Front-Line Work: Saying and Doing

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint | Friday, September 14, 2012

Front-Line Work: Saying and Doing

Last night I spoke at a fundraising banquet for a northern Virginia crisis pregnancy center. I’m privileged to speak at a few of these events each year, and it’s a highlight for me. Here’s why: How often can Christians celebrate real cultural wins?

Now, abortion is still legal. And as we’ve discussed many times here on BreakPoint, the HHS mandate is forcing coverage of it on everyone (not to mention putting religious liberty at risk). But the fact remains that in most places in America not named the Democratic National Convention, abortion is actually unpopular. According to most studies, it’s even more unpopular among younger generations than among older.

There’s no doubt that pro-life apologetics, like that of my friend Scott Klusendorf of Pro-Life Training, is one reason for that. But cultural change requires more than just ideas. Cultural change also requires artifacts and champions. Let me explain.

When abortion on demand was legalized by one very terrible Supreme Court decision, pro-abortion arguments barely mentioned scientific definitions of human life. Rather, the arguments were if abortion is not legal, no one would step up to take care of women caught in unplanned pregnancies. They would be forced to have unsafe, back-alley abortions. Also, the babies born would not be wanted, so they would be subjected to abuse, poverty or neglect.

While it is now well known that the numbers claimed for back-alley abortions were inflated, the answer to these arguments wasn’t counter arguments, but actions. You see, the question was: Who’s going to take care of these women and these babies? Are you going to take care of them?

Over the last several decades, thousands of people, mostly Christian women, answered, “Yes, we will.” And they have. In nearly every town in America, women have a place to go when they find themselves in a crisis pregnancy. If they need a shoulder, a car seat, or diapers, they can get them. If they need an ultrasound, advice, a Bible or a support system, they can find them.

Pro-life women, a group of champions, created safe places. And these places are tangible cultural artifacts that embody the ideas of the pro-life movement. Now there’s lots more work to be done. These centers must continue to be excellent, honest, careful, and the advice they offer must be sound, thoughtful and loving. If they do, their contribution to changing this culture of death will be huge.

In his excellent book Culture Matters, my friend T.M. Moore describes this as “forging new culture.” Historically, Christians have always done more than merely critique or complain about the culture; they created culture. Using things like books, institutions, laws, medicine or inventions, they embedded better ideas into the society around them. And, like the crisis pregnancy center movement, they often did it courageously, in the face of great opposition.

Over the last four weeks in my YouTube series on culture, I’ve discussed using culture courageously in quick, 2- to 3-minute teaching videos. You can find this “Two-Minute Warning” series by going to BreakPoint.org and clicking on this commentary. Send it to your pastor, post it on Facebook or use it in your small groups or at the family dinner table as discussion fodder.

Chuck Colson thought that applied Christianity had the best solutions for the world’s brokenness, specifically for the growing prison population. And when Eric Metaxas talked about Chuck’s idea of restorative justice recently on BreakPoint, he really struck a nerve with our listeners. This weekend on BreakPoint this Week, I sit down with Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship, and we talk about this idea of restorative justice. I hope you’ll be listening.

And remember, when it comes to culture, we’ve not only things to say, but things to do.

As the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, John Stonestreet provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

Publication date: September 14, 2012

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