Faith For This Moment: Navigating a polarizing world as the people of God
By Rick McKinley
Life in America in 2019 quite regularly feels like the best of times and the worst of times. Living as a Christian in America, however, feels like the end times are nearer than we imagined and please Lord, Jesus, will You come again! And soon! 🙂
One walk into a supermarket or one click on the TV and you’ll quickly be reminded that life as we know it in the United States is full of consumerism, selfishness, opinions, hate, debate, and division. What once seemed “normal” is no longer the case and what used to be hidden, excluded or unspoken about is now out in the open and widely accepted. Still, as much hatred and racism exists today, if not more, than it did “way back when” America was supposedly great.
Culture has been infiltrating our nation’s values for the last several decades but in recent years (with laws establishing certain rights, amongst other rulings and debates) it has seemed to have gained control of the driver’s seat and is guiding the direction in which our country is heading. It is not good. Regardless which side of the aisle you are on, you can agree that we desperately need change in the United States but we are too busy fighting and are too blind to see the opportunities that await us if we could just stop opening our mouths or throwing in our two-sense into every conversation or social media post we come across.
Rick McKinley, a pastor from Portland, OR and the author of my latest read, Faith For This Moment: Navigating a Polarizing World As The People of God, has measured the pulse of this problem. McKinley suggests a way we can slow down and restore our country rather than return to old times – we can learn from the pain of our past and be inspired by the trials of our historical brothers and sisters in Christ.
The main concept behind Faith For This Moment is that Christians today are living in exile and are polarized for having an “outdated, old-fashioned” way of thinking/believing. Likewise, many Christians aren’t living out their faith in a manner inspired by the ways and life of Jesus. Christians today are either choosing to intentionally (or unintentionally) conform to the times by accepting cultural influences as good, right or truth, or, they are shy and confused on how to act as the faith minority in a country that was originally built upon faith and trust in God. Whichever road they are on, they have one thing in common – division within their own religious belief. If the church as a whole is divided, then how can it possibly influence the nation once again?
“We are a society that is messy and complicated, and it appears that Christians, whose voices have been drowned out by misrepresentation and misunderstanding, have little to say about the things that matter most to the world.” ~ Faith For This Moment, pg. 21
McKinley focuses heavily on the biblical times of exile in Babylon to depict how God used the earliest believers to influence their culture and strengthen the Kingdom. He equates their challenges and polarization to the modern day challenges a Christian faces daily in both America and abroad. Faith For This Moment encourages the reader to examine their own faith by considering the condition of their heart (“Christians are often collectively known for what we are against rather than for whom Jesus was for.” ~ pg. 86), developing discernment and discipline, practicing the rhythms of grace (“Whatever we practice tells a story of what our lives are being lived for.” ~ pg. 107), and living out what it truly means to be hospitable, honor our vocation, and keep the Sabbath holy.
I really enjoyed this book and the content in it. It is one of those books that nails the target on the “struggle is real” conflict Christians face today. Faith For This Moment will encourage followers of Christ to remove cultural barriers and personal opinions in order to adapt a Jesus-lifestyle and live out a fearless faith. It won’t be easy, it never is, but it is possible because with God all things are possible. God’s faithfulness to His people is as strong today as it was from the beginning of time. The key is acknowledging His power, His presence, and His way, over our own and whatever it is the world keeps trying to scream at us.
The church has an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the life-giving Kingdom of God by living as actual people of God. We must be intentional and we must be set apart. If we can band together and unite as a church, our faith for this moment will be a strong force leading us into eternity.
* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.