CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

What Can We Do?

Feb 2, 2009

For those people concerned about pro-faith, pro-family and pro-life issues, these are dark days indeed. In the West these values are taking a hammering. It really seems that a new Dark Ages is about to descend. Simply opening the morning newspaper or turning on the evening newscast can be a discouraging and depressing experience.

I hope that the majority of people in the West do care about the moral freefall taking place around them, the erosion of faith, and the assault on our families. But many of them may well feel powerless and overwhelmed, and not know what to do.

As an example, consider this short but moving email sent to me recently. I had written about another attack on our children involving a particularly despicable act of political correctness. And I mentioned that we must get involved. I said:

“It is much easier to keep our heads in the sand and just pretend all this terrible stuff is not happening. But I know that if these horrible things are happening to someone else’s children today, they will happen to my children tomorrow. So I cannot close my eyes and hope it goes away. I must be involved. And I will be involved.”

I wrote expressing my own revulsion at these events, hoping also to stir up others to allow for a bit of moral indignation, leading to some action. This is what the email sent to me said: “It is sickening Bill. The problem is, most of us feel helpless to do anything or make a difference.” It was a plaintive plea which I well understand. I often feel the same.

This article is really a response to this plea. This is how I would answer such concerns. And there are two parts to my response. One concerns the general sorts of activities anyone can be involved in. More on that in a moment.

But the second has to do with fellow believers; it has to do with attitudes of the heart that Christians have – or should have. That is, in order to effectively enter into these battles, we really need to seek the heart and mind of our Lord. We need to think and feel the way that God does about these various issues.

Believers should be asking God that they might share his heartbeat for a lost and needy world. Simply having God’s concern is the first and perhaps most important step. If we seem indifferent or apathetic about these issues, then we need to ask God that we might be broken with what breaks his heart.

For example, way back in Genesis 6 we are told that God “grieved” over fallen, rebellious mankind: “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (v. 6). Do we share this grief? Do we have a heart that is broken over the sin and defiance of God’s creatures? Do we care about the lost like God does?

Or consider the feelings and words of Jesus: “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41-42). Do we weep over our cities? Do we share God’s broken heart over a lost and sin-bound mankind?

Getting the heart of God on all this is really the most important thing we need. But if we do have the heart of God, then there are many practical things a person can do to make a difference. Believers and non-believers alike can engage in these activities.

Consider the issue which generated the email to me in the first place. I had been talking about the obscene tragedy of two Scottish children being snatched away from their grandparents and forcibly handed over to two homosexual men. This is outrageous and disgusting. My emailer felt the same shock and disgust at this, but was left wondering what could be done.

Well, consider another person who also contacted me about this. She was equally grieved, and was quick off the mark. She did some lateral thinking, and took action which even I did not think of. This is what she said: “I have sent an email to Scotland about this very lamentable case of 2 young children with willing Grandparents who wish to care for them in a loving family environment, being given instead to two homosexual men. Just more evidence of political correctness (and worse) infiltrating our culture.”

Brilliant! Well done! What a great idea. Today, with the Internet and search engines like Google, we can do an almost unlimited amount of things. Looking up the Scottish government and contacting them is one smart move. One could also simply look up a Scottish embassy in one’s own country, and send a message along to them.

Of course there are numerous other activities one can engage in. Being informed about these issues is the first port of call. Of course most people do not have the time to learn about all these things. But that is why websites like this exist: to inform people about the many issues affecting faith, family and life.

So latching onto ministries like CultureWatch is one way to go. And then passing that news along to others is vital, especially with a mainstream media effectively censoring so much of this stuff. Develop a network of friends and family, get their email addresses, group them in your address book, and send off action emails informing them of what is taking place.

There are other things that can be done, like writing letters to newspapers. This is one way of getting truth out in the public arena. You can reach an awful lot of people just by having one letter published in a major newspaper.

Or get involved in talk-back radio. This is another good way to reach people. Also, participate in government inquiries. And contact your local politicians. You are paying for them through your taxes, so you really should contact them. Why not ask your local member out for a quick cup of coffee? Introduce yourself and build a relationship with them.

There are plenty of other things you can do. If you see something offensive or disgusting, don’t just get angry, do something. If you see an obscene or pornographic poster in the middle of your local shopping mall, why not raise your voice? Complain to the shop management about this.

