The “Gabfest” is a political round table discussion with a youthful edge. The participants are John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon, and David Plotz. I enjoy it, perhaps because it makes me feel youthful. You can check it out at www.slate.com/gabfest
Last week, prior to comparing Satan to a Roving political adviser, the following exchange occurred while discussing James Dobson’s endorsement(s) for president:
Emily Bazelon: This is always a tricky business, deciding who is a real Christian or Jew or Muslim. There are just so many different ways to measure someone’s faith…
John Dickerson: In my view of Christianity anyway, the most amazing people are the ones who do all these wonderful, humble acts of service and don’t tell anyone about it, and don’t go forcing it down other people’s throats.
Emily: I don’t think they run for president, John.
John: No, I guess not, and they don’t get to go on Dobson’s radio show either. But I like the idea of the humble, selfless servant, not the loud, going around picking winners and losers Christian, but you know, that’s just me.
This is just one example, of many, that remind me how important it is for Christians to demonstrate their faith through acts of genuine service to others. People who are often disinterested in hearing the gospel still like to see the gospel. People who don’t like Jesus’ words as recited by his followers may appreciate his actions as lived by his followers.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Both the words and deeds of the Christian faith are vital communication tools. The church must use both.
Further food for thought:
1. This is the reason Jesus is still such a popular cultural icon. People believe his actions represent something selfless and honorable, even if they don’t know, understand, or embrace what he actually said... and for that matter, the real meaning behind his "good deeds."
2. This is also why ministry through the church, and not merely parachurch ministry, is so important. Non-church ministries are sometimes teaching ministries, and sometimes serving ministries, but rarely both. They gain momentum by doing one thing well, yet a full orbed Christian witness requires more.
Note: There are parachurch ministries doing great work, and at their best they connect Christians from different backgrounds and display the Christian faith in that way too. It is only if they become a substitute for the local church that they can begin to work at cross purposes - seeking to display Christ and yet painting only a partial picture.
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To hear the Gabfest discussions mentioned above, go to the website at www.slate.com/gabfest and listen to the March 30 roundtable discussion. The discussions I mentioned are in the last 10 minutes.