Activist Faith-Interviews and Blogs

Yesterday my book (cowritten with Dillon Burroughs and Dan King), Activist Faith released from Navpress. I wanted to share some of the conversations around this book from the web:

I wrote a guest post for Micah Fries, on the subject of crisis pregnancy centers:

While we are waiting and praying for Roe versus Wade to be overturned, there are opportunities to snatch babies from the precipice of death—in our own neighborhoods, one life at a time. And we have an opportunity to apply the grace of the gospel to young unwed mothers, helping them care for their children well after they give birth.

I’ve had the chance to work with a crisis center in our community. I’m amazed at the compassion, the love, and the effectiveness of this outreach. Though most young evangelicals might not see it this way, to serve and support a local CPC may be the most missional thing you can do. Not only are you shepherding a young girl through the biggest decision of her life, it provides an opportunity to share the good news of God’s love with someone who may feel as though their choices have left them ineligible for God’s grace.

Read the rest of that blog by clicking over to Micah’s site.

Then, I did an interview with Michael Kelley. Here is a portion of that interview:

1. What specifically made you want to write a book regarding Christian involvement in issues like these?

I’ve always had my ear to the ground when it comes to political issues and even dabbled in elective politics, helping some friends run for Congress a few years ago. But in the last five years I’ve served as a pastor and I feel it is part of my duty to help God’s people think clearly about the issues in our community, our country, and our world.

What strikes me is just how effective the Church can be when it mobilizes in a community. We can and should engage these issues on a political level (voting, speaking out, etc), but much of the work in solving issues is done on the ground, one person at a time, in very nonpolitical ways. I wanted to highlight these opportunities, so I invited my friends, Dan King and Dillon Burroughs to get involved. The idea is pretty simple: If you are particularly arrested by an issue, yes you should vote accordingly, but more importantly, there are ways you can help alleviate the problems, right  now, in your local community. I’m amazed at just how the way God designed the Church to uniquely respond to social ills in a way that no other institution can.

You can read the whole interview by clicking over to MIchael’s blog

Then, Trilla Newbell interviewed me for CBMW:

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

Dillon and Dan and I had the idea a couple of years ago. I’ve been a follower of politics most of my life and as a pastor, I’ve seen the impact of God’s people, motivated by the gospel, to meet human needs in their community. What strikes me is that after the elections are over and, regardless of whether your guy has won, there are needs you as a Christian can meet in your community. And if you look at almost every major social issue, there are followers of Jesus actively meeting those needs, on the ground, in a quiet and productive way. So the purpose of this book is really to help people leverage the concern they have for particular issues and connect them to ways they can help in nonpolitical ways in their local communities. So, for instance, if you’re hacked off about abortion–yes vote accordingly and speak out–but in the meantime, roll up your sleeves, open your wallet and support a local crisis pregnancy center. You can actually save real babies and help real women in your town.

Read the whole interview here

And if you are available, I’d love to invite you to a special webcast with The High Calling at 2PM Eastern Time.

Live What You Are Trying to Lead

Today for Leadership Journal I had the privilege of speaking with Bryan Loritts, lead pastor of Fellowship Memphis and the son of Crawford Loritts, the popular author and pastor. Bryan has written extensively and spoken on racial reconciliation in the church and pastors a congregation in one of the most racially tense areas of the country. One question I asked him was this:

How can pastors and church leaders, of any race, promote racial reconciliation in their churches?

First, preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Paul writes Ephesians chapter 2, before he gets to our horizontal reconciliation in verse 11, he deals with our vertical reconciliation with God in verses 1-10. As he would say to the Corinthians, being reconciled to God through the substitutionary atoning work of Jesus Christ is of first importance.

Second, be intentional. Race is a human social fabrication. Biologically there’s no such thing (just one human race). However, the social construct of race has been woven so deeply into the fabric and psyche of our nation, that we cannot be passive when it comes to matters of racial reconciliation. We have to be deeply intentional, the same kind of intentionality we find in Christ who by his blood “ransomed” people from every nation tribe and tongue (Revelation 5:9-10).

Third, live what you are trying to lead. This is Leadership 101 and applies to everything, especially matters of race. Again, we see this in Paul. Notice the people he hangs out with. In Romans 16, Paul gives a shout out to his friend Rufus…Rufus! That ain’t a Jew! Paul did life with people who were ethnically different than him. If the leader isn’t experiencing ethnically diverse relationships how can he with any sense of authenticity tell people to do what he’s not doing?

via Out of Ur: Friday Five Interview: Bryan Loritts.