If you are getting petrol and find the shop full of porn, tell the shop owner about your concerns. Politely tell them that this is not appropriate, and suggest that if they will not remove this material, you will get your petrol elsewhere.

Also, do not just complain about the negative stuff. If someone or some group does something positive, let them know about that as well. For example, if there is a decent show on TV, tell the network of your approval. If they do not hear any positive feedback, they may just dump the show. In the same way, if they do not hear any negative feedback about toxic TV shows, they will assume that everyone is just fine with them, and they may bring in more such junk.

So speaking out is very important. Often just a few people raising their voices can result in real change. Let me offer just one real life example here. A housewife I know (not a paid-up lobbyist or professional agitator!) once saw an offensive poster at a local shoe shop. The poster featured a picture of Jesus hanging on a cross in a pair of boots. The caption read, “Jesus Christ! Great boots!”

As a Christian she took offence at this – and rightly so. She told the shoe store manager about this, but he was uninterested. So the concerned housewife asked for the head office details. She then sent a letter to the CEO in London.

She soon got back a reply from the head honcho. It turns out that the boss was also a Christian, but he had not been aware of these Australian ads. He took action at once, and ordered all these posters to be taken down immediately, never to be shown again.

Talk about action! Talk about a good outcome! And all this happened because one concerned Christian housewife was willing to raise her voice. It did not take much time or effort at all. But she was willing to stand up and be counted. And we must be willing to enter the fray as well.

Let me conclude with a few quotations. Dante reminds us in his Inferno that the hottest level in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in a moral crisis. As mentioned earlier, we need to get a bit passionate about all these things. We need to stir ourselves up (or ask God to stir us by His Spirit) so that we will be motivated enough to become involved.

Indeed, we need to remind ourselves that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” as Martin Luther King Jr once remarked. We must speak out when we witness all manner of injustice, depravity and immorality. We dare not remain silent.

And we must bear in mind that our individual voice, though seemingly insignificant, can have a profound impact. As anthropologist Margaret Mead once pointed out, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Edmund Burke said much the same when he stated, “Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he can only do a little.” We may not be able to change the whole planet, but we can make important changes on a smaller, more local level. As Mother Teresa reminded us, “We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love.”

And perseverance is essential. It does no good to make a few slight efforts, become discouraged, and give it all away. This job is a life-long job. We have to be in it for the long haul. The other side is certainly not giving up so easily. And neither should we. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Indeed, some battles we may have to fight dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times.

But we must stick at it. Life is not meant to be easy. Certainly the Christian life is no picnic. We are arrayed against vast forces of evil, ultimately springing from spiritual forces. Thus we need to be in full spiritual battle gear. We need to be prayed up. We need to intercede and engage in spiritual warfare.

But we must supplement this spiritual battle with practical measures in this world: writing letters, raising our voices, speaking to MPs, etc. This is all part of the Christian job description of being Salt and Light. So please, I encourage each and every one of you: get involved. And ask for God’s heart in all these battles. Seek him first, and then enter the battle as he leads.

[1884 words]

9 Responses to What Can We Do?

  • Here is something practical we all can do: for those interested in contacting North Somerset Primary Care Trust regarding the case of nurse Caroline Petrie who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/4427912/Prayer-nurse-should-keep-job-says-patient.html

    The contact details are below: Vanessa is a very rational and sympathetic person so please do not be rude to her. But it would be good for the NSPCR to know how this story is reverberating around the world.

    Vanessa Dando
    PALS Officer
    Waverley House
    Old Church Road
    Clevedon
    North Somerset
    BS21 6NN
    Telephone : 01275 546755 – answering service available or Freephone: 0800 923 2222
    Email: pals@nsomerset-pct.nhs.uk

    David Skinner, UK

  • Many thanks indeed David

    Yes that is a terribly practical and helpful suggestion, and clearly makes my point: don’t just get angry – do something. If this Primary Care groups gets emails and letters and phone calls from all around the world, they might allow the nurse to stay on, and the forces of PC will take a small beating. This is Christian activism as it should be. Thanks again for the great idea David.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • We have a poor example in our PM Bill. I have contacted him about persecutions of Christians in Orissa state in India, and even sent his office a report about the persecution of believers around the world. No response. Yes we have a Global financial crisis but as a christian i would have thought he would take up the cudgels. I am cynical enough to believe that all his talk about Bonhoffer was really a ploy to get the Christian vote.
    Wayne Pelling

