We have now lived in Haiti for a week - old timers. We are studying Creole with Ricardo and Mary, while they improve their English in the process. We have spent the week cleaning and sorting. Charlene worked on some bookshelves piled high with everything from very old car repair books to life improvement, then moved on to the kitchen. Nearly did herself in on that project.
Many teams have been through here since the last hosts left, and they have left lots of medical and VBS supplies scattered about. I have been through them once and grouped them into categories, re-boxing as I went. Susan McGee will be here week after next while Charlie and I go north, and she and Charlene will go through the VBS stuff and decide how best to put it to use. So far we are having fun, while hoping all of our fun is not so intense.
We have now reached the part of my book, "Peace on Earth," where it could be controversial. I wrote and published it with some trepidation. This is where religion spills into politics. This chapter is brief. Give it a glance and see if you want to read on.
Warning about Part 2
"They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
I need to clarify what comes next lest someone think I am wimping out on speaking the truth to those who need to hear it. We are called on to be bold proclaimers of the truth. When Jesus' body left the earth, He put his followers in charge of spreading the good news. A short time later they were hauled in before the religious leaders of the day, were beaten and then commanded not to speak in his name. They immediately went back to the most public place in the city and resumed preaching and teaching.
Jesus wants us to be bold speakers too. He wants us confidently telling the truth about who he is and what God requires of us. But he wants us to be peaceable and gentle about it. And nowhere has he charged us with forcing people into submission to his will.
In the next two chapters I write about fourteen specific issues of the day. For each of them I apply the principle that God wants us leading people to repentance rather than forcing them into submission through legislation. You may agree or disagree, but please do not conclude that I lack courage. Consider instead what God said about it:
"For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ' I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.'"
"Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men".
Whole books, longer than this one could be written about each of the following topics. This list is intended as thought provokers or discussion starters and as an illustration of the principle that God has called us to change the world through preaching and teaching, not through legislating.
One more thing before we dive in. In the next few pages I speak of being friendly to all people who may want to worship with us. There I am saying that we should invite all comers into our worship services, but not to stay the same. Rather to grow with us in righteousness and in their love for God and mankind.