Activist Faith Releases Next Week

It’s hard to believe, but that moment the every author dreams of is here. My fifth book, Activist Faith, is releasing next week with Navpress. This is unique of all my books for several reasons, not the least is that its my first collaboration. I cowrote Activist Faith with my two friends, Dan King and Dillon Burroughs. Dan is a gifted writer, blogger, activist. Dillon is a multi-published author, speaker, and professor. The idea behind this book is simple: let’s take twelve hot-button issues in the culture and a) explore why Christians should engage them and b) offer ways that individuals and churches and help solve these issues, locally and outside of politics. We’re not advocating a retreat from the public square by any stretch, but we’re simply reminding Christians that there are great ways to solve problems that don’t involve campaigns and picket signs and Facebook posts.

If you’d like to find out how you can roll up your sleeves and live out the gospel in your community, you’ll want to preorder the book today.

I also invite you to check out the Activist Faith website, but first here is some more info about the book:

“Evangelicals are rethinking their involvement in politics, so this is a hot topic. It’s a discussion worth having, and Activist Faith is at the cutting edge of the conversation.”
– Matt K. Lewis, senior contributor, The Daily Caller

“The challenges facing our country and world are many. Daniel Darling, Dillon Burroughs, and Dan King provide thoughtful, biblically guided analysis of several of the most pressing issues of our day, challenging the church to let Scripture be our primary guide as we advocate for those who are vulnerable. Read this book, but don’t stop there: Let it move you into prayerful action.”
– Matthew Soerens, U.S. church training specialist, World Relief; author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, and Truth in the Immigration Debate

“Authors Dillon Burroughs, Daniel Darling, and Dan King do a great job of luring much of the American Christian church to a conversation already taking place among far too few Christians. It is a discussion about ‘elephant in the room’ issues that usually reside with us for far too long without resolution. Read this book and take responsibility for these same such issues and for their solutions as you encounter them in your town, church, and home.”
– Charles J. Powell, founder of Mercy Movement,

“Twenty-first–century Christ followers stand committed to reconciling the vertical and horizontal planes of the Cross: sanctification with service, holiness with humility, conviction with compassion, and righteousness with justice. In Activist Faith, the authors exhort us to find a cause greater than ourselves, one that marries the promise of salvation with prophetic activism. For a generation seeking to live out our faith, this book is a must-read.”
– Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

“This generation has more tools than ever before to help them live generously. Activist Faith explores the fundamental connection between the desire to engage in the world and the realities of what it will cost. More than anything else, it empowers you to do good work for the sake of the gospel.”
– Mike Rusch, COO,

“As Christians, we are called to make a positive impact on our world—to make it a better place. Activist Faithis one of those amazing resources that educate people on the issues and equip them to make a difference. A must-read!”
– Jen Hatmaker, author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

“The authors of Activist Faith challenge all who take their apprenticeship with Jesus seriously to closely connect what they profess on Sundays with how they live the life of true discipleship on Mondays. Combining an engaging blend of biblical principles, captivating stories, and practical ideas, the authors give a compelling picture of how the gospel speaks to some of the most challenging issues of our time. Taking this helpful book to heart will encourage you to be a more faithful presence in God’s good but broken world.”
— Tom Nelson, author of Work Matters

Activist Faith is a compelling book that deals with some complex global issues. It is filled with stories of hope and struggle, helping the authors wrestle with what it means to have a faith that cares deeply for those who suffer. This hope-filled collaborative work will help us all learn what it means to love our neighbor.”
– Chris Marlow, founder and CEO, Help One Now

“There has been a huge need for a book to give the theological background for why Christians should engage in social justice. Activist Faith fits that need perfectly. It provides solid biblical reasons  we should care about the poor, immigrants, and modern-day slaves as well as practical steps for how to take action.”
– Sean McDowell, educator; speaker; author of Apologetics for a New Generation

Activist Faith meets the need of our time, offering examples of Christians responding to the social concerns of our world in ways that make a genuine and significant difference. In a culture where criticism of Christianity is often the norm, these pages provide a fresh perspective of what God’s people are doing to help those in their community and around the world.”
– Brian and Heather Pugh, actors; founders, Team Hollywood

Between Eden and Heaven

When I get to do leisure reading–reading that isn’t for ministry or school–I usually choose biographies. While I love to read about a wide variety of people, my favorite are American Presidents. I just got back from vacation where I consumed the very interesting book, Ike and Dick, a recent work focusing on the relationship between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

I know. It’s an obsession without a cure. I’m a nerd this way. But indulge me for a moment and let me tell you what energizes me about reading presidential biographies. Reading history reinforces to me the grand narrative of the story the Bible tells. Here are three reasons:

