Monday, September 03, 2007


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

The summer is a difficult time for your team at Faith and Action. We enjoy our vacations as much as anyone, but it gets a little frustrating when some of us are on, some are off and the people we engage in ministry are doing the same! You may know that the entire US Congress goes on break in August, the Supreme Court justices leave town (and often the country) and even the President leaves for Camp David or Crawford, Texas. (That is, if he isn’t flying to Iraq—as he did this past week.)

Everybody’s back starting Tuesday, though, and that means we go into full swing here on Capitol Hill. Most of the day hours will be filled with meetings—getting back on track and up to the minute on all major developments, tracking ongoing ministry efforts and launching new ones. Most importantly, we will kick off our fall season with two major prayer emphases: All day Monday, September 10, for national repentance beginning in the church—with the people of God. Then, the same night, I will join Rev. Pat Mahoney outside the White House to lead a vigil of prayer for the situation in Iraq, our troops and especially the small community of Christians in that land.

Speaking of prayer, please remember Senator Larry Craig and his family. He did the right thing Saturday when he announced his resignation effective the end of this month. I hope he did it for the right reasons. In my public statement on the matter last week, I advised the Senator to seek help. Anyone struggling with this besetting sin, and who doesn’t understand its nature, is sure to fall again and again.

Unlike other sexual transgressions, this one is particularly harmful to spouses and other family members. Above all else, the Senator needs to give careful, prayerful attention to his interior life and family. While he emphasized that the country needs the full attention of a senator, I say he and his family need his full attention to resolve this very damaging behavior. The Senator needs spiritual and psychological help, while his family needs restorative pastoral counseling. All this takes a lot of time; years, not weeks or months. So I hope and pray that’s just what Senator Craig will do after he leaves office.

On this same subject, there’s been quite a lot of commentary on whether the set-up of Senator Craig by police was legitimate. Some have asked whether it’s even proper for police to be skulking in bathrooms. I see it differently. I think the police acted appropriately. Men hitting on strangers in public restrooms is far more than a nuisance. I don’t know about you, but I would find such cavorting in the stall next to me deeply disconcerting. Worse, let's say I was a teen-aged boy and the foot of a much older man crept under the stall wall and bumped mine, followed by the flash of a hand, I might be terrified. Given the compromising circumstances, it wouldn’t be so easy to “tell the guy waving his hand under the stall to buzz off,” as Slate national correspondent William Saletan wrote.

None of this is to mention the other dangers involved in restroom cruising, from irate “wrong hits” to sexually transmitted diseases. And again, I emphasize, all this in a bathroom—a place where people need to feel relatively safe, private and clean. (On that last point—well, I won’t even go there!)

I publicly asked Senator Craig to do the right thing. Whether that contributed in any part to his ultimate decision to step down, I don’t know. But since I asked him, I will also thank him: Thank you, Senator, for doing the right thing in this instance. You have my prayers and the prayers of countless others. Our greatest hope is that you will find freedom from whatever has you in bondage, that you will no longer perpetrate harmful acts, and that any who have been hurt by you will find healing and wholeness.

‘Nuff said. Let’s move on.

Two exciting opportunities to bring to your attention:

1) It’s unusual, but on Wednesday evening, September 12, I will begin teaching a ten-part weekly series of classes on “Thinking Biblically: How to Conform Our Lives to God’s Word.” (I’ve done this once before, for our friends at the Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford, New Jersey.) This time the venue is the dynamic New Antioch Baptist Church in Randallstown, Maryland. Senior Pastor Kenneth Barney is a dear friend and ministry partner with Faith and Action. I’m delighted to take on this vital subject in the context of such a vital church. If you’re within driving distance, please join us—Wednesday evenings, September 12 – November 14, 2007, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, New Antioch Baptist Church, 5609 & 5616 Old Court Road, Randallstown, Maryland 21244.

2) I’ll say it over and over—You, your family and friends are invited—no, urged—to join my brother and me and our families as we celebrate 25 years of uninterrupted service to our Lord Jesus Christ, Saturday, November 17, 2007. Special guest will be Jay Sekulow. Location is the Renaissance Hotel, downtown Washington, DC. See our website for details: Be there or be square!

That’s all for now. Over and out!