Alright, the Culture Is Increasingly Hostile to the Church. Now What?

Apr 12, 2019

In this episode, Nathan and Cameron discuss the growing resistance to Christianity in North America, and offer a hopeful reminder of the ever-present tension of being in the world, but not of it.

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Cameron McAllister - @CamMcAllister7
Nathan Rittenhouse - @N_Rittenhouse1

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Cameron McAllister: Hello and welcome to Thinking Out Loud. Thinking Out Loud is a podcast where we think out loud about current events and Christian hope. I'm your cohost, Cameron McAllister.

Nathan Rittenhouse: And I'm your host, Nathan Rittenhouse.

Cameron McAllister: All right, well, we've been scanning the headlines a little bit, and to borrow a phrase actually from Nathan here, the Mueller Report kind of just sucked the oxygen out of the room for a while there and various stories have been percolating of course. They always are.

But today, dear listeners, we thought we would try something just a little bit different. We want to take a little bit of a topical approach, but the occasion for this actually was a speaking engagement. I just had.

So I was in Dallas, Texas and I was speaking to a gathering about of about 120 people. Now do bear in mind that location, Dallas, Texas. That's important and you'll see why.

But increasingly the questions coming in after the talks were really along these lines. “If you're a Christian, how do you hold to biblical values and theological orthodoxy while so much around you in the culture is resisting that and pushing you away from it even?”

But the tone of these questions was in some ways revealing because I think the hope was how can we basically hold onto these convictions without clashing too deeply. And what has become increasingly clear, and what I was realizing as I was answering these questions is clashing is unavoidable and we're coming to a juncture in this nation's history where it's not possible to hold on to all of our theological convictions, all theological orthodoxy in a comfortable way. It's going to come with a social cost. That was the phrase I kept using over and over again.

And what's interesting is that we're seeing this more and more and in places where you wouldn't necessarily expect it. So Dallas, Texas, right? And so more and more I think that this is an important question that those of us who follow Christ need to wrestle with.

What are we going to do? I mean, how are we preparing? And in some ways there's nothing unusual about this. This is the way it's always been for Christians. But it is unusual at this point in the United States.

In many ways the United States is such a strange and unique country and concoction, various traditions and habits. But we're coming to the point where the gospel comes with a real social cost for us. And so we thought that might be helpful to walk through that a little bit on this episode of Thinking Out Loud.

So Nathan is a fairly counter-cultural dude and it doesn't just start with the glorious beard. So I think we should...I'd love to hear Nathan weigh in here and we'll just see where this goes.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Well and to be fair, we should let people know that we're talking about this because neither one of us know that much about March Madness, unfortunately. So this is a bit of an oddball perspective here on where we're going.

You know, as you were saying that, I was thinking that it's interesting that even within the US context there's going to be a huge continuum and sort of spectrum here of people's experience with this question. So having lived in Massachusetts for a few years, I think a lot of the Christians there had already answered some of these or had a jumpstart, so to speak, on saying we're a cultural minority here and that way or ideologically anyway.

And so I think it's important as you mentioned, that this conversation was happening in Dallas, Texas, where you would see while on one hand there does seem to be a very...I don't know, America's still feels very Christian to me and I use Christian kind of in a very loose sense there.

But you can get a Christian radio station most places. You do if you're looking for it see references to biblical verses still in in public places, a lot of places or in publications. So it's a little bit ambiguous, I think, if you are somebody saying, "Well, we know what still feels very Christian."

But I think for the people who actually are Christian, they'd say, "Yeah, but that's a fairly anemic form of what it is that we're actually talking about, what it means to be Christian." So you have some definition issues just from the get go of saying, "Yeah, okay, that's what you think you hear them saying but that's not really what I mean when I talk about living out my convictions or my faith."

So there's that element of it that I think is helpful for us to keep in mind here. That depending on where the listener to this conversation is geographically located, will in some ways influence how they hear what we say.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah. I feel the contrast there myself as a missionary kid from Vienna, Austria, which is nominally Catholic, but as it is a very secular nation. And there all of the features that you just described, Nathan, they're pretty much absent except you do have, actually you do have the fragments of Christendom still all over Europe.

