The Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II journey with Gov. Mike Huckabee thrust participants into the stratosphere of truly infuential people, a historical cadre of individuals who changed things. Each day tutored us in leadership, moral strength, personal character, vision, and resistance to cultural floods. The places and people we studied were strategically relevant, each a memorial to hazardous times and the leaders who helped navigate and survive them.
There were subtleties too, many of them. One that startled me, mostly in retrospect, involved our wonerful accommodations. Out front let me express heartfelt gratitude to the people who provided this trip. Every detail was thoroughly prepared. Our accommodations were beyond oustanding, a vivid testimony to the generosity of Godly people who have achieved a measure of success. Every element of the tour was a witness to excellence---travel, hotels, meals, touring details, transportation, speakers, and personal care.
Yet, we studied people whose lives defied accommodation. No, they were not paupers living in frontier simplicity or deprived people on the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. By all standards they were privileged citizens, wealthy inhabitants of the upper crusts of their day. But, they were indivuals to the core, three somewhat eccentric people who lived in their own private world too. The central characters of this journey---Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II--- were people who refused accommodation as a identifying motif of ther life and public service. So, was Churchiill, the large person whose shadow fell over almost every segment of the trip. They were all motivated by clearly dileneated scales of right and wrong. They refused to accommodate the shades of gray that were creeping into the collective international psyche even then. They would not accommodate communism or any of it's step-children or valueless standards over their own constituency. As a result, the iron-curtain and that wall were torn down because they were not accommodators.
The temptation to accommodate may be the greatest threat to church influence today. As culture has redefined life, and is now seeking to construct a pagan, morally deviant standard of marriage, many church leaders are serving as ushers in the new wold premier. For the sake of cultural accommodation some of us are apologizing for trhe scandalon of the Gospel. The issues of Christian influence are a no brainer when the central tenets of Christian doctrine have been traded for being the Most Popular in the class. Interestingly, actor Matthew Mcconaughey affirmed the biblical standard of one man/one woman married for life this week while church leaders hemmed and hawed in confusing statements about human sexuality.
Accommodaton may be one of the reasons 1,700 pastors leave ministry every month. Ministry is hard. That is the heartbeat of this site. It is even harder, however, when the standards shift everyday according to changing cultural moods. What dear pastor can serve passionately when he's expected to preach a toothless gospel or provide reasonable biblical apology to a sliding statement of faith? Paul said it clearly, "...but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles...." (I Corinthians 1:23). It places us at odds with an evil world system.
Accommodations are things, not people. We can enjoy them without becoming them.