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February 20, 2009

BreakPoint Worldview Magazine: Against the Flow

Ocean_river Growing up near the ocean, I learned early on about currents, the kind that can pull a child under and leave her choking on a mouthful of salt water. A childhood friend of mine misunderstood her parents once when they warned her about the undertow. She heard “under toad.” And the explanation of something which can pull you under and drag you off course fit her mental picture of a large underwater toad grabbing at her ankles. It frightened her from enjoying the ocean for years to come. Later on, when she realized her mistake, we used to laugh about the evil “under toad.” And though her mental picture changed, she never underestimated its strength.

When I got to college, one of my mentors used to often talk about Christian discipleship in terms of currents in a river. He would say that you learn quickly that staying still is actually moving backward. The only way to move against the flow is to paddle hard.

This month’s issue of BreakPoint Worldview Magazine reminds me just how much we need to paddle hard to live in alignment with God’s ways. Thankfully, we don’t paddle in our own strength. The Holy Spirit empowers us in this difficult counter-cultural journey. But paddle we must.

In 90 Years of Wedlock, Anne Morse shares lessons learned by three different couples as they each pass the thirty-year marriage mile-marker. With so many marriages today—even marriages in the Church—getting shipwrecked, it’s encouraging to hear Anne's insights on how to stay the course.

PFM President Mark Earley revisits the Jim and Elisabeth Elliot story in his Viewpoint column, examining it in a new light: how one family responded to a very brutal crime. Elisabeth Elliot’s decision to return to the tribe that killed her husband and share Christ with them is a radical example of going against the natural gravity of revenge.

Adding in a bit of a diversion, Zoe Sandvig offers a delightful apologetic for laughter in Getting Serious About Humor. She warns us, though, of how sin tends to drag humor toward cynicism, coarseness, and thinly veiled degradation. Redeeming humor means using it to laugh at our own foibles, and seeing ourselves rightly as the flawed people we truly are.

Finally, I’m thrilled to share with readers an excerpt of my own just-released book, As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda. This chapter details the heroic choice of high school students in Nyange, Rwanda to stand together when, three years after the genocide, Hutu rebels demanded at gunpoint that they separate by ethnicity. Their counter-cultural choice to find a higher identity as Rwandans cost many of them their lives. And the choice of some of the Christian survivors to forgive the perpetrators and to spread the message of reconciliation is another radical example of fighting the strong currents of hate and prejudice.

If you haven't yet signed up to receive your free, no-strings attached subscription to BreakPoint Worldview Magazine, I hope you will sign up. And I hope the articles in this issue will likewise inspire you in your own discipleship to continue paddling against the currents of this world. As we put our backs into the task, we take encouragement from the fact that our struggle is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

(Image © NWFSC)

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