Author archives: Dan Hart

Pregnancy Resource Center in Manassas, Va. Targeted by Vandals

by Dan Hart

May 9, 2022

In the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would reverse the Roe v. Wade decision if handed down, extremists have carried out acts of property destruction against pro-life organizations and have disrupted religious services.

Sunday night, a pregnancy resource center (PRC) in Manassas, Va. became another target of vandals. The First Care Women’s Health Center was defaced, with the messages “Liars,” “Fake Clinic,” and “Abortion is A Right” being spray-painted on a door and on the outer walls of the facility.

I was in disbelief,” said Becky Sheetz, CEO of Life First, a nonprofit organization that operates the First Care Women’s Health Center that was hit with the graffiti. She noted that similar vandalism of PRCs is quite rare in the northern Virginia area where Life First operates, and that she was only aware of one other unrelated incident of vandalism to a PRC in Culpepper, Va. some time ago. Sheetz went on to say that her and local law enforcement’s assessment of the incident was that it was very likely in reaction to the impending Dobbs Supreme Court decision.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares condemned the vandalism. “It is never acceptable to resort to intimidation, vandalism, or destruction in our political discourse. This is what makes America so unique—we should embrace diversity of opinion and civil dialogue and debate,” he said. His office went on to state that it will be monitoring the investigation.

Did the defacement succeed in intimidating Life First? “If we were cut from a different cloth, it might succeed in shaking us up a little bit,” Sheetz said. “But we’ve been through COVID, we’ve been through fear that we were going to have to be shut down. We lived in fear of, ‘What’s the government going to do to pregnancy centers’? Are we going to be able to operate day to day? … This [incident] by comparison is very small. If the intention was intimidation, it was not successful.”

Sheetz had a clear message for anyone who would attempt to vandalize a PRC. “You’re hurting women,” she said. “You’re hurting good people who work at very meager salaries to try to do the right thing and to try to honor God. Even if you don’t believe in God, can you believe that women have a right to make a fully informed choice to talk to somebody about their pregnancy, the opportunity to see an ultrasound if they want an ultrasound, the opportunity to get an actual accurate pregnancy diagnosis before they take an abortion pill? Can we confirm that they’re pregnant before they take an abortion pill? Can we confirm that it’s not ectopic? Can we give them a bare minimum of medical care and compassion? You’re standing in the way of that. It’s counterproductive to women’s health.”

Sheetz also underscored another important but often unpopular aspect of the debate surrounding unplanned pregnancies. “[Fathers] deserve to see that baby. They deserve to be part of a pregnancy decision. [Vandals] are just standing in the way of truth.”

Sheetz went on to observe that much of the rhetoric related to the Supreme Court’s pending abortion decision is missing a key component. “Read through the yelling and the shouting and the polarizing and look at the actual facts and actual data,” she said. “The abortion pill is making so much of [the controversy surrounding the Dobbs decision] irrelevant, because she can just get that abortion pill from some other country … and terminate her pregnancy without any standard of medical care.”

What would she say to women with unplanned pregnancies who are feeling apprehensive about the pending Dobbs decision? “Please do not make the abortion clinic your first stop. Don’t make the abortion pill your first option … If you are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, go to a pregnancy center first, get honest information [and] find out all of your options.”

4 Days (and Ways) to Enrich Your Easter Celebration

by Dan Hart

April 13, 2022

For believers, the holiest week of the year is upon us: the great celebration of our Lord’s passion and resurrection. While it’s wonderful to mark Easter with fun egg hunts and festive chocolate egg-filled baskets for the kids, there are a multitude of other Christian traditions and practices that believers of all ages can partake in to deepen our faith and enrich our experience as we celebrate “Holy Week” and consider Jesus’ last week on earth including His teachings in the temple, the Last Supper, His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His arrest, trial, torture, and crucifixion, and His glorious rising from the grave.

1. Thursday: Commemorating the Last Supper

As recounted in the gospels, Jesus partook in the traditional Jewish Passover meal with His disciples on the night before He was crucified—which has become known as the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper. In the Jewish custom, it is known as a Seder (or Passover) meal. It has since become a tradition in the Christian church to celebrate a symbolic Seder meal on Thursday night that can consist of wine, bitter herbs (such as parsley), salt water, unleavened matzah bread, hardboiled egg, and lamb (or other elements depending on the tradition).

Another tradition is washing the feet of our loved ones, just as Christ washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:1-20). We can also sacrifice some sleep on Thursday night and spend some quality time in prayer in order to “keep watch” as Christ did when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46).

2. Friday: Remembering the Goodness of Christ’s Sacrifice

It may seem somewhat ironic to refer to the Friday before Easter as “Good Friday” given that it is the day Christ suffered a brutal crucifixion at the hands of sinners. However, “Good Friday” is indeed good because of the profound goodness of Christ’s victory over sin and death by means of His crucifixion and death on this day, culminating in His Resurrection on Easter. The gospels tell us that Christ was nailed to the cross between nine o’clock and noon and that He died around three o’clock. Therefore, Christians can set aside the time of noon to three for special prayer and meditation on the passion and death of Christ. We might also consider fasting as a tangible way to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice.

Some other ways we can observe Good Friday might be to take a long walk and meditate on Jesus’ road to Calvary. We could also watch a film adaptation of the passion narrative such as The Passion of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Risen, or another well-produced movie to enter into the final hours of Jesus’ earthly life more fully.

For younger children, we can fill plastic Easter eggs with symbols of Christ’s passion and resurrection, such as a cross, nails, a stone, and other related items. When they open them, we can give age-appropriate explanations on how each symbol was part of the extent to which Jesus loved us by suffering, dying, and rising for us.

3. Saturday: Preparing for the Lord’s Rising

Historically, the Saturday before Easter has been referred to as “Silent Saturday.” As we await Christ’s Resurrection, we can engage in edifying activities to prepare our hearts for Easter. One idea is to create a traditional Polish Easter basket as a gift for your pastor. Each item in the basket is symbolic of different attributes of God. For example, eggs symbolize new life and Christ’s rising from the grave, sausage symbolizes God’s favor and generosity, ham symbolizes joy and abundance, a candle represents the light of Christ, and more.

