Monday, December 04, 2006

NEW LEASE ON THIS BLOG!

Ever since that stunning reversal by the Federal District of Columbia on their order for us to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the front of our ministry house here on Capitol Hill, I’ve wondered what I should write about in this blog.

My original intent in starting “The Ten Commandments on Capitol Hill” was to keep you informed on the battle so you could pray and act with us until we achieved victory. As I’ve said countless times, I wish I were always God’s Man of Faith and Power for the Hour, but I’m not. I thought we’d have a very long, complicated and expensive fight in front of us—but, praise God, I was wrong! When the DC legal department rendered its official opinion that we could keep the display-- just three weeks after they threatened us with $300 per day fines and possible forced sale of our property--I wasn’t sure what to do with this forum!

As you’ve picked up, I’ve played around with various issues of the day. Now, though, I’ve settled what to do with “The Ten Commandments on Capitol Hill.” I’ll use this space to fill you in on everything else that goes on around here. In other words, there is plenty of ministry work, prayer, controversies, developments, interesting people, and events connected with our missionary outreach to elected and appointed officials that never makes it into an E-mail, a newsletter or the media. You’ll never see a headline on any of this, but it is all as important as anything else we do.

So, beginning this week, each Monday I’ll post these “happenings” here. Sometimes, they will be as juicy as any scuttlebutt coming out of this town; other times it will be as boring as paperwork in a cubicle. But it will always give you the complete picture of what it takes to keep a strong Gospel witness of Biblical Truth flowing among the most powerful people in the most powerful city of the most powerful country on earth.

What I do hope and pray is that this blog will be a forum for us to communicate back and forth with each other. I admit it will take some reorientation and discipline for me, but beginning this week, I commit to reading everything you write back to me at this space. So, please WRITE BACK! Even if it’s just a one-liner—or even a one-worder!

If you’ve followed this site at all, you know for a period of time I had only one writer—and he wasn’t terrible friendly! (I’ve got to tell you though, I’ve come to appreciate Jeff Wismer of Beltway Atheists. He’s been by our ministry house and he’s actually quite a nice and enjoyable guy. I’m praying that he has one of those life-changing lapses when he doubts for just a moment his otherwise smug self-confidence! All said with great affection, Jeff!)

Today I’m headed to a meeting of Evangelical chaplain endorsers for the military. These are the people that the Department of Defense (DOD) looks to for certification that a minister is fit for service to our military men and women. As you know, there’s been quite a controversy over military chaplains ending their prayers in the name of Jesus. This particular group of chaplain endorsers (made up of civilian church leaders) has worked prayerfully and wisely behind-the-scenes to deal with this intolerable restriction on Christian chaplains. (As far as anyone knows, no other religious group has been forbidden from invoking the name of their respective deities.) While other chaplain endorsers have caved in to the politically correct spirit at the DOD (even large Evangelical organizations and denominations have cowed to the intimidation), this group has remained quietly resolute. I’ll be pleased to be with them.

I expect too, that today I’ll still be dealing with more ruckus over my criticism of Rick Warren’s hosting of rabidly pro-abortion senator Barack Obama. If you haven’t read my statements on this, please do so. They can all be found at either our website, our sister site http://www.nationalclergycouncil.org/ or http://www.earnedmedia.org/. It’s important to note that my criticism was never aimed directly at Rick or the great work he has done and is doing. The media wanted it to appear that way, but it was never the case. I have only criticized Rick’s choice of Obama. Why not a pro-life Democrat? (There are actually a few!)

In between these two biggies, I’ll meet with our staff to plan three enormously important initiatives:

1) Our imminent Christmas outreach to Congress. This year we’ll hand-deliver to all 535 members (435 representatives, 100 senators) a personal letter, a special Christmas Gospel tract, a book dealing with spiritual and moral integrity in leadership and two tickets to see the film The Nativity. (See our upcoming web article and E-Notice.) It may not look like it on the surface, but these activities require an enormous amount of work. Just imagine arranging hand-delivery of a pile of materials to 535 offices anywhere, some of them occupied by very hostile recipients. Then complicate it by a factor of 100 for the multiple layers of security in place since 9-11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks. It surely doesn’t make it any easier!

