Grace Notes – Rx for ugly feet

Each week before the church service starts, I check in with my two favorite octogenarian sisters, two of the coolest older ladies I know. (Hi Jan and Pat!)

Most weeks we talk about cute comfortable shoes. One of the sisters laments that her feet are ugly, which is a problem I can relate to.

I’ll get back to the subject of ugly feet in a minute. In the North American church today, there are bigger problems  than ugly feet, although maybe that is the problem.

But first let’s talk about something some evangelicals are passionate about, and by passionate I mean rabid-angry fueled by hate, revenge and fear: the “culture wars.”

These wars are nothing new. Back in 1992, James Davison Hunter wrote a book called “Culture Wars,” and in 2010, “To Change the World,” both books about what he calls the Christian church’s misplaced efforts to go on the offensive to try to change the culture through political means.

As Hunter points out, “The (methods) of world changing among Christians today…are inherently flawed and therefore incapable of generating the change to which they aspire.”

He says the problem is a sense of entitlement to “greater respect, to greater power, to a place of majority status.

“This posture is a political psychology that expresses itself with the condemnation and denigration of enemies in the effort to subjugate and dominate those who are culpable,” he says.

A recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution showed that more than half of Republicans believe the country should be a “strictly Christian nation,” and that the U.S. government should declare America a Christian nation.

In other words, Congress should make a law respecting an establishment of religion?

As I see it, it’s one thing to want people to embrace the gospel and the free gift of grace Jesus offers. But it’s quite another to try to make it mandatory.

Because that’s not how it works, and Christians know that.

When the disciples of Jesus wanted to use their swords, or the time they wanted to call fire down from heaven to destroy the Samaritans who were against them, Jesus rebuked them saying, “You don’t know what kind of spirit is influencing you” (Luke 9:55).

One of the most well-known Bible verses is John 3:16: God so loved the world that he sent his Son who willingly died to pay the penalty for our sin so that whoever believes this will have a spiritually abundant life on earth and eternal life after this one ends (my paraphrase).

One of the least-known verses is what comes after that, John 3:17: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (The Message paraphrase).

The Voice paraphrase says it this way: “Here’s the point. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge it; instead, he is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.”

For Christians reading this, let me ask: How did YOU come to know Christ? I would bet it wasn’t by an angry evangelical forcing you to believe, but by the Holy Spirit opening your eyes, your mind and your heart, drawing you to the Cross.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).

As for ugly feet, the Bible has a remedy:

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

People are drawn to the Lord by the power of the Spirit not the legislature.

Nancy Kennedy can be reached at 352-564-2927 or by email at


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