Keeping Up or Keeping On?

By Keith Miller | January 10, 2011

Keith, If the church is going to make it in increasingly complex political, social, and economic worlds, don’t you think our first priority to be effective Christian communicators should be to keep up, to learn all we can about the latest advances in these fields?  How else can we speak intelligently as ministers to the problems people face who are trying to live in these complex and changing environments?  P.S. If you agree, have you got any ideas about how to get the time to ‘keep up’ in all these fields?


Wow, I can see what you’re talking about just from my own challenges with complex new developments.  I just learned a few months ago how to text my grandkids!  And the state of the economy, world events and politics here in the U.S.A. come through to us so much more fully because of all the communication technology that has evolved in the last fifty years.  

I agree that it is important for those who would be Christian communicators to realize the fact that enormous changes are taking place in the social, economic and political scenes.  But I don’t think it is necessary or possible for anyone to keep up with all the specific changes in all these areas.  In fact, an attempt to be totally knowledgeable in all these fields could become a cop-out and a defense against specific action which might lead to actual improvement in any one area.

This is what I mean:  I think that God, through the Gospel, deals with basic human conditions which include people’s responses to social, economic, and political activities and changes.  And the basic human conditions and responses do not change all that much.  They include our separation from God, from other people and from our authentic selves.  Our responses include experiences of anxiety, fear, hunger, sickness, being dispossessed, persecuted, and loneliness.

  If these things are true, then one Christian approach to helping people deal with social, economic, and political changes affecting the basic human problems would go something like this:

Get involved with real people in a specific place.  Get to know them and their needs, hopes and dreams.  Then as social, political, and economic changes affect those people adversely, we can examine those specific changes and try to speak out or take action, such as going to bat to help the specific people affected by the changes to live in the freedom and love God has for them.

That way the issues and changes we concentrate on are always relevant, and our passion to engage these issues as Christian communicators comes from love of God and His people rather than from a love of issues and of becoming a good Christian communicator.  (This is much easier for me to say than do.) 

Dear Lord, thank you that no matter what economic, political or social conditions we encounter, your basic message of love applies.  Help us to learn more and more how to love you and other people in our lives by the way we respond to changes and how they affect us and those around us.  Help us learn how to provide a loving, human touch in the midst of whatever changes we may confront.  In Jesus’ name  amen.

This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” – Matthew 10:40


“Beware you are not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.” – John Wesley

One comment | Add One

  1. Peter Nevland - 01/11/2011 at 10:03 am

    Great, Keith,

    I was just having a conversation about this topic this morning with a good friend. Our culture seeks after knowledge so much but has little regard for wisdom (real experience with people) and understanding (practical application).

    Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”

    If you just have knowledge about the current issues, you have no way to protect it from the elements or thieves, and no way to organize it so that it’s easily accessible or useful. Focusing on loving people and then seeking any needed knowledge out of that heart not only finds what they need, it makes them more likely to accept it.

    Love reading your writing, Keith!

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