Thursday, September 08, 2011

How Have We Changed Since 9/11?

In the current issue of Christianity Today, several evangelical leaders contribute to a piece entitled "How I Have Changed Since 9/11." Some of the contributions are rather unspectacular, and some recognize the awkward challenge of answering a question like this. For instance, Douglas Wilson writes, "Of course, a stupefying event like 9/11 should never be reduced to a matter of personal growth or understanding. At the same time, to be unchanged by such an event, or not to notice such changes, is to be ranked in the top tier of those who are not really paying attention." But the highlights of the reflections are found in the statements by Anne Graham Lotz and William Willimon. The entire article can be found here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/september/howleaderschanged.html?start=1

Here is what Lotz had to say:


"September 11 was an alarm that penetrated my daily responsibilities and my busy ministry schedule, warning me … of what? Ten years ago, I could not have answered that question. All I knew with certainty was that God was trying to get the attention of his people, including me. Like the prophet Isaiah in the year that King Uzziah died, I looked up with the eyes of faith.
What I saw was not just a fresh vision of Jesus Christ. Like Isaiah, I also saw a humiliating vision of my own sin. I spent days on my face before God, confessing my sin and receiving his cleansing. The result was an authentic experience of personal revival. The immediate impact was a renewed vibrancy in my relationship with God, an increased fervency in prayer, clearer insight into God's Word, and a sharpened focus in ministry.
But the alarm did not fade away. Instead, I have heard it reverberating throughout the past 10 years: from Hurricane Katrina to the record-breaking floods, forest fires, tornadoes, droughts, and snow storms; to the collapse of our major financial institutions; to the economic recession; to the inability to win the war in Afghanistan. The alarm keeps resounding because so many people have not heeded, or even heard, the warning. 
And what is the warning? Simply this: It is five minutes to midnight on the clock of human history. Judgment is at the door. Jesus is coming! It's time to wake up and get right with God! Are you listening?"



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Willimon's comments are below: 



"On 9/11 I thought, For the most powerful, militarized nation in the world also to think of itself as an innocent victim is deadly. It was a rare prophetic moment for me, considering Presidents Bush and Obama have spent billions asking the military to rectify the crime of a small band of lawless individuals, destroying a couple of nations who had little to do with it, in the costliest, longest series of wars in the history of the United States.
The silence of most Christians and the giddy enthusiasm of a few, as well as the ubiquity of flags and patriotic extravaganzas in allegedly evangelical churches, says to me that American Christians may look back upon our response to 9/11 as our greatest Christological defeat. It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid. All of us preachers share the shame; when our people felt very vulnerable, they reached for the flag, not the Cross.
September 11 has changed me. I'm going to preach as never before about Christ crucified as the answer to the question of what's wrong with the world. I have also resolved to relentlessly reiterate from the pulpit that the worst day in history was not a Tuesday in New York, but a Friday in Jerusalem when a consortium of clergy and politicians colluded to run the world on our own terms by crucifying God's own Son."


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