  • I have been mulling over this whole question in recent days. Dealing with what we are exposed to in the media is vital. I remember seeing a Moody Bible Institute film on this very subject many years ago. It pointed out the danger of the media and the passive listener/viewer/reader. According to the film, the danger of passivity is the deadening of emotions and the conscience. Therefore I thank you Bill for the suggestions of what we can do. If I feel overwhelmed at times, I switch every thing off, not to hide my head in the sand, but just to give myself a chance to survive to fight another battle.
    Greg Brien

  • I have written this letter to Ben Summerskill who being head of Stonewall is at the heart of a drive to rid Britain of Christians through the introduction of a homophobic speech hate crime.

    Dear Ben,
    As if to reinforce what I said in my last Email, whilst you are busy silencing the only group of people who, guided by the Bible – not police harassment, public humiliation, fines, loss of goods and service, jobs, charities and finally imprisonment – are able to confront the homosexual agenda and Islam, the video presented here shows that Britain is succumbing more rapidly than we think to Islam. No amount of homophobic hate speech legislation will have the slightest effect on either Muslims, the more violent members of the BNP, or just plain violent thugs. They will drive through your legislation, to quote John Adams, 2nd president of the USA, “as a whale goes through a net.”
    Future historians will view your efforts with humour, in a macabre sort of way, when they see that all you had succeeded in doing was silencing the only group who were really capable of defending this nation from its downward plunge into chaos.

    Bon Appetit

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1134042/MELANIE-PHILLIPS-British-police-running-Muslim-demonstrators-Christian-nurse-facing-sack-offering-pray-patient–way-society-dies.html

    David Skinner, UK

  • Sorry it would have helped if I had posted my first letter to Ben Summerskill:

    Ben it is clear to all that you perceive Christians to be the main obstacle to achieving your aim of turning Britain into a state where the homosexual is at the cutting edge of exploring new sexual territory. Go to any gay parade and one will see the boundaries of gender and sexual orientation being stretched.

    It cannot have escaped your notice that the Muslim population is out-breeding us to such an extent that within my and your lifetime it is possible that they will also out vote us. Given the Islamic view of homosexuality this is not good news to any of us, least of all to gays. The only world view capable of opposing Islam is Christianity but you are hell bent on getting rid of it. Surely this is like turkeys voting for Christmas. Maybe I have missed something or misunderstood the nature of Islam?

    You might even have noticed that they seem to say very little about homosexuality,-at present. Maybe they see that the homosexual agenda will work to their advantage in that it will accelerate the collapse of western civilisation, thereby allowing them to pluck the fruit without even trying.

    Once you have won your homophobic speech hatred amendment, isn’t it only a matter of months before the Muslim Council of Britain will, in exchange for votes, demand the religious speech hatred amendment that was denied them by one vote in 2006? You and they will effectively have silenced the only effective voice capable of withstanding this fascist and fearful religion. Well done.

    Yours sincerely

    David Skinner, UK

  • Our Lord needs PRAYER WARRIORS. He is asking people to pray specifically against the evils of prostitution, abuse, pornography and child terrors……to drive out demons in His Name. He is asking us to COMMIT to pray Rosaries, make acts of sacrifice,to make oblations and offerings. Our Lord wants us to PROCLAIM our HERITAGE and beliefs in PRAYER…..to claim the covering of God in His Precious Blood, Holy Spirit and Heavenly Angels and ask the Blessed Virgin for her Protection also…that all evil may be quashed ….in Jesus’ Name. PRAY,PRAY,PRAY…from “a humble and contrite heart”….especially for the period of Lent.
    Susan Storey

  • Great practical article, Bill. It’s good to have concrete steps spelled out as you did. I love the story of that housewife who complained about the poster of the boots. Very encouraging. I would also add that people who pray should pray daily that we are blessed with a Godly government. Now, more than ever. The ALP and the Greens have probably the lowest approval rating they’ve had in a long time. Now’s the time for us to go on the defensive and join together with prayer partners, or pray alone to see this destructive government replaced by a decent one. It’s the govt that is enabling the rubbish to rush in. And while we’re at it, pray that the media loses their influence if they will continue to print their poisonous left wing propaganda.
    Dee Graf

  • Quite right Dee.

    And I think a fully appropriate prayer for both the government and the media is that they will be either improved or removed.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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