How do we preach in the church when we know we exist as a minority culture?
There was a time when this wasn’t a question, a time not all that long ago. But the truth is that this is not the culture in which we, the American church, live. Some lip service is paid to religion. A majority of the population still self-identifies as Christian. Church attendance is still high relative to other places in the “Christian” West. But the culture-forming and worldview-forming mechanisms of culture are not merely neutral toward Christian beliefs, but are decidedly unfriendly toward them.
Remember, this article is not arguing that other ways of helping the poor are bad. There are cost-effective ways of helping the poor, ways of helping the poor that are not cost-effective, and there are means of trying to help the poor that actually hurt them. There are many ways of doing humanitarian work that fall into the second category.
This article only seeks to highlight the top 10 most economically effective ways of helping the material sufferings of the poor.
The Bible has a songbook right smack in the middle of it. It’s called the Psalms. With 150 songs, it stands as the longest book of the Bible. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter of the Bible. Why is this songbook there?
There is another book that is entirely a song. It’s called the Song of Songs. This song isn’t even about God. It’s about romance and marriage between some newly married couple who apparently really like each other and have a very steamy relationship.
Even the book of Proverbs is mostly written in parallelism-style poetry. And if you go back to the book of Exodus, the first people explicitly filled with the Spirit of God are the artists that God commissions to create the pieces of art to be used in worship in God’s tabernacle.
Some kind of worship can be found in the archaeological history of virtually all cultures. People have always been religious and have always believed that the gods demanded something of them. Some believed they demanded human sacrifice. Some believed they required food. Some believed they required elaborate and ecstatic rituals. Some believed they required esteem and reputation. We now consider this a primitive notion, foolish and ignorant. But if Christians accept that the ancient barbaric view of worship was more insightful than today’s snide rejection, we can see how big a job it was for God to enlighten us through the progressive revelation of Scripture, especially in the special Revelation of himself in the God-man Jesus Christ.
Being pro-life unashamedly — actually believing in the intrinsic sacredness of human lives — has fought a long defeat for 40 years. That is not to say that 50 or 100 years from now people will not look back on this era and lament the barbarism of their parents and grandparents. I have some hope that this may yet be the case. But it has been a long defeat in that those fighting for intrinsic human dignity, especially in the womb, have fought for multiple generations with victory out of sight. It is demoralizing to not be near victory, especially when the casualties of this conflict are so many and still mounting so quickly.
Each year globally there are about 40 million abortions. There are 1.2 million each year in America. It has been generally reported that the abortion rate in New York City is 41%, but when broken down by Burroughs, some have rates as high as 70%. Since some estimated the abortion rate in America as high as 1.2 million in 1965, it is not unlikely that the 40 year death toll has been in excess of 40 million lives in the United States alone.