There are these beautiful cathedrals and they're architectural marvels, but they're not filled with worshipers of course. They are filled with tourists and they're looked at almost...They're museums essentially. And they're-

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yes. And maybe they're...Oh sorry, go ahead.

Cameron McAllister: No, no. I mean I think that's it. But so there's the fragments there, but it's a largely forgotten language. Even the-

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah so maybe we can make a distinction between the institutional feel and the social feeling.

Cameron McAllister: Right.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So America does have some of the institutional markers still in place. I mean, drive down a street of most towns or cities and you will see multiple churches. So there are institutional relics there. Maybe relics is a bit pessimistic, or icons so to speak-

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Of a way in which we once were. But for a younger generation, the number of buildings that you have doesn't necessarily correlate to your social acceptance. Let's put it that way.

Cameron McAllister: Right.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So that's the issue that we're really talking about: “what is the social perception of the acceptance of the ideas that are represented by a broader, more cultural institutional view of the church?”

Cameron McAllister: And I think this is the reason why some social critics are saying that the United States is growing increasingly post-Christian. They don't mean by that that the United States was formerly a totally explicitly Christian nation. That's not what they're talking about. They're talking about a loss of influence where Christianity is concerned.

I mean even 50, 100 years ago a lot of people, whether they were Christian or not, still had some respect for the Bible. They still knew scripture and there wasn't this sort of concentrated campaign to remove Christian language from all of our public institutions. There are plenty of people nowadays who would love to see In God We Trust expunged from our currency and so on and so forth.

But also the practical outworking of that is just so many people don't know the language of Christianity at all. They don't know scripture. They don't read the Bible. A lot of people think they know it, but it's largely regarded as an irrelevance.

And so when you actually press into the specifics of Christianity, the message Jesus is Lord is always, always deeply counter-cultural. If you're total and complete allegiance and fidelity is to Christ, it's guaranteedly going to put you at odds with any culture in which you find yourself. Whether that culture is like the United States where it's fiercely individualistic or if it's a culture that's more along Eastern lines where fidelity to the family and tradition is highly cherished and honor occupies a huge seat. It's always going to clash with all of those notions.

And so I think it's, in some ways, it's funny when you hear these questions. And when you see this I'm sympathetic to them. But because we're just talking about basic Christianity here, and it's always been like this, but we're just, we're reaching a moment now where if you actually read the gospels, oh my goodness, Jesus really said that?

Nathan Rittenhouse: Right.

Cameron McAllister: Really? His Lordship touches on everything from my finances to my sexuality? All of that comes under his Lordship? We just don't like to be told what to do.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So I heard a, I was reminded of a quote recently. One of our former presidents was saying, and I won't get the exact quote, but basically the line was that all people were created to be equal to pursue their own version of happiness.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: And I thought, "Wow, that's just a fascinating line that sums up America so well." So we're still hanging onto this kind of like pseudo religious, it's a totally religious idea to say that people were created to be equal. All right, let's balance that as a divine dictation as it were, or pronouncement.

But then we've added the American autonomy into that. So we were created to be equal to pursue our own version of happiness. And so we want the right to be autonomous, not the ability to be obedient to the authority.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: And maybe I'm not articulating that well, but do you see what I think is uniquely American about that phrase? That-

Cameron McAllister: Yes.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So there's the religious language there with the simultaneous rejection of the authority of that religion.

Cameron McAllister: Well, okay. It's basically, yeah, it's saying I love Christianity. I want this, but I want it on my own terms.

Here's another little outburst. This one not from a former president, but from a celebrity and actor. I won't give the name, but this is a tweet. I love God. I believe in God, but I don't believe my personal beliefs, and there's some weird grammar in here, okay, so just bear with me. But I don't believe my personal beliefs of which we can't confirm should override scientific facts and what we can confirm.

And it's funny because, so essentially what this person is saying is I believe in God and I love God, but that's just my personal opinion and I don't want that to be forced on anyone. And I don't want that to cloud anybody else's sort of day.

But it's a funny sentiment because if Christ is Lord, by definition that cannot be just your personal opinion. I mean, that's where I love Lesslie Newbigin's phrase, the gospel is public truth. That would mean it's true for everybody and he's King of all, whether you acknowledge it or not.

