“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
On July 26, 1833, the British Parliament voted to abolish the slave trade. The great victory came more than 45 years after William Wilberforce first met the great Hannah More.
A few days later, Wilberforce died. A few weeks after that, More joined her friend in glory—a poetic end to the lives of the great poet and parliamentarian.
A few years after More’s death, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a now-famous essay titled A Defence of...
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
After William Wilberforce’s conversion to Christianity in 1786, he defined the “Great Object” of his work in Parliament as nothing less than the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire.
To his credit, Wilberforce sensed that this change could not immediately be legislated. First, the hearts and minds of his countrymen would need to be...
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
As we saw last week, the most proven strategy for cultivating large scale cultural change is not electing the “right people” and trusting them to force legislative change from the top-down. Mass change happens when hearts and minds are transformed. And hearts and minds are transformed not by laws but by acts of culture. As Andy Crouch says in his exceptional book, Culture Making, “The only way to...
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
It seems like every day a new skirmish breaks out in our never-ending “culture wars.” Whether the fight is over COVID, race relations, abortion, or gender equality, we are more divided than ever in the battle over right and wrong.
Every four years, the American political machinery pitches the same strategy for winning these culture wars: Elect the right person and they will introduce new laws or appoint the right judges to legislate our desired brand of change.
But is this really how large-scale cultural change happens?
The evidence suggests that it is not. Just as Adam and Eve were called to “fill the...