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The Day That Changed the Church

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Measuring the effect 9/11 has had on the American—and global—church

 

Where were you ... ?”

You probably remember where you were when the horrific events on that epochal day unfolded. Life got more fragile. Worldviews were altered. Innocence was lost. The terrorists who carried out these atrocities were driven—not by money or fame—but by a destructive belief system. Don’t ever think personal theology doesn’t have public consequences. While the terrorists’ misguided beliefs forced a brave new world of greater peril, their hideous acts also released greater possibilities.

Three measurable realities for the church worldwide are rooted in the fallout from 9/11: read more

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Saving Stories

Can Christian fiction help rescue our nation?

 

This year finds our country in increasingly chaotic circumstances—devastating unemployment, progressively angry political divisions, huge moral leadership gaps and destructive warring factions around the globe. Each night the dreary headlines blaze across television screens and the front pages of the newspaper. Yet we also are a nation most blessed, with freedoms and material prosperity unimagined in most countries of the world. For the most part, even our politicians are honest and out for the country’s good—how astonishing is that compared to so many other nations? The question is this: How are we to sort through, think about and address the problems—personal and national—that, along with our blessings, dog our days?

Maybe novels are being written right now or are already out there that can provide new direction, new ways of thinking, and answers to the questions and trials that seem to consume us. The majority of fiction is written and bought for entertainment value, and a well-crafted story certainly will have “refreshing diversion” as foundational to the reading experience. But the most memorable and long-lasting fiction also has the potential to fire the imagination, inspire and challenge readers toward new approaches to the complications, difficulties and yes, evils of life. 

This has been the case down through history. In America, the best-known fiction game-changer is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her strong faith, along with the influences of her theologian father and abolitionist husband, is woven throughout this novel of slavery’s terrible wound on a nation’s soul. An unprecedented 300,000 copies were sold during its first year in print as a complete book (it was originally featured in newspaper serials of the time). The book’s sales soon surpassed a million copies—at a time when the entire population of the country was barely over 30 million—and stirred citizens’ hearts and minds to action. It has been reported that during the author’s visit to the White House, President Lincoln mused, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” read more

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Did the disastrous day also display God’s grace?


It was Sept. 10, 2001, the night before the calamity. I was leading a gathering of ministers in our building in northern New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. As the leader of a Messianic worship center, I was very conscious of where we were in the biblical Hebrew calendar—these were the days of the trumpet, the biblical alarm, the warning sound of approaching danger.

That evening one of our ministers came to us heavily burdened over the fact that he had not shared the gospel with the unsaved in his life. He stayed there, praying late into the night. A few hours later, on Sept. 11, he went to work in his office inside the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

At that time there was also a woman in my life who seemed as if she could be the one for me. Only months earlier we had exchanged our first gifts at the ground floor of the Twin Towers. On the morning of Sept. 11, she was scheduled for an appointment at the towers just when the attack would take place. read more

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