“The Christian Spring” or “Brink of Extinction”

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has warned that the Church of England is just “one generation away from extinction.” At a meeting of church leaders convened to discuss the growing crisis, various internal and external causes were identified:

Internally there has been “a failure to bring youngsters into church services” and clergy have spent too long “arguing over words and phrases, while the people of England are left floundering amid meaninglessness, anxiety and despair.” External factors include increasingly anti-Christian government and courts, and a growing wariness and antipathy towards faith in the wider population.

The Christian Spring
Down the road, in the Roman Catholic church, ex-Catholic Herald Editor, Christine Odone begs to disagree and argues that the church is on the bring of “The Christian Spring!”

Odone accepts that “plenty of things have been going wrong. First and foremost, our enemies are organized as never before. Secularists have made a concerted effort to erase Christianity from public life here and across the West. They have silenced prayers before meetings, the ringing of church bells, and even the girl scouts who once pledged to serve God.” She continues:

As I have written in my ebook, No God Zone, the secularists have successfully enshrined their bias against religion in laws across Europe. The Observatory on Intolerance against Christians in Europe has reported that EU member states have enacted 41 laws that discriminate against Christians. The effect of such legislation is huge: some professions, such as doctors, therapists and even pharmacists, are now closed to Christians, who would otherwise have to go against their conscience on issues such as abortion, euthanasia or the morning after pill.

Secularists, as I have written before, seem to want only one thing: for Christians to be driven back into the catacombs. Prayers, and services, will soon have to be practiced away from prejudiced eyes, in the privacy of a home or a private chapel.

Despite all this, however, she believes she can see three shoots of a Christian Spring: Pope Francis, Justin Welby (present Archbishop of Canterbury), and the backlash effect (the idea that people will get sick of their immorality and will want to be good again!).

Prepare for Winter
If that’s the best she’s got, I’m with Carey in preparing for Winter.

We might sum up her hope in one word: MAN (or HUMANITY to be gender inclusive), and pretty mixed-up humanity at that.

The spiritual climate is really bleak in the UK, and the US is only 5-10 years behind. If Christians are to have any hope for the future, it has to be grounded exclusively in God. If there’s any verse that our generation needs to hear it’s “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of” (Isaiah 2:22 KJV).

What does that look like though? It looks like giving up on our strategies, our ideas, our marketing, our meetings, our reports, our celebrities, our talents, and our brains.

It also looks like prayer, prayer, and more prayer – private and public, personal and corporate.

Man alone has caused the problem. God alone is the solution.

Until we believe and act on that, the night will continue to grow longer, darker, and colder.

But if we do get it, if we really do start calling upon the name of the Lord in prayer, and looking to Him alone for revival and blessing, I firmly believe the ice will melt, crocuses will bloom, cuckoos will sing, and the sun will shine again.

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Why You Should Celebrate Your Undone To-Do List

If you’re anything like me, you keep imagining the seemingly unattainable Nirvana of a totally completed To-Do list. Every item ticked, crossed off, deleted, and crushed under my feet.

For most of us though, the everyday reality is an ever-growing To-Do list – not just running to stand still, but running to sink further into the sand – and all the frustration, disappointment, and self-flagellation that accompanies it.

Well, I think I may have just found a way to turn this daily self-torture into a cause for praise and rejoicing.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer makes a To-Do list every day, prioritizing what’s most important each day. And instead of getting overwhelmed by the long list of items left unfinished at the end of each day, she celebrates the fact that she never finished her list.

“That would mean spending lots of time on relatively unimportant tasks,” Mayer explained. ”If I did [get to the bottom of the list] it would be a real bummer,” Mayer said. “Because think about all those things at the very bottom of your to-do list that really shouldn’t take time out of your day.”


Now, just have to explain this new approach to the “Honey-Do list” to my wife.

See also: The Amazing History Of To-Do lists And How To Make One That Actually Works 

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ChristCare v Obamacare

It’s easy to criticize Obamacare, both in its principles and practices – in fact, it’s doing a good job of criticizing itself these days. But what about the far more difficult work of constructing an alternative? There’s no question that at least some of the motivation behind Obamacare was good – the desire to reduce costs, widen access, and help those with pre-existing conditions. So how would a Christian healthcare alternative (ChristCare?) grapple with these problems? Let me propose twelve biblically based principles.

1. Charity: As part of our Christian duty to love our neighbor as ourselves, ChristCare would provide some level of healthcare for those who are uninsured or uninsurable. Although none would be denied basic healthcare, a just distinction in services offered would be made between those who are sick and poor through no fault of their own and those whose personal choices have made them ill.

2. Responsibility: ChristCare would call people to take personal responsibility for leading a healthy lifestyle. It would prioritize health education, disease-prevention, and financially incentivized accountability.

3. Reality: We cannot all get access to every medical treatment. Just because a drug is available does not mean its affordable. Just because something can be done does not mean it should be done. We need to recognize that we are mortal, that we are not going to live forever, and we must also learn to live with some measure of pain and discomfort at times. Otherwise, we could easily spend every last cent on medical treatment. ChristCare would propose realistic basic levels of care for different ages and illnesses.

4. Liberty: Although basic levels of care would be available for all, ChristCare would allow people the freedom to choose the level of health care and cost that suit their situation and circumstances.

5. Morality: ChristCare would not fund birth control or abortion. It would also reduce expenditure on diseases that have been brought on by sexual immorality, drug abuse, and other sinful choices.

6. Efficiency: ChristCare would be vigilant in driving down waste, inefficiency, and corruption in the provision of medical services and the associated administration.

7. Locality: As the “cultural mandate,” Babel, and the Great Commission demonstrate, God opposes centralization. Probably due to the increased dangers of corruption, God encourages the spread and sharing of power. Churches, schools, and other local organizations would be encouraged to be involved in health education and even the provision of some basic services.

8. Fallibility: While holding doctors and nurses accountable for serious malpractice, ChristCare would accept that a level of mistakes and errors are always inevitable in a fallen world and would implement policies that would minimize lawsuits and reduce excessive compensation payments.

9. Simplicity: Obamacare’s major accomplishment to date has been to make an already complicated healthcare system even more so. My wife is a doctor and even she is frequently baffled by the complexity of the American healthcare system. For even the simplest of procedures there seems to be a blizzard of paperwork and bills. ChristCare would aim for a streamlined simplicity.

10. Honesty: Hospitals seem incapable of estimating even to the nearest thousand dollars the cost of routine operations and even of basic tests like colonoscopies. Ask for a quotation and you’re told you have to phone about a dozen hospital departments to figure out everyone’s slice of the pie. This lack of transparency means that patients cannot compare prices in a way that would create a competitive market. ChristCare would be open, honest, and transparent about costs in order to drive prices down.

11. Equity: Without going down the Obamacare route of national price controls, there needs to be some way that patients can get redress when overcharged for medical services. Recently my wife had to take our baby to the local children’s hospital. She was there for about 20 minutes, questioned by a nurse for about 5 minutes, and the baby examined by a doctor for about 2 minutes before being given the all clear. Cost? $750! Thank you. Don’t mention it. ChristCare would establish independent mediators to advocate for patients and establish fair pricing.

12. Spirituality: ChristCare would take the spiritual dimension seriously and provide holistic care for the body, the mind, and the soul.

These are only principles of course; the practical details would take a huge amount of time and thought to work out. (See Dr Carl Ellis Jr.’s Alternative HealthCare System  for a much more detailed proposal). However, by measuring every proposal and practice against these principles, I believe we would get much closer to a universal and affordable healthcare system.