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We tend to shut down the ears of people to hear the Gospel because they only see you in a political context or as a conservative. Christianity must transcend politics in order to change the culture and politics.

We are not entitled to run the world: How often have we fretted over the outcome of a particular situation – an election, an illness, a situation at work? Many of us are type A personalities who want to maintain control over every situation of life. Especially when it comes to politics a strange thing happens. We can easily become obsessed with power, being in charge, and getting our way. I know some of you will argue, “I’m not trying to push my way but the Lord’s way.” While there may be some truth to that statement, we still need to closely examine how we engage, remembering that the ends never justify the means.

Who said the above? Take a guess. Likely, it is not who you think! I’m scrolling down and leaving a space before I give you the answer…

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The above statements were made by Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family. Surprised? I am pleased by the new approach that is being taken by Jim Daly. Now, I must clarify, that I do not think James Dobson was necessarily wrong in his approach in former times. It is just that times change, and sometimes our approach or methods must change as a result.

By the way, Jim Daly is taking criticism from some Christians for his new approach. He just can’t win, can he? Because Focus on the Family is also criticized by certain secular forces! They take the heat from the right AND the left! I think Jim Daly and Focus on the Family need our prayers and encouragement.

Ya know, much of Focus on the Family’s ministry isn’t actually about the big, controversial issues! Rather, most of their ministry is just about helping families. But based on the lopsided attention and criticism they get, you would think that 95% of what they do is about fighting gay people. Geesh!

A syndicated column by James Dobson used to be in a local secular newspaper, and the columns were just practical, down-to-earth advice for families on parenting. (By the way,  Dobson has a doctorate in child development, is a licensed psychologist, was a professor of pediatrics, and raised children of his own. Certainly he is competent to give advice to families.)  The columns were not overtly religious. If someone reading them had no clue who James Dobson was, they’d likely not realize it was a Christian ministry! Yet, complaints came in that the paper had a column by an “extremist organization” and the column was pulled as a result. I was really surprised this happened because I live in the Bible belt. I think many local families lost out on getting helpful advice.

But even with the minority of work they do on more controversial issues, they are still often unfairly perceived. About 8 or 9 years ago, I attended a Focus on the Family “Love Won Out” conference. This is a weekend conference about the issue of homosexuality and how friends and families can best respond. The conference I attended had several “spies” from the other side present. One of the spies wrote a surprisingly honest article afterwards admitting that the conference was not what they expected at all. They expected to hear hate-filled rhetoric all weekend! Instead, they admitted that the atmosphere was rather one of compassion and care. Yes, they totally disagreed with how Focus on the Family teaches that homosexuality is sinful, yet the speakers and attendees were trying to…understand, build bridges, and be compassionate…not hate.

So, this is my defense of Focus on the Family. I’m not saying they are a perfect organization. When James Dobson was still president, I had become concerned that they were becoming too focused on political issues and I pulled back from them some. But I think Jim Daly is making appropriate adjustments based on current cultural trends. Thanks for listening. By the way, Jim Daly has a new book out called ReFocus that addresses some of these issues.

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