A way to inspire our kids when they are painting Easter eggs could be to have them look at pictures of the traditional European art of painting eggs with intricate designs and Christian symbols.

Another fun activity to do with children is to make a Resurrection Garden. This consists of a large garden pot that can be transformed into a mini “garden” that symbolizes Calvary and Christ’s tomb using potting soil, rocks, moss, three homemade wood crosses, and more.

4. Sunday: The Resurrection of Our Lord

As we celebrate the glorious day on which Christ defeated death and saved us from our sins—the most consequential day in human history—we can enhance our celebration in a number of ways. One idea that may especially appeal to families is adding food to our Easter feasts that is rich in symbolism, such as Resurrection Rolls. These are made by stuffing crescent rolls with marshmallows, and when they are done baking, the marshmallow inside disappears, and you are left with a delicious “empty tomb.”

Adding candles to your Easter table is especially appropriate as we celebrate the light of Christ’s resurrected body. Singing traditional Easter hymns is another great way to revel in and truly celebrate the spirit of Easter.

Another idea is to make a traditional Easter wreath and hang it on your front door. The symbolism consists of (among other things) the wreath itself representing the crown of thorns, a purple ribbon representing royalty and the robe placed over Christ’s shoulders during His mock trial, a nail representing His crucifixion, grapes representing the blood He shed, and a lily representing the new life of the risen Christ.

Finally, in addition to attending an Easter morning worship service, it may be helpful to set aside some time to read the Bible’s account of the resurrection. The story of Jesus’ resurrection is told in Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-13, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-29. It is extremely encouraging to read the gospel accounts themselves, and Christians do well to ponder these glorious passages on Resurrection Sunday.

These are just a few ideas about how to enrich your Easter celebration among the multitude of traditions that have sprung up over the last two millennia since Jesus’ resurrection. No matter how you and your loved ones choose to commemorate Easter, the most important thing is to truly celebrate it in order to stir in our souls once again the hope that is in all of us as believers—that Jesus burst into our fallen world and redeemed it in the most astonishing of ways, conquering sin and death so that we might be forgiven our sin and reconciled to God the Father. It’s a message that our darkened world needs to hear now more than ever.

5 Ways to Draw a Loved One Back to Christ

by Dan Hart

March 31, 2022

In March of last year, a Gallup poll revealed that for the first time in America’s history, church membership had fallen below a majority. Survey data shows that since the 1970s, “Americans [who] said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque” has been dropping steadily, from around 70 percent in 1975 to 47 percent today.

This data fits with the experiences of many believers who have adult children, siblings, parents, or friends who were once churchgoers but have now fallen away and are living a fully secular life apart from God. For followers of Christ, it can be a gut-wrenching and painful experience to watch a loved one publicly turn away from their faith or renounce what we believe is the ultimate source of truth, human fulfillment, and flourishing on earth.

But we also know that life is full of suffering and disappointment. The trials of earthly life can feel overwhelming for everyone, believers included. It’s safe to say that we have all had moments in our lives when we have doubted God’s existence, or at least doubted His goodness or questioned His wisdom. We also know the powerful allure that the world offers us in its material things, sinful pleasures, and idolatrous philosophies that draw us away from God. Therefore, we must have empathy for those in our spheres who struggle with doubt. We also must think biblically about those who profess to no longer believe. After all, if it weren’t for God’s grace, none of us would have any faith at all (Eph. 2:8-10).

When we first learn about a loved one turning away from the Christian life, it can be tempting to react quickly and strongly, confronting the person with theological, intellectual, and what may seem to us commonsense reasons for why they are making the wrong decision. But as experience will tell us, this rarely works and often only increases tension and resentment. Instead, our ardent desire for our loved one to return to the faith must be seasoned with patience, patience, and more patience.

As we move forward in the hope that God will draw our loved one back to Himself in a manner according to His will and in His own good time, here are a few suggestions on ways we can reflect Christ’s love to our struggling loved ones.

1. Focus On the Relationship First

Instead of focusing on your loved one’s lack of faith, make a sincere, directed effort toward building your relationship with them on a human level. In your conversations, focus on discussing day to day activities, such as jobs, children, family matters, illnesses, shared interests, and the like. When possible, make a concerted effort to be there for your loved one at a moment’s notice, whether it be if they are sick and need errands to be run, need a last-minute babysitter, or just need someone to talk to during a time of difficulty. If faith-related topics come up, seek to listen well, ask good questions, and don’t try to win an argument.

In this way, you will build trust with your loved one, showing them that you care for their whole person no matter what their faith status is and no matter what season of life they are in.

2. Be Vulnerable

Being able to relate to your loved one even when they have abandoned the faith that you hold so dear is extremely important. The best way to do this is to let your guard down in your conversations with them and be as vulnerable as possible. If they bring up faith-related questions and show an interest in discussing them, share your own faith journey story from the very beginning without omitting any embarrassing details. Share any struggles you have had over the years in your relationship with Christ and the theological questions and Scripture passages that you continually wrestle with. Share your personal faults, weaknesses, and familial wounds and how they have affected your faith journey.

The more you share about your own personal struggles as a believer and the more honest and vulnerable you are, the more likely it is that your doubting loved one will make a connection with something you say—however small of a detail it may be—and be able to relate it to their own experience. Who knows—some seemingly insignificant anecdote you share may just be the mustard seed that plants itself in your loved one’s soul that will one day become a beautiful tree of renewed faith.

3. Share Life’s Beauty

As believers, we know that everything that is beautiful on earth is ultimately a reflection of God. This underscores the importance of talking with your loved one about the beautiful things in your life that you are passionate about. Discuss the ins and outs of the novel or biography you are currently reading. Share why you loved a particular movie or TV show that was excellently acted and produced and describe how it edified your soul. Illustrate how the latest concert you attended electrified you. When your loved one shares their own experiences and passions, listen attentively and connect with them over shared interests.

