The Next Christians

Creating Cultural Good

When it comes to renewing the culture, it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

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Chuck  Colson

Gabe Lyons is one of today’s truly promising young evangelical leaders. He’s a graduate of our first Centurions class, and filmed with me a six-part DVD series on my book The Faith. I appreciate Gabe’s fidelity to Scripture and his focus on the fundamental truths of Christianity. But what’s really exciting is how he’s applying the Truth in new ways, ways that really speak to young people.

Ten years ago, Gabe and Rebekah Lyons received a scary diagnosis: Their newborn son, Cade, had Down syndrome. But as Gabe writes in his new book, The Next Christians, “Cade has taught us so much about life and love. His smile and delight bring a warmth to our world we never knew could exist.” Well the Colson family has experienced the same thing with my autistic grandson, Max.

The Lyons were shocked to find out that 90 percent of all mothers faced with a Down syndrome diagnosis end up aborting, often under pressure from doctors and the insurance companies.

The Lyons wanted to find a better way, so they and some friends produced a booklet titled Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis. It included photos that “captured the extraordinary and quite normal lives individuals with Down syndrome lead.” It also addresses the concerns of parents reeling from a Down diagnosis and points them to parents of Down syndrome children who can offer advice and support.

The booklet was delivered to the office of every Ob-gyn in town, and the doctors agreed to use the booklets in an effort to be more sensitive to parents facing a frightening diagnosis.

In creating it, the Lyonses were consciously creating a solution instead of finding someone to blame. A small way, but one that helps restore the broken creation.

As Gabe told the Christian Post, “It was just using my gifts in storytelling and photography... But this is what Christians have to do everywhere. They show up to counter the corruption overflowing in our world and not just talking about how bad it is, but saying, let’s be a part of displaying for people what the Kingdom of God might look like when it shows up.”   

Lyons points to other Christians who are not merely condemning cultural rot, but creating signs of the kingdom. For instance, a believer named Jamie Tworkowski founded a nonprofit called To Write Love On Her Arms. It provides hope and help to people who deal with depression and self-injury. The nonprofit is being funded by the sale of a T-shirt identifying this problem, especially among young girls.

This new generation of Christians is taking seriously the biblical command to help restore God’s broken creation. Rather than demonstrating, boycotting, or voting for the “right” candidate, they are “restoring the truth, goodness, and beauty that’s been lost” in the culture. They’re creating art, films, music, media —“anything,” Lyons writes, “that incarnates Christ and communicates . . . restoration.”

Lyons agrees with cultural commentator Andy Crouch that the only way to change culture is to create more of it. How right they are.

How are you addressing the brokenness of our culture? Are you merely criticizing it from the safety of your home or office — or getting creative about restoring our world to what God intended?

I hope you’ll read The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. You’ll discover new ways to interact with the culture — and ways to use your own God-given talents to bind up the wounds of a world in chaos.

Further Reading and Information

The Faith DVD
Charles W. Colson | Zondervan, 2008

The Next Christians
Gabe Lyons  | Doubleday Religion, 2010

To Write Love on Her Arms

Gabe Lyons on Real Christians
Katherine T. Phan | Christian Post | June 7, 2011

Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Dancing with Max
Emily Colson | Zondervan 2011


Way to go Gabe!
I really appreciate what Gabe is doing. We found our our son Noah had Down syndrome on Dec 15, 2011. Like Gabe we wanted to help the world see that life is much more "normal" then un-normal. So we do a daily one minute video every day on our website - http://noahsdad.com

We are finding that this site gives the world a window into what it's like raising a child with Down Syndrome, and are asking God to keep using it!
Aborting Babies
It is so sad that many in the churches who claim to be christians ignore the words of our LORD YAHSHUA that those who inflict pain on others will have that pain visited on them in Eternity unless they repent and undo the harm they have done. Which is what many are doing in the USA after seeing a Video of a baby being aborted. This is one of the biggest lies of the 20th century that the baby is only a foetus.
Okay, found the booklets:

Lisa, I'm looking into that for you.

I deleted your e-mail address. It's our policy not to print those, in order to guard our commenters' privacy.
Booklets on Down Syndrome
Hello! I, too, have a precious, almost 3-year-old, son with Down Syndrome. I was certainly pressured by my doctor to abort him, hearing that he would be "such a trauma" to our other 8 children. I knew then, and even more now, that the doctor was WRONG! Nate is a great treasure to his siblings and all who know him. He is a precious gift from God. Knowing that 90% of babies like him are never given a chance at life truly breaks my heart, both for the baby and for the family who will never experience the amazing love these children have.
I was wondering if the booklets about Down Syndrome you described are available to the public. I would love to be able to distribute them to my doctors and the other OB/GYNs in my area. If we can somehow bring forth the truth to families receiving a DS diagnosis, maybe we can save the lives of many babies! Thanks for your help!
Lisa Hazelton