It can be a curious exercise to watch the ongoing battle over faith and values.
What does faith mean in the public square?
How are our public values to be informed and shaped?
Do values have to do with only matters of human sexuality? Or, should we broaden the conversation to include other crucial community matters?
Anyone who has been reading here for any time at all knows where I come down on these questions.
Yesterday I enjoyed a very unusual experience. I had been invited to meet with a group of teenagers from the Lake Highlands Church here in Dallas.
The group was on their annual summer mission trip. The unique thing about their "trip" this summer was that they stayed in town to explore as many mission possibilities right here in Dallas as they could find.
I was extremely impressed with this group of wonderful young people. I was amazed by their focus, their praise and worship time and their incredibly mature view of what life purpose involved.
After I spoke, several of the teens approached me to share their insights and, as they put it, "what the Lord had said to them" in the morning's events.
One young woman pointed me to an ancient Hebrew text found in Jeremiah 22:16.
Speaking of King Josiah of Judah, the prophet said,
"He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? says the Lord."
I find those words both gripping and telling for people in search of direction when it comes to civic values and faith.
The Judeo-Christian faith and value system addresses many matters.
The cause and the harsh reality of the poor are never left out by those who really understand.