The Air We Breathe

It is time to break my silence.

My focus has been on ministry in our local church over the past several months. Therefore, I have resisted writing new posts.

However, I recently discovered a book—so relevant—that I have read it a second time and have encouraged my friends to check it out for themselves. Now I want to share the challenge on the Front Porch Swing.

The book, The Air We Breathe, by Glen Scrivener reveals that the values we all—both secular and religious—claim to believe in are the products of the influence of Christianity. We value freedom, kindness, progress, education, democracy, compassion and equality. We oppose slavery and seek to protect the physically and mentally challenged among us. We abhor the tragic results of Nazism and Communism. We believe that every person should be free to choose their religious belief—even atheism.

The preamble to the Declaration of Independence assumes that certain values are self-evident. That they are so obvious as to never be challenged. Consider these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The preamble to the Constitution of the United States opens with the stated desire to pursue justice and tranquility and to promote the general welfare of every citizen.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What profound thoughts from the minds and the pens of our founding fathers! Not all were practicing Christians, but each had been influenced by Christianity. It was the air they breathed.

But the question is, “Are these truths, these values, truly “self-evident?” Are they, or have they always been, obvious in other civilizations? Other constitutions?

No! A resounding “No!”

Not one ancient civilization or culture has ever held these values. In fact, most were constructed on the opposite. The mighty and powerful deserved to rule. The weaker deserved to be ruled and even abused. The Greeks philosophers did not offer true democracy. Only the elite, those privileged by the gods, had a voice in making and enforcing law.

 Pax Romana may have kept the peace but at what cost? Slaves and less” valuable” people served the powerful. Life, even that of a new born baby, was expendable at the whim of the powerful father or the emperor.

When did “everything” change? When did compassion for the weak become norm? When did every human life—women and children and other races—deserve equal protection and value under the law?

That is the point made by Glen Scrivener, author of The Air We Breathe.

Today, the Christian Church has fallen into respect in our secular culture. Sometimes, rightfully earned by those who call themselves Christ-followers. Our secular culture seeks to push us aside or to blame us for the social ills.

We may wonder if we need to apologize for something? For everything?

Let me share my response as influenced by this book:

Jesus, by example and words, brought light that exposed the evil darkness. His followers, nicknamed Christians by their critics, won the culture war through their unselfish, Christ-like lives. Unwanted babies were rescued from Roman garbage dumps and alleys. The sick and dying, during plagues, were cared for by Christians while the elite fled to safer ground. The bloody “entertainment” in the Coliseum ended through the influence of Christ-followers, sometimes at the expense of their own lives.

So, if you believe that women should be treated equally in the business place and honored in the home, thank Jesus.

If you believe the more vulnerable—the aged, infirm, mentally challenged or physically disabled—among us deserve protection under the law, thank Jesus. He honored women, blessed little children, touched lepers, healed blind and fed the hungry.

If you believe that a fetus, that has been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, deserves an opportunity to live, thank Jesus.

If you believe that no human being—regardless of race or gender—should be bought or sold for profit, thank Jesus.

If you enjoy the blessings of scientific research, thank Jesus.

If you’ve experienced compassionate medical treatment in a hospital, thank Jesus.

Jesus and influence of faithful Christians have created the air we breathe- the blessings we enjoy today.

Jesus and His followers, have transformed the world—changing the way things used to be-and have created a revolution that declares every human being is valuable because he or she bears the image of their Creator.

I strongly encourage you to check out the book: The Air We Breathe.

Let’s get some dialogue going here on the front porch.