2) This Thursday we launch our second year with Operation Nativity (coordinated by my long-time friend and ministry partner, Dr. Charles Nestor of http://www.thetruthmatters.com/), a call for Christians in America to display nativity scenes (some prefer to call them “crèches”) on their front lawns, porches, balconies or in a prominent window for passers-by to see. We kick it off by placing our own Nativity Display on the front lawn of our ministry house across the street from the US Supreme Court, one block form the US Capitol and ten minutes from the White House. More than one senator and Supreme Court justice has been observed to stop and contemplate Jesus lying in the manger amidst Joseph, Mary, the Magi and angels! This year, we team up twice by adding another long-time friend and partner, Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who is spearheading The Nativity Project, an effort to keep Christ in public “holiday” displays. Pat and I will hold a news conference to encourage individuals, churches and other groups to secure permits from their local and state governments for a Nativity at their town or city hall, county seat building or state capitol. Watch http://www.faithandaction.org/ for more info.


3) Our upcoming National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers, January 22. (Same day as the annual March for Life. It’s timed so you can do both.) This unique gathering affirming the Sanctity of our God-given Right to Life is in its 12th year on Capitol Hill. It is a fully-dressed worship and preaching service—the only one held inside the US Capitol complex. Dozens of clergy from every major denomination participate and hundreds attend. My brother, Paul, and I started it when we first arrived. You may know the story: We held the first Memorial in a liberal church just a few blocks from where our ministry house is now located. We rented the building, but when the liberal pastor and leaders learned what we were doing they were scandalized. I was hauled in front of their board along with my ministry team members. We were excoriated for being intolerant, bigoted, and anti-woman for having a pro-life meeting in their sanctuary. The whole thing was ironic; my team was a veritable rainbow of humanity: men, women, young, old, white, black and Asian. (Not to mention my Jewish heritage!) Their side was a phalanx of middle-aged white males. Still, we got the lecture. When it was finally over, I was told by the church’s board chairman, “We are a tolerant church. We have pro-life and pro-choice people, gays and straights, liberals and conservatives. But we find your position on abortion untenable.” I responded respectfully and asked for clarification by saying, “Let me get this straight. You are so tolerant, you find us intolerable. Is that correct?” He flatly said, “That’s correct,” then told us to find another location for the next year. No kidding. Thank God he did—we’ve been inside the U.S. Capitol complex ever since!

The rest of this week will be taken up with meetings on the Hill, end-of-year communications with our support team made of up of you and people like you all over the country (we have the last of our quarterly conference calls tonight—if you want in, just make a contribution of any amount at our website and you’ll receive an invitation), and finally, a big move. We have a much larger ministry team than we had this time last year, and it means we’re going to be relocating people between our two buildings. That’s never easy. I’ll be vacating the room that I’ve worked out of for six years. I dread the breaking down and setting back up, but I’ll still have a front-window view of the Chief Justice’s chambers across the street!

Before I go—don’t forget this Wednesday: Faith and Action Live! Your live missionary field report from Capitol Hill, 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM. You can link to it from our website. (Top left hand corner of the screen.) I’ll talk more about the Saddleback Church flap and what Obama’s outreach to Evangelicals means for the ’08 presidential race.

That’s all for now—please write with your comments, questions—and, Jeff—your criticisms, accusations and insults!

Blessings for now!

3 comments:

Diane said...

I'll be watching, and praying.

Rev. Rob Schenck said...

Thanks, Diane. I'm only now working on encouraging people to leave their comments, questions, etc.

It's taken me a little while to master this, but I think I'm getting it.

Thanks for reading and thanks even more for praying!

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