But Americans, we love to hold on to stuff but we all want it on our own terms and we want it in these small, sort of manageable units that really will prevent all conflicts. So we can essentially just go about our daily lives and enjoy our shopping and not be bothered with any of the real hard stuff.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah. Here's another funny one while we're just wallowing in this, is you're talking about wallow, the idea of In God We Trust. Where is that printed?

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Where do you see that phrase most often?

Cameron McAllister: On our money.

Nathan Rittenhouse: On our money. What did Jesus critique as one of the biggest idols? So it goes back to something that you and I had discussed earlier is that I think maybe one of the things that we have to grapple with and that gives us this social unrest is what happens when we succeed in categories that were never the goal of Christianity as Christians? And so-

Cameron McAllister: There was a haunting question.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah. And so what I'm pushing for here is, are there things that we've culturally said, "This is a goal of our society." And it's a secular goal or religious, however you want to define it. And we've embraced that as a goal and then said, "Okay, what is the Christian way to achieve that end?" And so we've looked for a Christian means to achieve a secular end rather than looking for a Christian end that Christ proclaims for us and therefore Christian means to his goal. Rather, we're almost co-opting Christianity to the point that it helps me achieve my secular goal, then it's valuable to me.

And so that almost goes back to the tweet you're reading says of there's a utilitarian function to my faith as long as it helps me achieve. So I believe that we're created to be equal as long as that validates my desire to define my own happiness. And so it's easy to point to other people doing that. But I think we have to wrestle a little bit sometimes in house too as Christians of saying, have we subtly lost focus of what the goal of Christianity actually is? And then adopted secular goals and then tried to put a Christian sticker on it on the way there. Just a thought.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah. I think if we're honest, this is one of the reasons why we absolutely have to go, we need to be in church and we need a local church. And that sounds very Christianity 101, but I don't think it is actually. We have to find a group of men and women with whom we can worship the Lord in spirit and truth. And we absolutely need that, because everything else around us is giving us a message 24-7, 365 that is the opposite of Christianity's messages. And in the United States, that message essentially is to live for yourself just so long as you're not hurting anybody else.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah.

Cameron McAllister: That's where you get a lot of conflict.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah. So, okay. All right. We're like halfway through this podcast and let me just make it one notch worse before we-

Cameron McAllister: Do it. Do it. Complicate it.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Start climbing out of this hole, is that you're talking about going to church. I was at a church speaking a couple of times recently and I came away actually fairly depressed from the whole experience. Not because, well yeah, I shouldn't maybe say that. But one of the fascinating things was I was listening to the songs that we were singing and there was a significant subject, verb, object problem going on there where we take the goodness of who God is and what he does to me and it actually sounds like it ends up being about me.

Cameron McAllister: Yep.

Nathan Rittenhouse: And so it's a song that the words there are almost couched in a way that make it seem like it's about praising God, but it's about praising God for what he does for me-

Cameron McAllister: Right.

Nathan Rittenhouse: In a way that actually makes me the subject or I'm the central figure of the byproduct of certain worship songs.

Cameron McAllister: Right.

Nathan Rittenhouse: May I be so bold as to say that? I don't know. Have you observed that too?

Cameron McAllister: Yes. And I think there's so much I want to speak with a good deal of restraint and compassion as well just like you have Nathan, because I think that the best of intentions often undergird some of these efforts in North America.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah. I don't think it's a conspiracy or a, yeah.

Cameron McAllister: No, of course not. And there's a lot of words that can be used where people will say, "Well, we're being missional or we're being contextual and we're trying to meet people where they're at." But as one of my friends at my church often says, what often some of these churches are failing to do is to offer an alternative to the culture around them. I mean, narcissism and sort of me, me, me, it's all about you. That is the cultural mantra. That's our song.

And if you go into a church and it looks the same, it feels the same, it sounds the same, and it tells you the same message, the problem is it's more shaped by the United States than it is by Christ.