By keeping your discussions focused on passions and hobbies, the arts, and the multitude of other beautiful things that fill the earth, you can connect with your loved one in a deep yet unthreatening way that does not directly touch on faith. Even so, your conversation still has the potential to nudge your loved one a little closer to the Creator of all that is beautiful.

4. Live Your Life as a Witness

As previously mentioned, directly confronting your loved one about their doubts regarding faith is generally not advisable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an active witness of faith to them. How? By living a life of virtue fueled by your faith, which will be difficult for your loved one to ignore.

There are few things on earth more beautiful than a believer living an authentically free life to the fullest, being a visible sign of God’s presence on earth by living out the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Christians like this have a palpable sense of joy and peace that radiates from their soul, and which anyone, believer or not, can’t help but notice. Give your loved one the freedom to recommit to the faith through the witness of your own life.

5. Fast and Pray

There is a storied tradition throughout the entirety of Scripture on the importance and effectiveness of fasting for a particular intention. When we combine this with prayer, it is a potent means of calling on the Lord for the conversion of a loved one. As Christ Himself said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). Here are a few themes we can meditate on as we pray for our loved ones to return to the fold of faith.

  • Hope. Who can forget the incredible true story of Saint Augustine and the faith of his mother Monica? The early life of the man who many consider to be the greatest early church father was marked by sin and a rejection of the Christianity that his mother Monica tried to instill in him as a child (as described in his book Confessions). He embarked on a decade-long affair with a woman he never married, fathered a son with her, and spent years believing in astrology and Gnosticism. Throughout those agonizing 30 years of witnessing her son away from the faith, Monica never lost hope and continually believed and prayed for her son’s conversion. Sure enough, Augustine underwent a monumental conversion to Christianity and went on to become one of the most beloved bishops, thinkers, and writers in church history.
  • Surrender. As hard as it is to let go of our own will when it comes to our desire for our loved one to return to the faith, that is exactly what we must ultimately do—let go. Time and time again, Scripture tells us to humble ourselves and surrender all things to His will. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we entrust our lost loved one in prayer to the Divine Shepherd, we will drive out anxiousness about their fate and bring peace to our souls.
  • The Prodigal Son. Perhaps the most beautiful and moving parable in all of Scripture is Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32). Part of the reason why it is so moving is that it is continually relatable and applicable to our lives as believers, for we know that whenever we sin, Christ welcomes us back with open arms time and time again when we beg for His forgiveness, for His mercy never ceases. As we meditate on this parable, let us picture our lost loved ones returning to our Savior, His arms spread open on the Cross, bleeding for their restoration with Him, and being washed in the blood of the Lamb’s embrace.

Bipartisan Florida Bill Strengthens Fatherhood and Mentorship Programs

by Dan Hart

March 21, 2022

Even in our hypersensitive age, where having the wrong political views can get you fired from your job, it still appears that certain facts of life are so fundamental that liberals and conservatives can occasionally agree on them.

Such was the case in Florida during the first week of March, where HB 7065, a bipartisan bill that, among other things, increases funding for fatherhood and mentorship programs, was passed unanimously in the Florida Senate (38-0) and sent to Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) desk. Due to the initiative and leadership of Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R), the bill had previously passed the House with another unanimous vote of 117-0.

Despite some on the Left who openly question whether fathers “are necessary,” it’s great to see such a unified front in Florida when it comes to acknowledging the massive problem of absent fathers and the formulation of concrete policies to help right the ship. As the introduction to the bill noted, the astonishing reality in America is that one out of four children grow up without a father. The negative consequences of this grim reality are so far reaching that it can be difficult to quantify, but the bill’s introduction gives a good summary of them:

Children raised in father-absent homes are more likely, on average, to abuse drugs and alcohol, show signs of antisocial and delinquent behavior, and drop out of high school. Such children are also more likely to experience poverty, teen pregnancy, child abuse and neglect, behavioral problems, and death in infancy.

To help get more absent fathers back into their children’s lives, HB 7065 allocates almost $70 million “to help fathers find a job, satisfy child support obligations, transition from being in jail, and [get] parenting education.” The bill would also “provide grants to community-based not-for-profit organizations to offer certain mentorship programs.” As we have written about previously, mentoring youngsters, teens, and young adults who grew up without fathers is a profoundly positive experience not only for those being mentored but also for the mentors themselves.

When we consider the fact that a bill like HB 7065 got unanimous support from both sides of the aisle, it proves that certain universal truths resonate with everyone and transcend political parties. When Democrats and Republicans can come together to unanimously pass a bill that acknowledges the importance of fatherhood, it should give us hope for the future. Perhaps bills like these can be springboards for future bipartisan-supported legislation that focuses on strengthening marriages and families—the foundational cornerstone of civilization.

Senate Confirms Abortion Extremist Shalanda Young

by Dan Hart

March 16, 2022

With a disappointing vote of 61-36, the Senate confirmed pro-abortion extremist Shalanda Young as the director of the Office of Management and Budget this past Tuesday.

As we have previously pointed out, the issue with Young isn’t merely that she is “pro-choice,” as is virtually every liberal Democrat. The problem with Young is that she is in favor of forcing every American to fund abortion with their tax dollars and also sees no issue with forcing all health care workers to participate in carrying out abortions, even if they have religious or moral objections.

For Young, repealing the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits taxpayer funding from paying for abortion in Medicaid—is an issue of “racial justice.” Her claim that prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion disproportionately affects women of color is indeed true, but it doesn’t convey what she thinks it does. As the latest CDC data shows, black women are four times more likely to get an abortion than white women—undoubtedly because black women are targeted by the abortion industry that locates the majority of their facilities in minority neighborhoods. Under Hyde, black babies are much more likely to be protected from a taxpayer-fueled abortion regime.

Young is on the record as being opposed to both the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment, which are both historically bipartisan measures meant to prevent tax dollars from funding abortion and to protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.

The confirmation of Young is the latest example of President Biden’s pattern of filling his administration not just with pro-choice appointees, but with individuals who actively advocate for leaving no room for Americans to have differing views on the most heated and contentious moral and political issue of our time.

