Monday, May 19, 2008

Thoughts on life of William Wilberforce

More believers need to know about the life of William Wilberforce! I've had the privilege of getting to know him better this past week in preparation for teaching my students about him.

In case you don't know, Wilberforce was an openly passionate believer in Jesus who dedicated his life to the ending the slave trade. Of the European powers involved in the slave trade, England was the first to abolish it, largely due to Wilberforce. His mentor, John Newton, is the writer of the great Hymn, Amazing Grace. The abolition of slavery in Britain led to its demise in America as well.

Here is a quote from Wilberforce:
"God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners [moral values]"

This quote strikes me deeply. I love it because it strikes a balance that the modern Church is struggling to find in our current political climate. I think the Church can learn something from the life of Wilberforce. His quote above does not fall neatly into a liberal/conservative or democrat/republican box.

On the one hand, Wilberforce fought great social injustices (not just slavery) and understood the role that government needed to play in ensuring that the strong (rich) don't oppress the weak (poor). If it were left to the marketplace of the day in Great Britain, practices such as slavery may never have ended.

On the other hand, Wilberforce is also fighting the moral relativism of his day. Everything, though it may feel good, is NOT ok. There are moral traits that should be expected (key word- not required) of citizens for the longevity and health of a society. There ARE certain values and morals that are superior to others (as in families with a mom and dad raising their children).

As modern day Christians, it's as if we HAVE to choose between these two ideas. On the one hand, I hate the pornification of our society that is championed by the left/Democrats. On the other hand, I hate the notion championed by the right/Republicans that the "marketplace", not (big) government, should settle the issues of our day.

Lord in heaven, give your Church clarity like that of Wilberforce!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The oldest birthday boy at Chuck E Cheese's

Yes, today is my birthday. I was wracking my brain over where we should eat. "Where can we eat that will be most relaxing?" And then the light went off.... Chuck E Cheese's... No, seriously, think about it. Pizza. Video Games. Lily distracted by video screens while Kerry and I eat. Jade mesmerized by lights while we talk about life (and a new job opportunity). This time, I wouldn't be alone. (I take the girls there sometimes on evenings when Kerry is working...and usually leave sweaty and exhausted.) Maybe, just maybe, I could go off ON MY OWN for a few minutes to play those violent shoot 'em up games that I can never play with Lily! Maybe I could drive the race car without a 3 year old between my legs! The idea sounded better and better the more I thought about it.... 2 happy children=2 relaxed parents.

Go ahead, laugh all you want, but it was a great place to have my birthday party. I might have been the oldest birthday boy in Chuck E Cheese history but we may just break that record next year...