And so yeah, for instance, I'll get specific in in my church. It's not a perfect church, but I do think I'm there because I think it's a very healthy body and there are so many degrees of an intentionality behind everything that is done at the church and one of them is the worship team. They make sure that the volume is very carefully controlled so that you can hear yourself singing. And that's very, very intentional because they don't see themselves as performers. They're leading you in corporate worship. We're all singing together and you should be able to hear your own voice.

And there are no solos that we do, even though there are people on the team with beautiful voices, but again, it's not a performance. And so even subtle little ticks like that can profoundly reorient the way we look at the worship service, the way we understand it.

They're very careful about what you talked about, Nathan, songs that have the word me in them a lot or that tend to sort of subtly shift the focus back to the benefits we receive from God rather than just extolling God's goodness, his righteousness, his glory, his greatness. So I think all of these matter so much because we're very, very impacted by the words we sing.

We're very impacted by what we do, which is why when we do communion every Sunday at my church, I have to do that. I need all of that. That's why I need the church.

The way I often put it is I'm never going to come to a point in my life, my earthly life here where I say, you know what? I have heard the gospel so many times now. I've heard countless messages on it. I think I'm good. I'm good. I'm done. Now I've got it down. No, I have to hear it over and over and over again. It has to be beat into my head. I need to recite those confessions because I need to be reformed. And so all of that matters tremendously.

So I've been in churches like that, Nathan, and I've walked away saddened as well. But I hope not in a self-righteous kind of pat myself-

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah, yeah.

Cameron McAllister: On the back kind of way, but in genuine compassion. Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So-

Cameron McAllister: It's a tough situation.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So by this point people are like, "Okay, now we're tired of listening to you two whine and complain." But the point we're making here is that if Christianity is an accessory or a tool for you to fulfill your agenda, you are going to face some very troubling social interactions and situations-

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: As you tried to work that out. However, if Christianity is the primary goal and focus and heartbeat of your life, you're also going to face some serious difficulties. So it's a-

Cameron McAllister: But you probably won't be surprised.

Nathan Rittenhouse: But you won't be surprised by it because you'll know that this is exactly what Jesus said is normal.

Cameron McAllister: If they hated me, they will hate you too.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah, very, very popular price on there.

Cameron McAllister: Right there.

Nathan Rittenhouse: So how then does that make a difference? And of course, I think there's one caveat here that just always sticks in my mind. That was a great sermon I once heard by a Mennonite preacher who's giving a talk on kind of the social tension and cultural persecution. And then he said, "You know, there's also this chance that you aren't being persecuted because you're a Christian, but you're being persecuted because you're an annoying person," which is a bit edgy. But I think there's a little bit of that too, is we don't want to play the victim card and be like, "Oh, you know, they don't like us because you know, whatever." So…

Cameron McAllister: Yep.

Nathan Rittenhouse: There's some balance there.

But so what then? We embrace this as that there will be tensions, there will be difficulties. So what? What does that do for you, practically speaking?

Cameron McAllister: I think it's a crucial perspective, but I think practically speaking, my prayer remains, how do I stay? How do I love the Lord with all that I am, and then how do I love my neighbor? And then when adversity comes as it will, when my back is against the wall from cultural forces, when I do find myself in extremely uncomfortable conversations with my neighbor or when I'm on a college campus, when we hear for instance, people of differing views say that our very presence on the campus as harmful to them, let alone our views, even if we haven't expressed them. When we encounter that, then I think the prayer needs to be how do we respond righteously to this? And also I do like, I know he's a polarizing figure, but I do like Stanley Hauerwas's way of saying that Christians aren't victims. We are very intentionally standing with Christ where we are and the hatred, the resistance of the world is to be expected but it doesn't give us a license to start screaming for our rights.

And I believe Os Guinness has made this point several times as well and it's a strong one I recognize. And you know, Tim, I'm quoting all these different names here to try to avoid anybody blaming me. But Tim Keller also comes in at this point and he basically, he says in America what do we do when we have serious disagreements? We sue each other, right? We just go after each other.

But again, if you're locked into the American ethos and the American way of life, we need to remember it's not necessarily the Christian ethos and the Christian way of life. We're marching to a different drum.