Moving forward, FRC will continue to closely track the individuals that the Biden administration nominates and will alert the public to encourage them to contact their senators and congressmen and voice their concerns about far-left extremist nominees. Let us pray that in the future, the Biden administration will avoid choosing divisive pro-abortion activists, especially those whose views leave no room for pro-life Americans to live out their lives in the public square.

**For more information on our work tracking the Biden administration’s anti-family actions and nominees, see: frcaction.org/biden

The Limits of Human Happiness: The Danger of Trying To Find Our Identity in Our Feelings

by Dan Hart

January 24, 2022

In a recent interview, pop superstar Adele told Oprah that the reason she divorced her husband and created a broken home for her then six-year-old son was because “she realized she was ‘ignoring’ her own happiness.” Similarly, Honor Jones, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote recently that, even though she “loved [her] husband,” who she had three young children with, she was breaking her family up because she “felt that [her husband] was standing between [her] and the world.”

This 50-year-old-and-counting trend of “no-fault” divorce, in which a husband or a wife chooses to split from their spouse because of a feeling rather than a concrete transgression like abuse or adultery, is part of a larger phenomenon that has been happening in Western society for decades now: the ascendence of feelings and emotions as the definitive barometer of who a person is.

Arguably, we are seeing this trend more explicitly in our current American moment than we ever have before with the advent of transgenderism—the idea that one can change their “gender” because of being unhappy with one’s biological sex. Just as with no-fault divorce, the choice to become transgender has proven to have very real negative consequences that not only affect the health of the individual choosing to identify as transgender (through harmful hormone therapy and surgeries that do not resolve the person’s unhappiness) but also society (through classroom indoctrination, bathroom privacy violations, and the assault on women’s sports, among other harms).

In our “live your own truth” society, consuming pornography, participating in premarital sex, and committing adultery are acts that cannot be judged by others if they feel right to the individual in the moment, despite the trail of brokenness and victimization left in their wake. Furthermore, we are seeing highly-charged feelings about America being a “racist” and “white supremacist” country driving a nationwide movement to establish intensely divisive “Critical Race Theory” policies in schools and places of work, despite clear, commonsense evidence that “systemic” racism does not exist in America.

The right to act on strongly-held feelings—no matter how it may affect others—has become an idol in our culture, and the damage that this causes is plain to see. While feelings and emotions are an important part of being human, they do not ultimately define us, and we must carefully discern whether or not to act on them. If we want to flourish as a society, it is critical that we have a grounded, biblical perspective on our emotions, which continually shift from day to day like the changing winds.

The Pursuit of Happiness

In this country, we can trace the privileging of feelings back to our founding. Ever since Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement in the Declaration of Independence that among our “inalienable rights” bestowed on us by our Creator is “the pursuit of happiness,” the concept of “happiness” has held a prominent place in the American heart.

But what is happiness? At best, what we associate with or describe as happiness is often a fleeting feeling of contentment or pleasure. According to Thomas Aquinas, this “imperfect happiness” is the only form of happiness that can be obtained on earth. For most of us, even when we are doing something we thoroughly enjoy for an extended period of time, a genuine, all-encompassing feeling of happiness is usually short-lived. If one were to continually strive for one’s own version of happiness at every turn, it’s easy to see the disaster that would unfold—someone acting on every whim and urge regardless of the consequence or the effect on others.

Yet, there is no denying that happiness in its essence is a good thing and is wonderful to experience. Even so, what’s interesting about happiness is that we tend to experience it when we don’t necessarily expect to. It could be when we are simply on a walk, and the beauty of nature strikes us in a way that we weren’t anticipating. Or it could be in a more predictable context, like when we are engaging in an activity that we find pleasure in such as reading a good book or playing guitar. What’s fascinating, though, is that even when we do something in order to be happy, there is no guarantee that we will feel happy. This speaks to the ephemeral nature of happiness—it is a gift that is given to us from above. When we grasp for it, it is often just out of our reach. Perhaps this is what Jefferson meant when he wrote of the “pursuit” of happiness—we seek it because of how good it makes us feel, but we don’t always find it.

When we look at Scripture, we find that happiness or its synonym joy is almost always connected with seeking God and the virtues. For example, Psalm 146:5 proclaims: “Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Proverbs 3:13 declares: “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding.” In Psalm 92:4, the psalmist writes, “You, O Lord, have made me happy by your work. I will sing for joy because of what you have done.” In another passage, King David actually commands happiness, writing, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11). 

These verses tell us something about what should be of ultimate importance to our earthly life and Who we should ultimately seek.

The Limited Offerings of the World

A natural question to ask here is, why? Why should we seek after a God we cannot see? A large part of the answer lies in the nature of the world. At the end of the day, as Bishop Robert Barron has so eloquently written and spoken about, “nothing in this world finally satisfies the deepest longings of our heart.” When we think of our most cherished and memorable experiences and feelings in our lives—the most delicious meal, the most mind-bendingly electrifying movie, the most beautiful mountain view, the most exhilarating athletic achievement, the most stimulating conversation—what do they all have in common? They all inevitably end, fading into the mists of the past, and we are plunged headlong into the next moment or the next day, which usually isn’t nearly as memorable. Even our loved ones will eventually die, ending our most cherished relationships. So what can we learn from this universal (and somber) certainty?

One thing we can learn is a fundamental truth about being human: We all have a deep desire for lasting happiness which points to something beyond anything this world can offer. Built into every human heart is an insatiable hunger for ultimate love, ultimate goodness, ultimate beauty, ultimate truth. As wonderful as our best moments on earth are, they only leave us wanting more. But why? Why would God create us this way? C.S. Lewis, in his great work The Problem of Pain, gives a perceptive, poetic answer to this confounding question:

The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world; but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

Knowing that ultimate fulfillment can never come on earth, our hunger for it nevertheless drives us to continually seek it. In this pursuit of happiness, it is often our deeply felt emotions and feelings that drive our actions. But as we have seen, unless these feelings are directed toward good things that ultimately come from God, we will not only be chronically unhappy, but we will also end up falling into wrongdoing, hurting ourselves and those around us.

