Darrow Miller and Friends

A Call to Moral Courage

Pastor John Yates speaks of moral courage

Malala Yousafzai: an outstanding example of moral courage

The Rev. Dr. John Yates II pastors Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia. One of our friends who attends John’s church secured permission to reprint a recent “Weekly Message from the Rector” to his congregation. This fine reflection was originally posted in TFCA’s Sunday bulletin, the Weekly.

When my children were in the public schools in Falls Church, I and others in our church were deeply involved with the schools, not just as interested parents, but also as pastor and parishioners representing Biblical values. I recall many meetings with the then-controversial family life/sex ed committee, meeting with various faculty members and principals. To use the current terminology, this region has always been “progressive.” At one time several members of the church served on the Falls Church School Board and exerted an important influence. Because people in this area care about the schools, we have some excellent ones.

The social and moral climate always demands that thoughtful followers of Christ make a priority of involvement in the community. Speaking from a Christian perspective into public gatherings requires thought, reflection, and moral courage. I doubt not that many of us are thoughtful – indeed, the response this spring to our Sunday evening forum series has demonstrated this. But we must pray for the moral courage and wisdom to express ourselves clearly whenever we are in conversations or meetings in which the burning topics of our day come up. We are now in a moment when things that were morally unthinkable 30 years ago are being celebrated. I’m not confident that the “progressive train” will slow down unless we are courageous enough to speak out, to speak well, and to speak God’s truth calmly, persistently, firmly, and in love.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus compared obedient Christians to salt and light in the world. Both have in common that they expend themselves. We are not to be self-focused and self-protective, quiet and safe as followers of Jesus. We are to seek to arrest moral decay and demonstrate moral goodness. We won’t do either without moral courage.

Commenting on this, John Stott said,

Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in elegant little ecclesiastical salt cellars; our place is to be rubbed into the secular community, as salt is rubbed into meat, to stop it going bad. And when society does go bad, we Christians tend to throw up our hands in pious horror and reproach the non-Christian world; but should we not rather reproach ourselves? One can hardly blame unsalted meat for going bad. It cannot do anything else. The real question to ask is: “where is the salt?”

  • John Yates

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