First,I’m reminded that nothing is accidental and that God is gathering all of history to Himself. Even if all you study is American history, you realize how fragile it is. A few different choices, a few votes here or there and history would be completely different. I’m reminded of the turbulent sixties. Had JFK listened to the Secret Service and not rode through Dallas with the top down on the car, he’d likely have finished out his term. It’s likely he wouldn’t have escalated the Vietnam War as LBJ had–mainly because he didn’t suffer from the same insecurities as LBJ. Which means LBJ would not have been president during this tragic war. Or take for instance, the simple decision Robert Kennedy made to leave a Los Angeles hotel through the kitchen instead of the typical exits, where security was better. He likely would not have been the victim of an assassin’s bullet, which means he would have likely won the Democratic nomination for President instead of George McGovern. Had RFK been the nominee, he would probably vanquished Richard Nixon, whose unlikely political resurrection was due, in part to McGovern’s anti-war candidacy and the fissures in the Democratic Party.

This is just one time period. But American history is full of so many close calls. Actually all of history is like this. It turns on a dime. But it turns, according to Scripture, on the axis of God’s sovereign will. So reading history, to me, enables me to read today’s headlines with less fear and trembling, knowing that Christ is Lord over even today’s bad news.

Secondly, I realize that there is nothing new under the sun. I often get agitated at the unproductive partisanship displayed at all levels of leadership. There is a tendency to think that this is a new thing: men and women leveraging whatever they can to gain more power. But power plays, corruption, money grabs, and character assasinations are as old as sin itself. In fact, sometimes I wonder if the acrimony of earlier times in American history was worse than we find today. The way candidates sniped at each other, the way biased media dug up personal stories and had no fear in libeling those of other ideological persuasions. No, sin, sniping, strife predates even the American experiment. It stretches back to the first conflict in the very first family, where jealousy and self-righteousness led Cain to spill his brother, Abel’s blood. The motivations in the hearts of men have not changed in the millenia since the Fall. And so this reminds me that no movement or election or man-made effort can do what the gospel of Jesus Christ does in every generation: regenerate dead and black hearts. We an all try to be nicer to each other, but ultimately we’ll fail unless we are transformed from the inside out. This is why I love the gospel story. Without it, there is no hope in the world (Ephesians 2:12. And we are, of all men, the most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Third, I don’t have to long for the good old days nor put hope in a false future. If you look behind every social movement, there are one of two motivations. Either we are trying to reform–bring things back to a perceived golden era. Or we are trying to progress: shape a more hopeful future. This longing, I believe, is God-given. It’s rooted in the Biblical narrative. Though our nostalgia may, on the surface, point to the 1950’s or some other seemingly golden era, it’s really veiled longing for our original home: Eden. This idea we have that things were once good–told so often in our best tales–hails back to the Garden where man and woman walked with God in innocence, where evil was absent and life was as it was intended to be. This instinct we have that something messed it up is answered by Genesis’ account of a snake, an enemy, and a poison. Sin destroyed what man once possessed and now we are left longing for the place where we are no longer welcome.

And yet we have a yearning for things to get better, to improve. This desire for utopia, often warped by the evil imaginations of cruel dictators, is what fuels our political activism, is it not? We vote because we don’t like the status quo. We look for another political savior, put our trust in him or her, and then express our disappointment four years later when they turn out to be human. This is not new. Israel thought a king would solve their problems. And they soon realized that a king could often be the source of their problems.

This instinct, to yearn for something better, is also answered by the biblical narrative. What we’re longing for, a utopia where things are as they should be, is Heaven. Only we can’t create utopia. We can and should try to make life better, to alleviate human suffering, to create environments for human flourishing. But every generation fails at perfection. Every generation falls short of the glory of God. Followers of Jesus live with the real hope that Christ has defeated the sin that destroyed our Eden and has vanquished death. He’s coming back one day to reign as King and restore what sin destroyed.

So, Jesus’ followers should avoid the pitfalls of both overealized nostalgia and overrealized eschatology Returning to a mythical golden era (that never existed) denies the unique calling to live on mission in the time and place where God has uniquely called us. And the messianic impulse that says “we are the ones we have been waiting for” not only supplants Jesus as the ultimate agent of change, it sets us up for the frustration every generation of world-changers experiences: unrealized expectations.

We’re between Eden and Heaven. We don’t have to mourn the sin that kicked us from the Garden because the Savior vanquished it on the cross and in His resurrection. So our mission is to declare the good news of the gospel, roll up our sleeves and serve our communities, and keep our eyes on the city coming, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). We love our neighbor, not because we, or our movement, is his solution. Not to earn merit points with an angry deity. We do what we do, out of love, reflecting in some small and fallen way, the love of the perfect One, who is both Savior and Lord.

Only this gospel answers both our longing for what we have lost and the hope for a better future.

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