By Christianity, we see everything else

In response to letters some of my writing students sent to the newspaper, a woman wrote, “Rev. Fox usually stays away from politics and writes about religion.” There are at least three things wrong with that statement. The first bone I have to pick is with the title “Rev. Fox.” I never use that title in correspondence. Most of the adults who know me call me Mark. A few call me Pastor Fox. Mrs. Johnson, the widow who used to live across the street called me “Preacher Fox.” She would call often and ask me if I could come over and help her with something. One time, she called because her TV wasn’t working, and when I got there, she looked at me with sad old puppy dog eyes and said, “Preacher Fox, I can’t get my TV to come on, and you know I need to see my stories.” I told her not to worry and started trying to diagnose the problem as she walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge. “Mrs. Johnson, come in here and I will show you what I found,” I said, after looking behind the TV. As she walked in, I held up the cord which had been unplugged and left laying on the floor. “Here’s your problem,” I said, looking into her eyes and watching her try not to smile as she said, “Oh, is that what it was? My goodness! Well, come into the kitchen and set a while. I poured us a Coke.” The thought of that dear lady, who was not petite by any stretch, crawling under that TV to unplug it so that she could have some company that morning still makes me smile, and a little sad, too. Back to the point. Widows sometimes call me Preacher Fox. My kids call me Dad. My grandsons call me “Gan-Gan.” But nobody but the Times-News and those who write letters to take me to task call me Rev. Fox. I am always a pastor, though not always a good one, but I never want to be known as “Rev. Fox.”
The second problem I have with the letter is more serious. The dear lady says I usually write about religion. I don’t. “Religion” refers to every system of belief about a “higher power” in which the adherents to that belief try to “bind themselves back” to the god whom they believe will somehow be impressed by their good deeds. That definition would cover every known manmade system of religion, but not Christianity. I write about Jesus Christ, who was equal with God, came to earth as a man, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, took our sins upon himself on the cross so that we, who have done absolutely nothing to impress God and never could, would by grace and through faith cross over from darkness to light, from death to life, and will one day live in eternity with God the Father and Jesus his Son.
The third problem I see is the idea that we “reverends” need to stick to religion. C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity like I believe in the sun, not only because I see it, but by it, I see everything else.” The Bible says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” which is precisely why the followers of Jesus need to speak and write and teach from a biblical worldview on every subject under the sun. It doesn’t mean that we know anything better than anyone else. However, we know the One who does.

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