“A world with no mercy or grace is an ugly world indeed. And we’re building that world for ourselves, brick by brick.”Ben Shapiro, “A World without Forgiveness”
When people ask me how I transitioned from practicing law to pastoring churches, the short answer invariably is, “Well, God called me from law to grace.” I’m not sure how I came up with that pithy phrase, but is has been a great conversation starter over the years. And, beginning in July 2010, it also became the title of this blog.
Much has changed since I published my first post, “Welcome to From Law to Grace.” One of the main reasons why I started this blog in the first place — to add my voice to the conversation surrounding major changes in the Southern Baptist Convention (see here, here, here , and here) — is, by and large, no longer applicable. In the heyday of “The Great Commission Resurgence,” I passionately argued for upholding certain principles that I feared were at risk of being swept away in the rush to “modernize” and reform the SBC (see here, here, and here). Thankfully, most of those fears were never fully realized and I continue to strongly support the Southern Baptist Convention and its missions and ministries today.
The other reason why I started From Law to Grace is even more relevant today than it was 8 1/2 years ago — to comment on and discuss the intersection of law, politics, pop culture, and religion in America today. From cultural and legal approval of same-sex marriage to proliferating attacks on religious liberty to the ever-increasing post-Christian, anti-God popular culture reflected in movies, television, books, and music, we are witnessing worlds — or at least worldviews — collide in ways that we thought were unimaginable just a few short years ago. How else to explain the election and Presidency of one Donald J. Trump? For some, the election of Donald Trump is a symptom of the badly broken, deeply toxic political and cultural environment that we find ourselves in at present. For others, the Trump Presidency is not just a symptom, but rather the root cause of our nation’s ills.
As a former “never Trumper” (see here and here), I believe the Trump Presidency — the good, the bad, and the ugly — is the natural result of the collision of entrenched worldviews that are, more often than not, diametrically opposed to one another. Apart from conversations on social media, most people rarely interact in any meaningful way with those who hold opposing worldviews. We are not challenged to cultivate personal relationships outside of our own “tribe.” We only rely on news sources that conform to our existing worldview. And, we are much more likely to harshly judge our opponents and “enemies” while giving more grace (and sometimes an outright pass) to our allies and friends.
Echoing Ben Shapiro’s sentiment, we do not need less mercy and grace as we build our nation, but rather more. But, what does that look like in the age of Trump? How do we engage in public debate and discussion on the intersection of the law, politics, pop culture, and religion in America today in a way that is both grace-filled and truthful? How can we push back against the forces of darkness that seek to divide and destroy while at the same time upholding the best traditions of freedom and democracy, including a robust expression of free speech in the public square? How one answers those questions depends largely on the worldview that one holds.
My worldview continues to be Biblical, Conservative, and Evangelical Christian, informed by my life experiences in the worlds of law and grace. Hence, my posts will reflect that worldview — always passionately, sometimes sharply, but hopefully always charitably. Although not every reader will share my outlook on life or on the pressing (and not so pressing) topics of the day, I invite you to question, challenge, or disagree, but to do so in an “agreeable” manner.