The Fulfillment of All Desire

Our Heavenly Father knows our needs and the deepest longings of our hearts (see Matthew 6:25-33), but He also gives us the freedom to choose to follow those longings in the way we choose to do so. This is why we must remain anchored in God’s Word and follow His laws laid out for us in Scripture, so that our emotions and our deepest longings will naturally fall in line with the things of God—those things that are by nature true, good, and beautiful.

This is the wonderful reality about the unique gifts and talents that we are all blessed with: everyone can express their ultimate longing for God in their own way by pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty through music, athletics, writing, building houses, repairing cars, homemaking, or any of the multitude of good things that fills the earth. God delights in giving His children good gifts. As Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). At the same time, our natures tell us that ultimate fulfillment won’t come from these finite gifts, for as Christ said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

When we live our lives without God, however, the results are plain to see. We end up straining and grasping for fulfillment moment by moment, without a fixture of truth to guide our hearts. We attempt to “live our truth” by following whatever earthly thing we think will make us happy, eternally confounded by its finiteness.

May we instead live in the promise of the “food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27), forever consoled and strengthened by the hope and truth of the One who has set all people free (John 8:32), who will eternally fulfill every desire in our true home—the world to come.

5 Ways to Give the Gift of Yourself This Season

by Dan Hart

December 29, 2021

As much as we believers may try to avoid it, it’s hard not to get caught up in the present-buying frenzy that our culture is dominated by during the Christmas season. Spending enormous amounts of money on gifts every December has indeed become a kind of secular American tradition bordering on a religion.

While the giving of material gifts around Christmas time is a wonderful and storied Christian tradition that goes back to the time of Saint Nicholas in the fourth century, the pressure and stress of trying to buy the perfect present for a laundry list of family and friends can often feel overwhelming and can easily overshadow the reason for the season: the coming of Our Savior to earth as a baby.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a different—and perhaps better—way of gift giving that doesn’t necessarily involve spending money on material things. Here are five ideas on how we can give the gift of ourselves to others this season.

1. Reach Out

Even before the pandemic hit, more than three in five Americans reported being lonely. The pandemic further compounded the problem, with the rates of reported loneliness and suicidal thoughts rising dramatically not only in the U.S. but globally.

It’s clear that there are many Americans, particularly in urban areas, that do not have strong networks of friends and family nearby them that they can get support from. This is where we as believers can be the hands and feet of Christ—by reaching out not only to those in our own social circles but also to anyone we may encounter in our daily lives. Here are a few ideas about how to connect with people.

  • Write: Go through your contacts and send a text message or an email to someone you haven’t connected with in a long time asking them how they’re doing. You might even consider writing an old-fashioned letter if it strikes your fancy or you think your friend might be pleasantly surprised by one. You never know how a simple “Hello, how are you?” can affect someone, possibly giving them a mental boost at just the right time or rekindling a friendship.
  • Strike Up Conversations: When you are out and about, don’t be afraid to be friendly. Initiating conversations with strangers in everyday situations is a great way to establish an atmosphere of friendliness in public. Whether it be asking the grocery store cashier how their day is going or asking how old a fellow patron’s kids are in the coffee shop, you never know where a good-natured conversation can lead—possibly even to friendship and faith.
  • Take Regular Walks Around Your Neighborhood: Post-pandemic life has brought with it numerous changes, particularly making more American’s lives increasingly home-centric, so much so that one could conceivably go weeks without ever having to leave one’s house thanks to internet delivery services and the ability to work from home. This is why it is all the more important to get out of the house as often as possible, not only for fresh air and exercise but also to build community with those around us. By taking regular walks around our neighborhoods and making an effort to meet and become friendly with our neighbors, we can learn a lot, including where elderly shut-ins, those with disabilities, and families with small children live so that we can get to know them and offer our time or a helping hand when opportunities come our way.

2. Go Through Your Closets and Give Stuff Away

As one of the most prosperous nations on earth, Americans tend to accumulate stuff. Many of us have attics and closets full of things that we hardly ever use or wear. Instead of having garage sales or spending hours listing things on eBay to sell, consider giving your stuff away instead. Local Goodwill and secondhand stores are a good place to start, but it might be even better to consider giving them to a church clothing or Christmas gift drive so that those who are most in need can be the first to receive them. Just make sure the things you are giving away are not broken or overly used. Put yourself in the place of someone receiving your things—would you be happy to get them?

3. Make a Meal or Start a Meal Train for Those in Need

Providing a warm, home-cooked meal is one of the best ways to extend a helping and comforting hand to someone in need. With COVID and its variations still lurking, chances are we know someone in our social circles who is sick and may be in need of a meal (or more), especially if they are parents of small children whose needs don’t magically stop if their parents are sick. Others who often need meals are mothers who have just given birth and their families. One of the best ways to provide ongoing meals for those with extended illnesses or who have just had a baby is to set up a meal train for them—this allows their friends and acquaintances to all pitch in and sign up to provide meals for different days. MealTrain.com is a very useful and easy way to set up a meal train.

4. Consider Serving in Prison Ministry

Christ commands us in Matthew 25 to visit those in prison. There are over two million people in prison in the U.S., and the rates of loneliness and depression among prisoners are extremely high. Many churches have their own prison ministry programs that serve local prisons. You can also volunteer your time with the biblical worldview-centered organization Prison Fellowship, as well as financially support them. Because of the COVID pandemic, many prisons have severely tightened regulations for visitors, making it more difficult for family and friends to visit prisoners. If this is the case with prisons in your area, consider writing letters to prisoners who don’t have family and friends to support them.

5. Pray

Times are difficult in America right now in many ways, but one of the most painful difficulties for many of us is how divided our extended families are. Polls show that differing views about politics and vaccines are causing familial rifts like never before, not to mention the growing number of family members who are at odds over religious views. When tensions are high with our loved ones, Christmas and New Years can be an especially hard time because we often aren’t in a very giving mood.

