Getting the Message Through

  From the Reformation onward, Protestants have often been accused of giving the arts short shrift. But today a group of Christian artists is demonstrating how artistic gifts can be used as a healing agent for the church. Kathryn Graham is a Canadian singer and songwriter with a deep concern for Christians who are persecuted for their faith. For years, Kathryn did everything she could to learn about and help publicize their plight. But two years ago she came up against an unpalatable fact: The message was simply not getting through to ordinary citizens. But get through it must. Today Christians are being sold into slavery in Sudan; pastors are being beaten and thrown into prison in China; and believers in India and Indonesia are tortured and murdered. Yet in today's climate of intolerance toward Bible-believing Christians, few Americans seem to care. As Kathryn Graham explained to BreakPoint, "I wanted to find a way to make persecution real to all classes of people, from steelworkers to Oxford academicians." Her solution was to found a creative services agency called MakePeace International. It's dedicated to using the arts to raise public awareness of global persecution and to inspire action on behalf of its victims. Kathryn's first project was to put together a CD called Crosses Are Burning. It's a collection of stories about the worldwide persecution of Christians, told by people deeply involved in the fight against it -- people like Baroness Caroline Cox, Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute, Dr. Ravi Zacharias, former Time magazine bureau chief David Aikman, and myself. Kathryn composed and sang the song that gives the CD its title. One provocative passage identifies two elements that are holding up progress in the fight against persecution: a lust for profits, and poll-driven politics. Kathryn sings: Crosses are burning, Heads now are turning, as we take the planet's temperature on TV. Crosses are burning, is the government learning? Profit cannot cure all our disease. The song is intended to get listeners beyond the dry facts and figures about persecution. As Kathryn notes, "Art is a wonderful bridge, because it bypasses the intellect and reaches directly into the imagination. It brings truth to the deepest part of us, where we can really listen and be inspired to act." MakePeace has also sponsored a traveling photographic exhibit that starkly exposes persecution's horrors. A recent Holocaust remembrance event used drama to remind people of what happens when we ignore the persecution of religious minorities. In the planning stage is a United Nations exhibit featuring persecution-themed sculpture, paintings, and poetry. MakePeace International is a reminder that we all have gifts that we should be using on our Lord's behalf. As sociologist Os Guinness put it, "Our gifts are ultimately God's.... This is why our gifts are always 'ours for others,' whether in the community of Christ or the broader society outside, especially the neighbor in need." If you call BreakPoint, we'll tell you how you can order a copy of Crosses Are Burning. It will teach you how you can help the persecuted church -- and at the same time will inspire you to use your own unique gifts to further the cause of Christ.


Chuck Colson



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