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5.04.2005    |    Bible on the desk
Is this the mark of the evangelical? Well, it could be one such. In today's Washington Post, there's a very nice, calm, reserved, and altogether civilized rebuke of the anti-religious culture in today's mainstream media. The piece is by John McCandlish Phillips, a self-described evangelical Christian who has labored lo these many years in the MSM vineyards. His lead paragraph gives the flavor of this must-read article:
I have been looking at myself, and millions of my brethren, fellow evangelicals along with traditional Catholics, in a ghastly arcade mirror lately -- courtesy of this newspaper and the New York Times. Readers have been assured, among other dreadful things, that we are living in "a theocracy" and that this theocratic federal state has reached the dire level of -- hold your breath -- a "jihad."
Holy jihad, Batman. Sword in one hand, cross in the other, as we Christian soldiers go boldly marching as to war...Except that the war is being waged against, not by, those of us who hold God as above nations but certainly not apart from our nation.

Mr. Phillips notes how he was marked as one of us:
When the Times put me on its reporting staff, I was the only evangelical Christian among some 275 news and editorial employees, and certainly the only one who kept a leather-bound Bible on his desk.
I must have chosen the wrong business, because I kept a leather-bound Bible on my desk for many, many years, and if my coworkers thought anything of it, with a few exceptions, they never let on. But it's a sign, perhaps, a signal, one that may alarm those who believe in disbelief. Perhaps they feel threatened by someone who may have a perceived inside track to salvation? If only they knew, that the more one lives with Scripture, the more one can at once be convinced and be doubtful of one's salvation.

As for religion in the public square, here's a reminder of how our nation dealt with the matter at the founding, at the very creation of the First Amendment:
The fact is that our founders did not give us a nation frightened by the apparition of the Deity lurking about in our most central places. On Sept. 25, 1789, the text of what was later adopted as the First Amendment was passed by both houses of Congress, and subsequently sent to the states for ratification. On that same day , the gentlemen in the House who had acted to give us that invaluable text took another action: They passed a resolution asking President George Washington to declare a national day of thanksgiving to no less a perceived eminence than almighty God.

That's president , that's national, that's official and, alas, my doubting hearties, it's God -- all wrapped up in a federal action by those who knew what they meant by the non-establishment clause and saw their request as standing at not the slightest variance from it. It's a pity our phalanx of columnists cannot crawl into a time machine to go back and reinstruct them.
In the end, we are and will always be "one nation under God." Those of us with Bibles on our desks, leather bound or otherwise, may discomfit our adamantly secular colleagues. My hope was that I could get someone to ask about Jesus, which, on occasion, they did.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.