That’s where prayer comes in. Prayer is powerful. Jesus Himself assures us that “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). The Scriptures are brimming with verses on the power that prayer has to change things. When we caste all of our problems on the Lord in prayer, not only does He hear them, but our own minds are put at ease. The best gift we can possibly give to anyone is love, and prayer is absolutely integral to loving well. Whether it be a family member who has fallen away from Christ or someone who is sick and is in need of healing, prayer may just be the best gift you could ever give them.

From Eating to Dining: How Shared Meals Reveal What It Means to Be Human

by Dan Hart

November 24, 2021

In 2019, a disheartening survey was released on the eating habits of Americans. It found that only 48 percent of respondents eat at the dining room table, with 47 percent saying they eat on the couch or in their bedrooms instead. Tellingly, 72 percent of respondents also said that they grew up eating in the dining room. This is the latest illustration of a trend that has been happening for quite some time in America. Families and households are putting less of an emphasis on one of the most fundamental pillars of family and communal life—a shared meal.

Social science bears out the central importance that family dinner has on positive outcomes for children, including lower rates of drug abuse, teen pregnancy, depression, obesity, and eating disorders as well as higher grade-point average, self-esteem, and vocabulary. But the benefits of family meals—or any shared meal—go much deeper than what social science can prove. Dining together fills an innate need that all human beings crave: the desire for true communion and fellowship with our Creator and with one another.

The Centrality of the Meal in Scripture

Scripture tells us a great deal about just how fundamental meals are to human flourishing. Moreover, the Bible contains many examples of how the provision of food often served as a means for teaching important spiritual truths. For example, in the Old Testament, God fed the Israelites manna in the desert. Despite their disobedience (which resulted in the people having to wander in the desert for 40 years), He fed them, teaching them to depend and rely on Him for their daily sustenance (Exodus 16). Similarly, throughout the gospels, Jesus chooses a shared meal as the context not only for building relationships but for enacting His salvific plan.

His desire for forming intimate bonds over a shared meal is shown through His dinner with tax collectors and sinners at the home of Levi (Luke 5:29-32), eating at the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50), dining at the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:25-42), and staying at the home of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Strikingly, Jesus also emphasizes communal dining with His disciples in His resurrected body. He sups with two disciples that He meets on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), with His disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 14:35-48), and again with His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Tiberius, sharing a miraculous catch of fish and bread over a charcoal fire (John 21:1-14).

Indeed, Christ’s plan of salvation is miraculously revealed multiple times in the context of a shared meal. It is at a wedding feast at Cana that Jesus performs His first miracle of turning water into wine, ushering in His public ministry (John 2:1-11). After feeding the souls of 5,000 men (besides women and children, which means the total number may have been as much as 15,000) by teaching them about the kingdom of God, He orchestrates a miraculous, spontaneous dinner for everybody when He multiplies a few loaves and fish to feed the entire throng, so much so that there are 12 wicker baskets left over after everyone has eaten their fill (Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-36). At the Last Supper, Christ reveals a fundamental aspect of His sacrificial mission through sharing bread and wine with His disciples (Luke 22:14-23).

It’s clear that Christ placed great emphasis on the importance of the meal as a conduit for revealing the depth of His love for His flock. But a natural question arises here—why did Christ do this? What is the true nature and potential of a shared meal?

From Eating to Dining”

Judging by the survey referenced earlier, for the most part, eating has become a pretty mundane and isolated exercise for many Americans. At the same time, the popularity of cooking shows and eating out prove that even the fragmented nature of everyday life in our culture has not fully tamped down the pleasures of a good meal. Even so, what our culture seems to lack is a true understanding of just how meaningful meals can and should be. As Leon Kass has reflected upon at length in his profound book The Hungry Soul, the ordinary nature of eating takes on a whole new meaning when we intentionally make an effort to move “from eating to dining”—from eating for the primary purpose of satisfying a grumbling stomach to instead dining with others through a shared experience of food and conversation.

Human instinct tells us that there is something unparalleled and intangibly communal about a dinner table filled with delicious food to share and enjoy together. This is illustrated by the fact that a shared meal is the only human activity that engages all five of our senses at once. We see the food spread out before us and the people we are sharing it with, we smell the aromas which heighten and anticipate our appetites and enhance our eating experience, we touch our forks and knives to eat and pass around the dinner rolls, we taste, relish, and consume our meal, and we listen to the merriment and clinking dinnerware and partake in conversation.

To be sure, a shared meal gives us arguably the richest opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation that has the potential to draw us closer to one another. Aristotle once wrote about how “the truest human intimacy takes place in good conversation.” And as John Cuddeback has observed, “[G]ood conversation … does more than give seasoning to life. It is the beating heart of a real communion of persons, of a happy life-together with those we love.”

Of course, meaningful conversation doesn’t always happen on its own. The best way to facilitate true fellowship is to pray for those who will dine with us and for uplifting conversation that leads to greater intimacy with each other and the Lord. When we fully invest ourselves in a meal shared with others, it has the power to nourish the mind, body, and soul all at once. Because God created us as embodied beings comprised of both bodies and souls, nourishing our physical hunger through eating naturally nourishes our minds and hearts. As we engage in rich conversation, we draw closer and grow in intimacy with each other. Our souls are in turn nourished by this communion we achieve with others during the meal. Since our minds, bodies, and souls are in union with each other, when one is nourished, they are all nourished. It is in this act of dining that we can harness the true communal potential of shared meals that our Creator intended them to be.

It is in this way that a meal shared with others can become a taste of the divine feast in heaven where we will be in total communion not only with all the redeemed but with the communion of love found in the Holy Trinity.

Practical Ways to Enhance a Shared Meal

At this point you might be thinking, “It’s all well and good that meals have such great potential to be so meaningful, but how can we expect to have this kind of experience consistently?” It’s true that we can’t expect every meal to be a profound experience, but there are a few simple, practical ways we can be more intentional about making a shared meal a truly communal and edifying experience for all.

