"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it."
-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.
Evangelicals: Yanceys, not Campolos Phillip Yancey's most recent column in Christianity Today shows why, as I pointed out the other day, evangelical Christians will continue to find themselves on the right side of the fence:
For a tribute edition, I am updating the book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, which I coauthored with the late Dr. Paul Brand in 1980. During that process, I reviewed a passage spelling out the huge gap between developed countries and the developing world. I had recently seen an anonymous e-mail message floating around the Internet indicating that little has changed since 1980. It reported that 80 percent of the world's people still live in substandard housing, 70 percent are unable to read, and 50 percent suffer from malnutrition.
My curiosity piqued, I spent several days tracking down statistics from authoritative sources, only to find that the e-mail is downright wrong. In fact, the world has made major strides in the last few decades.
According to best estimates, 25 percent—not 80—of the world's population live in substandard housing. Thirty years ago the global literacy rate was 53 percent; now only 20 percent of adults cannot read. The percentage of people suffering from malnutrition has dropped by more than half, to 20 percent. Three of four people used to have no access to clean water; now three of four people have it.
Go read the rest of it, as Yancey spells out rather nicely the great strides that have been made in recent decades, thoroughly undercutting the doomsaying of liberal activists who insist that the sky is falling.
Yancey's not a very political guy one way or another. You'd be hard pressed to define him as a raging conservative, at least politically. But he is definitely a theological conservative, and that tends to lead people--despite the wishes of some, like Tony Campolo--directly into political conservatism as well. And as he points out in his last paragraphs:
A century ago, theological liberals rightly complained that conservative Christians cared for souls but not bodies. Liberals led the way in social reform. Now, evangelical organizations such as World Vision, World Concern, and Opportunity International are among the most prominent and effective dispensers of "common grace" to a needy world.
After several days of research, I paused to give thanks for this remarkable progress. I have learned not to believe everything I read on the Internet, and not to believe everything I hear from doomsayers.