There is more than one way to “hear” the gospel. It was this belief that led Grace, which is Tenth’s ministry to the disabled, to propose a new ministry to the deaf. Some months ago Grace approached our Session “to determine how we may best reach out to the deaf community with the good news of Jesus Christ.”
The need is great: there are more than 100,000 hearing-impaired persons in the Philadelphia region. With only three deaf churches in the city, it is not hard to understand why the deaf are sometimes considered an unreached people group. Grace suggested that one way to reach them would be to interpret our evening worship services in American Sign Language. But Grace also recognized that in order to welcome the deaf we would need to learn how to speak to them.
Window on the World is our weekly opportunity to look at our world from the biblical point of view, and one of the most amazing things about the world today is how many people there are in it. During the last century the world’s population has tripled. According to the best estimates, some time in October we passed the six billion mark.
It is rare to find people who think that this is very good news. One headline lamented, “Century’s growth leaves Earth crowded—and noisy.” Many people—perhaps most—view the world’s burgeoning population with alarm. Ted Turner says that “what we have on this earth today is a plague of people.” Others speak of “overpopulation.” They worry that our body count is about to exceed our food supply. This is the old argument of Thomas Malthus, who argued that “the power of population is . . . greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.”
What is happening with our kids? That is a question people have been asking for some time. Years ago that might have been asked about rock-n-roll music, and then the subject was teen sexuality. Now the question comes up with regard to the alarming stories of teenage violence and even murder.
Every February, sometime around Valentine’s Day, I like to open a window on the world of love and romance. What caught my attention this year was a new trend in the publication of Harlequin romance novels. I’ve never actually read a book from Harlequin—or any other romance novel, for that matter—but I have seen the covers at the newsstand. You’ve probably seen them, too: Harlequin sells 150 million books a year.
The Window on the World is our weekly attempt to think about the world from the Christian point of view. My inspiration this week is a new museum in Philadelphia that devotes a surprising amount of attention to Christianity. It is called the National Liberty Museum, and it is located on Chestnut Street, not far from Independence Mall.
On the 25th of January, an unusual headline appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times: “Struck by ‘Golden Miracles’.” The subhead explained that “Pastors of a congregation say Holy Spirit has turned silver fillings to gold. Claim stirs excitement in revival movement, but skeptic calls it trick to build membership.” The story, which originated in Orangevale, California, began as follows: “In the heart of the Sacramento Valley, where 49ers flocked to mine a mother lode of riches 150 years ago, Christian believers are proclaiming a new and godly gold rush: The Holy Spirit, they claim, is miraculously transforming porcelain crowns and silver fillings into gold.”
Window on the World is our weekly adventure in looking at the world from the biblical point of view. Ordinarily, I address an issue of public interest, but every now and then—like tonight—I offer a more personal reflection on the events of my own life. I do not do this because I think that my own life is particularly interesting, or important, but rather to remind you to approach your own life in a thoughtful Christian way.
From time to time, Tenth Church is asked to approve an alcohol license for a nearby restaurant. Apparently, there is a civic ordinance that requires businesses within so many feet of a church to obtain consent before they are granted a license to sell drinks. And depending on the nature of the establishment, we are usually happy to comply.
The Pennsylvania primaries are only a week or two away. The presidential nominations have already been decided, of course, but many other elections are up for grabs, and Christians who understand their responsibilities as citizens are getting ready to vote. Participating in the electoral process is one of the many ways we not only “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's,” but also offer “unto God the things that are God's” (Matt. 22:21).
Human beings—especially men—have always struggled with lust, in the sexual sense of the word. Job was the holiest of the ancients, yet even he had to make “a covenant with [his] eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). The apostle John warned against “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes” (1 John 2:16). In the third century, the theologian Origen was so distressed by his sexual sin that he crushed his testicles between two bricks. Or consider America’s greatest theologian—Jonathan Edwards—who lamented the prevalence of gross sexual immorality in (of all places) Puritan New England. Like any other sin, the lust of the eyes has always been with us.