1. Spend a little extra love and care preparing everyday meals.

Anyone who has prepared an elaborate meal for a dinner party, a family reunion, or Thanksgiving knows how much work it can be but also how rewarding it is to experience the appreciation guests express over a well-received meal. This experience can not only be immensely rewarding for the host, but also for the guests: who can’t help but feel well cared for after being served a delicious meal?

In the same way, parents or anyone else cooking for others can make dinnertime consistently special by preparing healthy, hearty meals that aren’t elaborate and time-consuming. The Family Dinner Project has some great tips on how to do this.

2. Start dinner earlier in the evening.

When possible, try to start dinner or appetizers as early in the evening as you can. When everyone has their hunger nourished earlier in the evening, it will set the tone for a better overall mood and will allow for a more extended time of fellowship after the meal.

Social science has also found strong benefits for earlier dinners for families. A recent study found that “‘parents who eat dinner before 6:15 p.m. … spend 11% more quality time with children, and spend 14% more overall time with children’ in the evening than those who eat later.”

3. Say a prayer of thanksgiving after the meal.

Most believers pray a blessing over meals before digging in, but less common is the traditional Christian practice of saying a prayer of thanksgiving afterward. Saying a post-meal blessing can help set a grateful tone before partaking in an extended time of fellowship after a meal and serves as an acknowledgment that what everyone just took part in was a sacred experience. While there is always the option of spontaneous prayer, here is a simple, common prayer of thanksgiving.

***

For Americans, Thanksgiving has the most potential to be the ultimate dining experience—it has remained the most popular holiday next to Christmas. This speaks to the power that is inherently present in a shared meal with loved ones—our human natures are drawn to celebratory feasts like a moth to flame.

This Thanksgiving, may we reach for ever greater heights of communion with our family and friends, and in so doing strive for greater communion with our Creator, the master of the eternal, heavenly banquet.

International Olympic Committee Abandons Women Athletes

by Linda Blade

November 23, 2021

Imagine that you are a top administrator at a track meet and you notice that in the 17-year-old category there appears to be a boy running in the girls’ race. What course of action you would take? Well, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), your approach would depend upon what year you noticed such a thing.

Pre-2003, you would have simply explained to the athlete that it is not permissible for a boy to compete against the girls. The boy would be instructed that in the future he should be racing with the boys.

After 2003 (Stockholm Consensus), you would have had to determine if the boy had undergone some sort of sex change surgery at least two years prior to the race and had legal recognition as a girl. This set a tough standard for a male wishing to participate in a female race, and transgender advocates felt that the IOC was being was too rigid.

Well, the IOC wanted this problem to go away, and so by 2015 they made it a lot easier. At that point, this boy would have had to self-declare that he “identifies as a girl” and “then lived as a girl for at least a year” (whatever that means), while ensuring that his testosterone level (T) was 10 nmol/L or below throughout that time. (Note: 10nmol/L is low for men but still many times higher than the maximum testosterone level allowed for women, which is about 2 nmol/L.) No surgery was to be required.

There was no real way for anybody to check 24/7 as to whether this boy was keeping his T level down throughout that year. And there was no scientific evidence to determine whether the selection of T concentration at 10 nmol/L was the appropriate level that could ensure “fairness” in the race.

As we know now from research and observation, the 2015 IOC consensus could not in any way eliminate the enormous male biological advantage that this boy would be bringing to the race. In the years following 2015, many examples could be found that revealed the immense unfairness of this approach; the Connecticut high school controversy being one of the most prominent.

Those concerned with fairness in women’s sports were alarmed and began speaking out in greater numbers. Organizations like Fair Play for Women (UK) and Save Women’s Sports (U.S., New Zealand, and Australia) arose to question the IOC’s thinking. In 2021, my own book was published on this topic (written in collaboration with journalist Barbara Kay), titled UNSPORTING: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport.

It all came to a head with the participation of Laurel Hubbard (New Zealand) in women’s weightlifting at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (which took place in the summer of 2021). The world finally got to see what it looks like to have a male competitor in a female competition, and the public found it to be absurd. IOC medical director, Dr. Richard Budgett, had to admit that the 2015 IOC consensus on transgender participation was “not fit for purpose.” But in making that statement, he stuck to the ideological line that “trans women are women.”

The truth is that “trans women” are, by definition, male-born individuals who identify as women but can never become biological females. This need not be an insulting statement; it is why they are called “trans women” instead of “women.”

Having adopted the trans activist line of discourse, the IOC needed to somehow find a way to make its eligibility guidelines more protective of the women’s category, while at the same time not “triggering” trans activists. So little was the IOC focusing on the plight of the female athlete and so greatly on placating the gender ideologists that, in the aftermath of Tokyo, they went out of their way to not consult with women across the globe who were advocating for sex-based eligibility criteria.

To the profound disappointment of sex-based advocates, the 2021 version of the IOC eligibility guidelines (announce on Tuesday, November 16, 2021) amounts to the complete abandonment of women’s sports.

In the *new* 2021 IOC eligibility guidelines, titled IOC Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations, males who wish to self-identify into female competition no longer require testosterone suppression or surgery. Furthermore, inclusion in the female category will be automatic unless a sports official finds a way to decide if the male participant has a “disproportionate advantage.”

The boy in our example above can now assert: “It’s my human right to be in the girls race and the Olympic guidelines say that you are not allowed to exclude me from this race until you do a scientific study to prove that I have an advantage that is beyond acceptable.”

Unfortunately for sports administrators, the IOC offers no means to assess what is “disproportionate” or which of the thousands of physical variables is to be measured or assessed to determine this boy’s unacceptable advantage. Nor will the IOC be offering any financial funding from its vast reserves to help undertake such a study.

And why would the IOC go down this path when the results of such an inquiry would arrive months after the race, offering no immediate cover for allegations of “hate” that will inevitably come its way for even suggesting that this boy might be out of line?

One can foresee sports administrators and officials abandoning any attempt to enforce the biological boundary.

