If you and someone with whom you disagree politically are willing to discuss your disputes over a cup of coffee, you’re in luck.
The owners of Pax & Beneficia Coffee in Irving, Texas, are concerned that in our politically divisive days, “we are quick to demonize and dehumanize the other side.” So they have a solution: anyone who buys a cup of coffee with someone of an opposing view will get a free cup.
One of the owners notes, “Regardless of the outcome of the election and which side of the aisle you’re on, the nation still needs to heal, now more than ever.”
A cell network on the moon
You and I live in amazing times.
I learned recently that the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world for forty years; now it doesn’t make the top forty. Starman, the dummy riding a cherry-red Tesla Roadster through space, has just zipped past Mars.
A NASA spacecraft touched the surface of an asteroid some two hundred million miles from Earth. Scientists engineered the spacecraft to bring samples with it when it returns to our planet in 2023.
And the space agency has chosen Nokia to build the first-ever cellular network on the moon. Putting 4G connectivity there could support lunar communications at greater distances and is part of NASA’s plan to establish a long-term human presence on the moon by 2030.
The six stages of world empires
Despite the remarkable scientific advances of our day, human nature has not changed. Novelist Franz Kafka testified, “I am free, and that is why I am lost.” Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer observed, “You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want.”
All our technological progress has not and cannot change the fact that you and I are fallen people living in a fallen world.
Cal Thomas’ new book, America’s Expiration Date, is subtitled The Fall of Empires and Superpowers . . . and the Future of the United States. Thomas builds his narrative on an argument advanced by Sir John Glubb (1897–1986), an English officer who served in the newly independent countries of Iraq and Jordan. As Thomas reports, Glubb “found patterns, or stages, in the rise and fall of great nations. He called them the age of pioneers, the age of conquests, the age of commerce, the age of affluence, the age of intellect, and finally the age of decadence.”
Thomas explains: “In general, each great nation or empire begins with some type of pioneer activity, gains territory through battle, and then settles into remarkable commercial activity, which in turn brings great wealth, and with it increased literacy and learning. All begin their final slide when a sense of shared morality and common virtue is abandoned.”
Has America’s “final slide” begun?
In light of this pattern, Thomas warns: “If America doesn’t learn from history—our own and the world’s—we are likely to suffer the fate of other great nations, rotting from within before either being conquered from without by an invading army or collapsing under the weight of self-indulgence, decadence, debt, a sense of entitlement, greed, and envy.”
If we think this cannot be our future, our complacency makes it more likely.
Three ways to share transforming peace
Yesterday, we focused on our need for transformational peace with God and with each other. Today, let’s identify some practical ways to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15) as we “strive for peace with everyone” (Hebrews 12:14).
First, offer others the peace of salvation in Christ. God’s word states, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Frederick Buechner describes salvation as “an experience first and a doctrine second.” Then he asks, “How about the person you know who as far as you can possibly tell has never had such a moment—one of those soreheads and slobs of the world, the ones the world has hopelessly crippled? Maybe for that person, the moment that has to happen is you.”
Second, meet practical needs with practical help. God’s word is clear: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is one of the oldest and largest African American churches in America. Its senior pastor announced recently that the church has donated more than $1 million in surplus tithes to help a variety of community-based organizations since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
What has your church done to help people during the pandemic? What can you do?
Third, offer peace and grace to all, whether they respond in kind or not. We can never know when the next Saul of Tarsus will become the next Paul the Apostle (Acts 9).
Colson Center President John Stonestreet recounts the time Chuck Colson witnessed the baptism of Bernard Nathanson in the chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Colson describes Nathanson as “one of the abortion industry’s greatest leaders, a man who personally presided over some seventy-five thousand abortions, including the abortion of his own child.” Now this man stood at the altar “joyfully accepting forgiveness in Christ.”
Colson noted: “This is the way the abortion war will ultimately be won: through Jesus Christ changing hearts, one by one. No amount of political force, no government, no laws, no army of Planned Parenthood workers, can ever stop that. It is the one thing absolutely invincible.”
With whom will you share his peace today?
The Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day from a biblical perspective. Jim Denison speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He is a trusted author and subject matter expert in areas where faith and current events intersect.