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How to Have Courageous Faith in Our Current Society


In 2020, January Littlejohn’s daughter came home confused about her sexual identity after three of her close friends at school began identifying as transgender. Littlejohn, herself a licensed mental health counselor, did her best to support her daughter, opening the door to conversation and seeking out a mental health counselor. But as she relates, the real surprise came later:  

When school started, my daughter got into the car and said, “Mom, I had a meeting today at school, and they asked me which restroom I wanted to use.” … What we learned that the school had done was socially transitioned our daughter without our notification or consent. And then they did something particularly nefarious: They asked our daughter what name they should call her when speaking to her parents, and that was to effectively deceive parents that these gender support transition plans had ever taken place.  

Along with thousands of parents across the U.S. and Europe, Littlejohn found herself in a battle for her child’s life. Parents of kids struggling with gender dysphoria are often completely alone, braving attacks from schools, counselors, medical professionals, and other parents. They even face the possibility of being legally separated from their kids unless they go along. Too many acquiesce. But Littlejohn chose a different path. In her words,  

We know and love our children more than anyone in the world. We would die for our children 10 times over. So, the school has no right to then make critical decisions with minor children without parental involvement. 

In 2021, Littlejohn and her husband filed a lawsuit against her county’s school board for encouraging their daughter’s transition without parental permission. She is now a parental advocate at Do No Harm, a nonprofit that aims to return healthcare to evidence-based practices and medicine to its original purpose of healing, ensuring to not isolate parents in the processYou can listen to her full story on their website, donoharmmedicine.org.  

This story is just one of many reminders of the kind of courage Christians will need.  As C.S. Lewis said“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” I think we’ve hit a cultural moment where many of us will face that testing point at a new level. It’s where the rubber hits the road in finding out where our faith really is. Given our need for courage, this year, we’ve centered the entire Colson Center National Conference around the theme of Courageous Faith.  

Too many Christians have a privatized understanding of faith, believing it is enough to keep our heads down and avoid controversy at all costs. In some circles, controversy itself is a sign that we’re doing something wrong. But this is not the life or kind of opposition that Jesus warned us about.  

We need to remember that doing the right thing is seldom popular and never easy. From William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect to Egyptian Coptic martyrs kneeling on a Libyan beach, the commitment to a Gospel faith that impacts every part of life is going to cost us something. Courage is the commitment to both speak and live the truth about God, the world, people, and His plan for redemption—no matter what the consequences are for us. Without it, we’ll end up with a shriveled and ineffective faith, one that has no power to impact the wider world. 

Most importantly, courage doesn’t just happen. Courage is a virtue, and virtues have to be cultivated. Our next annual conference is all about what it takes to cultivate courage. You’ll be connected with like-minded believers who, just like you, are committed to living out their faith courageously in our time and place. Together, we can step into that same trajectory as that list of heroes in the book of Hebrews. We will be able to, as the author of Hebrews describes, spur one another on to “love and good works.”  

The lineup of speakers this year shows the same courage in the public square. From palliative care physician Dr. Margaret Cottle to apologist Sean McDowell to U.K. Anglican deacon Father Calvin Robinson, each of these individuals has demonstrated living out their faith in the public square while still treating others with decency and respect.  

We will host an optional Worldview Intensive Thursday night on courageous citizenship, an important emphasis for the coming election year. On Saturday night, we’ll present the 2024 Wilberforce Award to someone who exemplifies the same courage, principles, and passion exemplified by the great William Wilberforce.  

Please plan by saving the date and registering today.  The conference is May 30-June 2 at the Loews Hotel in Arlington, Texas. To learn more, go to colsonconference.org. 

For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/kevron2001

Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2003

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.

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