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The Next Christians: Creating Instead of Condemning

Gabe Lyons is one of today’s truly promising young evangelical leaders. He’s a graduate of our first Centurions class, and filmed with me a six-part DVD series on my book The Faith. I so appreciate Gabe’s fidelity to Scripture and his focus on the fundamental truths of Christianity. But what’s really exciting is how he’s applying the Truth in new ways, ways that really speak to young people.

Ten years ago, Gabe and Rebekah Lyons received a scary diagnosis: Their newborn son, Cade, had Down syndrome. But as Gabe writes in his new book, The Next Christians, “Cade has taught us so much about life and love. His smile and delight bring a warmth to our world we never knew could exist.” The Colson family has experienced the same thing with my autistic grandson, Max.

The Lyons were shocked to find out that 90 percent of all mothers faced with a Down syndrome diagnosis end up aborting their child—many of them under pressure from doctors and others.

The Lyons wanted to find a positive way to advocate for Down syndrome children, so they and some friends produced a booklet titled Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis. It included photos that “captured the extraordinary and quite normal lives individuals with Down syndrome lead,” Lyons writes. It also addresses the concerns of parents reeling from a Down diagnosis and points them to parents of Down syndrome children who can offer advice and support.

This booklet was delivered to the office of every Ob-gyn and geneticist in town, and the doctors agreed to use the booklets in an effort to be more sensitive to parents facing a frightening diagnosis.

In creating the booklet, the Lyonses were consciously creating a solution instead of finding someone to blame for the culture of death. It was a small way of helping restore the broken creation.

As Gabe told the Christian Post, “It was just using my gifts in storytelling and photography... Christians showing up everywhere we see corruption overflowing in our world and not just talking about how bad [it] is, but saying, let’s be a part of displaying for people what the Kingdom of God might look like when it shows up.”   

Lyons points to other Christians who are creating, not merely condemning, cultural rot. For instance, a believer named Jamie Tworkowski founded a nonprofit called To Write Love On Her Arms. It provides hope and help to people who deal with depression and self-injury. The nonprofit is being funded by the sale of a T-shirt identifying this problem, especially among young girls.

This new generation of Christians is taking seriously the biblical command to help restore God’s broken creation. Rather than simply demonstrating, boycotting, or voting for the “right” candidate, they are “restoring the truth, goodness, and beauty that’s been lost” in the culture. They’re creating art, films, music, media—“anything,” Lyons writes, “that incarnates Christ and communicates . . . restoration.”

Lyons agrees with cultural commentator Andy Crouch that the only way to change culture is to create more of it. How right they are.

How are you addressing the brokenness of our culture? Are you merely criticizing it from the safety of your home or office—or getting creative about restoring our world to what God intended?

I hope you’ll read The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. You’ll discover new ways to interact with the culture—and ways to use your own God-given talents to bind up the wounds of a world in chaos.

This article published on July 14, 2011. Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.  

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