Wednesday, November 09, 2011
In Times Like These -- Gibson
“Nana, am I five now?” my third grandbean, aged a mighty three, asked the other day. “Cuz when I get to five, I can SPEED!”
Slow down, child. Just a minute ago, I was five too. Back then (a half-century ago, in 1961) the average hourly wage was $1.15, and the average annual full-time salary, about six and a half thousand dollars. But $18,800 would buy a new house, and $2,275 a brand new car. Gas cost 31 cents a gallon, and you could mail a local first class letter for 4 cents.
A half-century ago, the world contained just 4 billion people. Canada’s population sat at 18,238,247. In the U.S., John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President, and the same year marked the birth of future president Barak Obama—just in time to have his bottom pampered by the first disposable diapers in the world.
To the south, President Fidel Castro declared Cuba a Communist State. In Germany, Berlin constructed a wall.
But in 1961, entire Western families still sat together on tweed couches, watching Billy Graham’s Hour of Decision (or Dick Van Dyke) on 12” black and white televisions (perhaps munching toast that came from a 21 cent loaf, drinking milk poured from a $1.05 gallon jug.)
Those same families likely shared a church pew on Sundays, and bowed their heads to pray before they ate.
Times have changed some. Do I want my grandbean to speed, to five or fifty-five? On the contrary. I shudder to think what the next half-century holds for the simple faith already growing inside her.
Here’s why: A great and spreading ache has overtaken us. The Biblical message that God loves the world, and sent his Son as the answer for our deepest needs is under attack as never before.
In many countries worldwide, determined efforts to undermine the Christian faith—even eliminate it—have escalated. Inside many Western Christian churches, doctrine is dancing to the piper of social acceptability.
In other parts of the world, speaking up for those things that are trademark to Christianity: respect for life, right living, love for one’s neighbour, kindness to the weakest members of society, forgiveness of one’s enemies, intolerance for injustice and inequality, and defence of the Word of God, is tantamount to a death sentence.
There’s more: according to the organization, Voice of the Martyrs, in the countries of North Korea, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and over sixty other countries, one Christian is martyred every five minutes. It is routine in those countries for Christians to suffer torture, harassment, rape, imprisonment, slavery, kidnapping and death.
That organization has designated this Sunday, November 13, as this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. They would like to remind Christians in the West to pray. If one suffers, we all suffer, they say.
Pray this Sunday, for Christ's Body West and Christ's Body East. And for the sake of my grandbeans, and yours, and all the children of God--don't stop.
Find more information at www.dayofprayer.org
author, columnist, broadcaster
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