Whenever there are tough times either for the nation or for us as individuals, it’s inevitable that people ask where God is in the midst of the challenges, pain and setbacks.
HillFaith is focused on the 20,000 or so mostly young men and women who work on Capitol Hill for senators, representatives and congressional agencies, but I actually live in Maryland and attend Friendship Baptist Church with my wife, Claudia, in Sykesville.
Like thousands of other churches in America, our Sunday morning services, Grow Groups (what used to be known as “Sunday School”) and Connection Groups (small groups for fellowship, service and study) have gone online until the Pandemic is sufficiently past that groups will again be allowed to meet.
This morning’s service by Senior Pastor Mark Massey is on this question of where is God when we need Him in the midst of crises. I suspect there are more than a few HillFaith readers who are asking this question and perhaps Mark’s sermon thoughts will be helpful:
Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) died Friday after waging a long battle against the prostate cancer that prompted his retirement in 2013. I have no doubt that he would still be in the Senate today, absent the cancer.
Being a fellow Oklahoman and graduate of Oklahoma State University, I admit to having a particular interest in Coburn, but parochial considerations aside, I admired him immensely because he never succumbed to the temptations of fame and power that too often make Washington, D.C. what it is.
Coburn was first and forever a genuine man of the people, the real-life “Okie from Muskogee,” full of blunt courage, deep common-sense and immense admiration for the wisdom of America’s founders.
There was never any doubt about where this man stood on an important issue or worry that he would betray his principles. That is a priceless virtue in the nation’s capital and one that is far too rarely seen these days.
Coburn was a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. His family said of his passing that, “Because of his strong faith, he rested in the hope found in John chapter 11 verse 25 where Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, will live, even though they die.’ Today he lives in heaven.”
The genuineness of his faith was seen in how Coburn treated his staff. Tears came to my eyes earlier this morning when I read these words from Keith Ashdown, who was Coburn’s staff director on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee:
“I was raised by a single mom. The closest thing I had to a father figure in my life passed away this morning,” Ashdown said in a tweet. “Senator Tom Coburn was a great lawmaker and even a better man. Working for him was one of the greatest honors of my life.”
And former long-time Coburn communications director John Hart’s tribute stirred my tears as well:
“His family came first and our hearts break for their loss. But those of us who had the joy and privilege of working with him were all his adopted sons and daughters. He made room in his heart for all of us and we kept in close touch with him until the end.
“He would always find time to challenge, encourage, correct and guide us. He touched us all deeply and gave us a gift that has blessed our lives and families beyond measure.”
One of the ways journalists covering Congress privately assess senators and representatives is by what their staffs say about them in candid, confidential moments. Coburn’s staff meant it when they expressed admiration for their boss, which was frequently. Coburn was so different from so many others we cover.
Count yourself blessed immensely if you ever have the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill — or anywhere else, for that matter —for a man like Tom Coburn.
Bob Perry is a commercial airline pilot who has seen the coronavirus pandemic up close and personal in recent days. He’s also talented, thoughtful observer from a Christian perspective, writing at True Horizon. Here’s a sample:
“Christianity exploded during the plagues and persecutions in the ancient world. And it did so precisely because Christians served those who most needed it. They comforted and cared for the sick and dying. This isn’t just a job for healthcare professionals. It’s a duty for us all …
Take an introductory astronomy or physics class on a typical college or university campus these days and at some point there will be a great deal of attention paid to the Three Laws of Planetary Motion discovered by Johannes Kepler, one of the chief movers of the Scientific Revolution.
What will almost certainly get little or no attention in the class will be the fact that Kepler was a believing Christian who recognized the deep theological implications of those laws. The reason little is said about Kepler’s faith is the myth that Christianity and science are opposites.
In the following video, historian Michael Keas takes viewers on a detailed and enriching review of the facts that make clear Christianity was an enabler of science beginning very early on and without it much of what we take for granted today might well not be with us:
We human beings are such curious beings. Consider for example how we often deal with subjects we’d rather, for whatever reason, avoid, delay or simply ignore. It’s called rationalization.
As we saw in Wednesday’s post, the vast majority of historians of the ancient world agree Jesus Christ was crucified, that his grave was found empty three days later and his disciples maintained to their deaths that they had seen and talked with the resurrected Jesus.
If those three facts are true, it means all of us then must decide what we’ll do with the claim of Jesus to be God and the only way any of us can be accepted into Heaven. The following video from reasaonblefaith.org addresses the four most common rationalizations for avoiding those three facts and the implications for each of us:
Donald Stevens is the new guy in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s office, serving as Counsel via Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Stevens is a 2014 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He also earned an MA in history in 2010 from the University of Oregon and a BA in chemistry in 2007 from Stanford.
Over on the House side, Ashlee Rossler has saddled up as Legislative Assistant/Counsel for Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). Ashlee’s law degree was awarded by the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 2019 and she received her BA in international relations and political science from Syracuse University in 2015.
It must be Counsel Week on the Hill because number three here is Ronce Almondheading over to fill that duty for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee via Ranking Minority Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Ronce’s law and political science MA are both from Duke University, while his BA in history comes from George Washington University.
LOOKING FOR A HILL JOB?
Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for Senators Don Nickle (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Bernhardt has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) Think about that – He said He alone holds your ultimate destiny and mine in His hands. As C.S. Lewis famously observed:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”
But how do you know which is right, that Jesus was exactly who and what He claimed to be or He was a nutcase, a liar and a deceiver? The following video, the first of a two-part series produced by reasonablefaith.org, examines the three most basic facts that point us in the right direction: