Sundry thoughts

Patriot Dayby J. Randal Matheny, editor

December 7th doesn’t mean much to people anymore, but September 11th does. How long before Patriot’s Day becomes a murky date? Human dates rise and fall in a people’s memory. God forbid that we forget the Day of Salvation!

• Brazil’s Independence Day was September 7. Brazilians think as much about the nature, meaning, and cost of freedom as Americans do on July 4. Which is to say, very little. If it’s not hot dogs and fireworks, it’s the beach and beer.

• Barbara Oliver, beloved coworker in the gospel and associate editor of Forthright Magazine, and I just finished the final edit for the book, The Right Kind of Christianity: Answering Postmodernist Brian McLaren’s Ten Questions. Twelve authors have contributed 13 chapters to this fascinating study. Every book has behind it a history, and this one is quite interesting.

• Ron Thomas, preacher and elder with the Highway church in Sullivan, Ill., came up with the idea, after reading, as I recall, the postmodernist’s book referred to in the subtitle above. Ron is one of our main Fellows on (I like saying “in”) The Fellowship Room, a group blog of faithful saints. Besides writing a chapter, he has encouraged us along the way, even as the initial time frame stretched out.

• Matt Clifton, our webmaster, was the mastermind behind the title, which plays off McLaren’s book title, A New Kind of Christianity. Matt also wrote two of the chapters.

• How did the book get 13 chapters if the postmodernist had 10 questions? First, a spiffy Introduction. Then, we added two chapters on essential subjects that McLaren didn’t address in his book, which we thought were strange not to have been included: the Holy Spirit and the mission/purpose of the church.

• Authors of The Right Kind of Christianity are from three continents: North America, South America, and Europe. Too bad we didn’t get Asia, Africa, and Australia in there. (We have a new joint project underway; do you know of any faithful brethren on those continents who are also good writers?)

• Our book is more than just a refutation of the postmodernist position. It sets out a positive view of scriptural teaching on the ten questions raised in the book, plus two. Even if postmodernism goes out of style—and it will, for all human philosophies and tendencies do—our little book will still have lasting value.

• Book editors have a bad name in some quarters, for all the tinkering with the Sacred Text of a writer. And publishing houses are always slow in a writer’s mind to get out their latest obra prima.

• Enough about books, for now. How about politics? Me either, but we’re getting it both in the U.S., and in Brazil, where elections will be held as well this year. (I can vote only in the first country, am a permanent resident in the second, not a citizen.) If I were a politician, I think I’d run on the platform of sponsoring a law against visual pollution, i.e., campaigns signs and advertising. But then how would I get elected, if I didn’t get the word out?

• Remember: how we think about politics is how many think about the Faith. Should that change our approach to evangelism?

• More than enough about politics, right? So here’s one for you: If politics can’t change a soul, the message of Christ can. How do you teach people the will of God? Do you use some sort of organized study, a standardized approach, to teaching the lost? Could you sit down right now with a person and show him in a convincing way the plan of God in Christ and what to do to be saved? If not, why not?

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet. His microblog is randal.us.

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