And so my prayer, Nathan, practically is how can I creatively respond with righteousness to all of these different instances? It doesn't mean you're a pushover. It doesn't mean that you're any more uncompromising on where you stand. But I think the knee jerk response of automatically trying to take some form of legal action, establish our rights and all of that. Again, those items matter.

I mean we do, we care about politics. We care about the good of everybody around us. We want to be invested there. And I am too.

But ultimately we know that the kingdom of God isn't established here through earthly governments. And so sometimes I think we need a reminder of that. So when we experienced that inevitable pushback and adversity, I think we need to pray about how to respond with righteousness and kindness even when things don't go our way. I think the broad perspective that seems to be emerging from a lot of people are, I suppose the broad diagnosis is that Christianity is going to lose, is losing and will lose much, much more influence in the United States.

But that those who are truly devoted to Christ, actual Christians, are growing stronger. And that certainly seems to be the case. I don't know. Nathan, what do you think?

Nathan Rittenhouse: Oh no, it's totally true. And this goes back to the regional element too. I think that in some sections of the country you have a very tiny percentage of people who are actually attending church and would say that they have a live and living faith. But the depth of those people in those places is phenomenal and is actually a better witness for the church I think then in sort of an ambiguous Christianese culture.

So yeah, the Lord knows what he's doing. This isn't like his B Plan.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah, whoops.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah. Oh yeah, we've got to adjust for Twitter. So there's that element of it.

And I think again, Paul certainly exercises his legal rights, but he doesn't necessarily always bring the...He doesn't lead with that. He leads with the gospel.

And then there are some times when being a citizen of Rome, actually was pretty handy for him. But he didn't walk into the city and say, "I'm a Roman citizen, therefore listen to me." It went the other way around.

I think there's a big thing that you said there as far as just kind of thinking through the life of Christ, the New Testament teaching on if you're saying that you take the way of Christ, that does make it seem like injustice is going to happen to you.

If you want to look at an unjust, I don't know, maybe legal system or religious system, look at the life of Jesus. Does he know anything about this?

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yes and yes. So how does he handle that? And you have just a lot of this fascinating, I think even in the prayers of King David where he kind of is the highest legal authority in the land, so to speak as King, still yearning for justice and crying out to God to provide justice and God to provide salvation.

And Jesus there in first Peter 2 are talking about when they hurled their insults, he didn't retaliate. When he suffered, he didn't threaten. Instead, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. That actually taking it on the chin a little bit doesn't make sense unless you do believe that there is a God who judges.

Cameron McAllister: Right.

Nathan Rittenhouse: And I've sort of been mauling over this interesting little line in the Proverbs where he writes that the poor and the oppressor both have this in common. The Lord has given them both sight. And at first you're like, "Well that's a weird line." The poor and the oppressor have this in common. The Lord has given them both sight.

And I think the point of that is if God can give sight to them than certainly God sees. If God can give sight to humanity, then we're talking about a God who knows all and sees all things and so the poor and the oppressor have this in common. God has given them sight is saying, "Hey, you know what? For both the poor person and the oppressor, God knows and God sees." And it's a statement of hope actually, that there is a justice that transcends our legal system which is phenomenally hopeful.

That doesn't mean we just give up on it now. But it does say that even when we miss it and we don't get it right as humans, or injustices do happen in our lives, that ultimately that a justice delayed is not a justice denied.

And within the Christian framework of saying there too, that you know what, why doesn't justice always happen immediately? And I think the reason for that is that a delay of justice is necessary for the reality of forgiveness.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Now we're talking about a gospel of forgiveness and saying, you know what? You can cross the line. You can violate your purpose. You can violate the sanctity of something else and punishment isn't meted out on you immediately. But you are given time to repent, to be forgiven, and to be reconciled and restored.

And so Christianity is going to have to come to terms with our own heritage in the life of our main role model as far as what it means to be different, of what it means to have conviction that's contrary to the culture, about what it means to suffer and what it means to have hope in the midst of that as part of our witness about what it is that we actually really mean. Not because it's convenient, but because we think it's true.

Cameron McAllister: Yep. So in other words, a people who are citizens of heaven, what does it actually mean to be, to have our identity fundamentally formed by Christ and his church? We talked a while ago about the Benedict option, which there's, there's been a mixed response to that, but those were some of the questions on the forefront of that book. And that was a fairly popular book.

