gave him a copy of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Chuck recognized himself in the passage Tom read to him: “Pride always means enmity… ” (i.e., ‘hostility, hatred, antagonism’) “And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God…As long as you are proud you cannot know God.”
Chuck’s swift journey from the White House to a penitentiary ended a life of accomplishment — only to begin a life of significance. A book of his which had a strong impact on me was one we studied in our Sunday School class at our church some ten or twelve years ago: How Now Shall We Live?
In it, Colson outlines some of the ways Christians need to approach our post-modern culture, where intuition is valued over fact, and experience over logical argument. There are many good books being written today on this subject, but Colson’s How Now Shall We Live?, which won the ECPA’s 2000 Gold Medallion Award (highest award given by the Evangelical Christian Publishers’ Association), is a great place to start. He, with co-author Nancy Pearcy, provides an excellent overview of various topics on which we need to be well-informed and able to articulate a Christian worldview. The goal? To be salt and light, to impact our culture by being a positive influence to those in our spheres of influence.
And that’s exactly what JustTurnRight & I have been trying to do with this blog. It’s what I do as the artistic director of all for One productions, a faith-based theater company, producing largely ‘secular’ plays for our community–all of which are consistent with a Judeo-Christian worldview and which carry themes of hope and truth. It’s not anything on a grand scale. But slowly, person by person, as readers share the blog with others, as audience members recommend our plays to their friends, we have opportunities to inform people’s minds and hearts.
Last week, JTR wrote:
“We’ve got an uphill climb ahead of us, but it is winnable. We just have to be able to discern the forest from the trees, and realistically admit that we are now fighting a cultural war more than a political one.”
Or, as Colson put it, “Turning our backs on the culture … denies God’s sovereignty over all of life.”
Politicians, bills, laws, mandates, Supreme Court rulings…these are not the primary ways to affect our culture and the spirit of the age. Individual believers, guided by the Holy Spirit, must speak the truth in love to our neighbors, must act out the truths of the gospel in their daily lives. Then there is hope of turning individual hearts and minds to God. Enough changed hearts will change a culture.
And even if we don’t succeed in changing our culture, God’s eternal kingdom benefits, and He will reign eventually. We must be busy about His work.
“…in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (I Timothy 4:12b)