The entire point for having the women’s category in the first place arises from the distinction between male and female biological sex that gives males a physical advantage, categorically and overwhelmingly. But now in 2021, as an IOC official suggested in the November 16 IOC news conference, it is not up to sport associations to define “woman.”

Essentially, then, the 2021 IOC position is that eligibility rules must be “fair” to women, but no sport should presume to define what a woman is.

What a shameful display of cowardice and confusion!

Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter says: “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Biological sex is on this original list. And even though we can all agree that the category “male” has “disproportionate advantage” over the category “female,” the IOC is now apparently so fearful of running afoul of gender ideology that it is no longer willing to acknowledge that allowing a male person to compete against females is discrimination on the basis of sex.

Speaking of principles, the IOC could have avoided this predicament completely if only it had upheld Principle 5 of the Olympic Charter, which demands “autonomy” and “political neutrality” in maintaining IOC “freedom from outside influence” in establishing its own rules for sports.

We are now seeing what happens when the IOC violates its own charter and permits its functionaries to be captured by ideology. Sadly, it’s the female athlete who will be paying the price by participating in Olympic sports that are no longer fair nor safe.

Linda Blade, PhD (Kinesiology) is a former Canadian track and field champion and NCAA All American (University of Maryland Terps team captain in 1985). She spent 25 years as a sport performance professional coach in Edmonton, Alberta, teaching fundamental biomotor skills to athletes, from beginner to elite, in over 15 sports.

Thinking Biblically About Freedom

by Dan Hart

November 5, 2021

What is freedom?

It’s a question at the heart of the American experiment. Our national anthem dubs us “the land of the free.” Our Declaration of Independence proclaims that America “ought to be Free and Independent States.” Our Constitution’s stated purpose is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

In a certain sense, America has been seeking the meaning of freedom since the country’s founding. In asserting our independence from Britain, we declared that all people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It was an extraordinarily bold statement, but it also left the fundamental concepts of “liberty” and “happiness” open to interpretation. Perhaps that was Thomas Jefferson’s intention in writing those words, to set forth an ideal that America could eternally strive to define and reach for, and in doing so, create the freest and most prosperous country the world has ever known.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Great American Paradox

Jefferson followed up his declaration of man’s unalienable rights with these words: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Consent of the governed was not a completely new idea; the king of England ruled with the consent of Parliament, which represented the people. However, our Founders took this principle of consent even further by establishing a constitutional republic—foregoing a monarch and entrusting lawmaking to representatives elected by the people.

This leads us to the central paradox of the American experiment. By choosing to define civic freedom in this way, America took a great gamble—it bestowed governing power to a majority, trusting that that majority would decide against tyranny. Ever since then, an uneasy and terrifying possibility has lingered in the back of the American consciousness: If a majority of Americans are somehow convinced that freedom should be abolished, they could in theory “freely” choose tyranny.

A modern iteration of this paradox is currently playing itself out in our culture. On one hand, a sizeable portion of Americans believes that freedom is the ability to do whatever one wants whenever one wants, usually with a vaguely defined caveat that one’s free choices should not “harm” somebody else. But on the other hand, another large portion of Americans believes that freedom is innately tied to virtue and responsibility—in other words, an authentically “free” choice must be not only for one’s own good but also for the general welfare of society at large.

At first glance, there may not seem to be much difference between these two views. But there’s a crucial difference: The first view sees personal autonomy as the highest good, whereas the second view sees personal virtue as the highest good. Here again, we come up against a fundamental paradox and an open question. In a country where everyone is free to decide for themselves what the definition of freedom is, how long can that country maintain some semblance of unity before devolving into either fascism or an anarchy of moral relativism?

The True Source of Freedom

As Christians, we know that true freedom can only come when we freely choose to live in accordance with God’s law. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church concisely states this truth well:

By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” [Romans 6:17]

In America, we see a culture that is awash in the abuse of freedom. In the name of “freedom of choice,” the lives of unborn babies are extinguished in their mothers’ wombs, often due to pressure from fathers and family members. In the name of “freedom of expression,” pornography clogs the internet and sweeps up millions of Americans into the slavery of addiction. In the name of “freely choosing one’s identity,” children are indoctrinated, speech is restricted, and people are canceled. The list goes on and on.

One of the greatest tragedies of the Christian life is to witness others make wrong and poor choices about freedom that lead to enslavement to sin and, ultimately, spiritual death. But herein lies the golden opportunity for American believers. As faithful Christians, we have discovered the only true source for happiness, contentment, and true freedom: faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His laws. Thus, by “always be[ing] prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15), we can help spread a true understanding of freedom to our family members, friends, coworkers, and anyone else in our circles of influence, always remembering to “do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).

A Moral and Religious People”

By God’s grace, America has remained a flawed but free country for 238 years, arguably the longest-standing democracy in the world. But, as former President Ronald Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Indeed, we are seeing authoritarianism creep its way into American life as we speak.

This is why for Christian citizens, American freedom will always be bittersweet. We treasure our freedom to believe and live out our faith in our daily lives, but we also know that it could vanish if enough of our fellow citizens make terrible choices. Consequently, believers ought to not only share their faith with boldness and work to educate their friends and neighbors on the values of civic freedom, but we should also bear witness to what will truly set the human heart free: to do what one ought to in accordance with God’s law. As our second President John Adams wisely observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Despite the precarious nature of American freedom, there is a silver lining in it. The very fact that our country remains free only by the choice of its citizens is a stark reminder for Christians that our true home is not here. As brilliant as our Founding Fathers were in establishing our constitutional republic, it is impossible for fallen human beings to create a system of government that will deliver a utopian paradise (despite what some believe). The paradox of American freedom reminds believers that there is only one truly free place—the heavenly kingdom ruled by our Creator. And while we are called to be good citizens of both the City of God and City of Man (Phil. 3:20), we are nevertheless “sojourners and exiles” in this world (2 Peter 2:11).

To be a Christian citizen of America is to be a person of trust. We harness the opportunities that American freedom gives us by witnessing to the gospel and leave the rest up to God. What could be more freeing than that?

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