So I think there are more and more people thinking along these lines because we've sensed the change in atmosphere and mood and maybe perhaps the turning of the tide.

But yeah, the remarks you made about justice are very, very timely and very helpful. Unless we're resting in the justice of our Lord, all I can see is just a life of either total hopelessness or total blind rage. And we're seeing plenty of that too. But also, yeah, that note about God's timing, the way I would put it is I want swift justice for everyone else.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah. Yeah. For sure.

Cameron McAllister: And so, yeah, in our more introspective moments, we can just look at...I keep coming back to this over and over again, Nathan and I've said this in another series that's about to come out on vital signs though, that the more I look at scripture, the more I look at my own life, for all of the bad publicity that Christians get for judgmentalism and for divine wrath, especially if people are looking at the old Testament. Of course, a lot of these old Testament critics overlook the book of Revelation too. But yeah, for all of that, the continued struggle that I always have is not, it's with grace.

I have no problem with condemnation. I'm really good at. It comes really, really naturally to me. And again, but then when I look at my own life for some reason I'm always the exception. But I just think it's interesting. I'm just so grateful as a Christian that my life is in the hands of the impartial and merciful judge and also that justice is in his hands as well.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah.

Cameron McAllister: And that doesn't mean immediate eradication of all the pain and suffering that we'll experience, especially those of us who have been victims of real injustice. But it does mean a kind of rest that is not available anywhere in this world.

Nathan Rittenhouse: I think even apart from the long-term satisfaction of it, there's an immediate sense too of I kind of have...So we rent a house from a family that we know and so they moved out, but only partially. So a lot of their tools and stuff are still in the garage here. And it's funny for me how many times I get into some little do it yourself project and think, "Man, I wish I had this tool." And I go out and look around in the garage and pull up an open a drawer and find exactly the tool that I needed and I just laugh. I'm like, "This is awesome."

And for me, being a Christian is a little bit like that too, where actually I do have access to the tools because of the household that I live in. And so the hopeful element in this conversation of how do we interact with culture is that the tools are in the box and in our shed so to speak.

It's right there for us, that Christ has modeled this for us. He's left us his teaching on how to handle this. We have the example of the early church and Christians throughout all history. And so we don't need to reinvent the wheel on this. A lot of this just needs to, we need to say, "Okay, what is the tool that I need?" And then diligently study and see that it's right there for us.

So yeah, will it be difficult? Absolutely. And will you scuff your knuckles and trying to put this thing back together? Absolutely. But the tools that we have are there for the most part. And that's an encouraging thing for me. And again, it goes back to your reason of why it's helpful to be in church because I'm reminded of what's in the toolbox even when things look gloomy to me.

Cameron McAllister: Yeah. I mean a wonderful, a faithful church can show you all the wealth of tools that you didn't realize you had. So it's a beautiful thing. And my other takeaway from that is that Nathan experiences moments of profound and deep wisdom and inspiration and revelation while he's looking for tools. Whereas I would just think, "Where the heck is this tool?" And just get more and more frustrated.

So there you go, nice little challenge to me and my attitudes. But thanks for hanging with us for this discussion. We hope it's helpful to you. We hope it's practical. We hope that this is actually describing some of your experiences and what you're working through right now.

Nathan Rittenhouse: Yeah, and don't hear us complain. Hear us attempting to be encouraging by defining and articulating maybe something that you've sensed to be true-

Cameron McAllister: Yeah.

Nathan Rittenhouse: In your life and the world around you.

Cameron McAllister: You're definitely not alone. And yeah, this business of being a Christian, it's wonderful. But it is work. But again, you're not meant to do it alone. You do it through the empowerment of the Holy spirit. You do it with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

So there may be fierce individualism and rugged sort of cowboy mentality surrounding you, but that's not our story. And actually it might sound fun and tantalizing, but it's actually something that you need to be liberated from. So yeah, I'm hoping, yeah, we do hope this is encouraging to you and thank you so much for tuning in. But you have been, just in case you have forgotten, you've been listening to Thinking Out Loud, the podcast where we think out loud about current events and Christian hope.

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