Orson Scott Card is a great science fiction writer, in part because he understands our culture so well and sees where choices made today could take us, given one implausible push or another (such is the nature of science fiction).  He is believable inside the fiction because he knows what a reasonable person would do.

He is also a political commentator.  He came and spoke to my military unit, in part because we were using his fiction to imagine a real military future.  (i.e. – how could we use his book Ender’s Game to suggest a training program for future commanders.)  And he maintains active engagement with society and writes long editorials on a regular basis.

On the occasion of Solzhenitsyn’s death, Card quoted a speech by the famed Russian writer at Harvard in 1978: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations”

A decline in courage.

Is that our problem in the church?  Peter and Paul were noted for boldness.  Steven was unafraid while being stoned.  Read Hebrews 11:  stoned, sawn in two, fed to wild animals.  Or read the publications of the “Voice of the Martyrs.”  I have a copy of Jesus Freaks that I can only read in small doses.  By comparison to those giants in the faith, I am a sniveling little coward.

Mark Batterson says the difference between a leader and everyone else is that the leader is willing to act differntly in the face of uncertainty.  In his words, they “turn left instead of right.”  When the crowd is moving right, they go left.  When the crowd is moving to traditional solutions, they turn left and meet the unique needs of their own congregation.

Too many of us don’t step out in faith because it’s scary.  We’ll do baby steps, change the edges, change only after someone else has done it and proven success over a period of time.  The leader follows God – not the church down the street – to implement innovative changes in their ministry.  They turn left.

All you need is faith.  And the courage to act.

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