Hard despotism today: China's one-child policy. Soft despotism: Some Americans have one child or none, because social policies or financial fears have left them softened, bent, and guided. Hard despotism: Czar Putin persecutes Protestant groups in Russia. Soft despotism: Some American pastors self-censor their sermons to avoid offending those proudly engaged in what the Bible calls sin.
Christians with big families, and preachers with biblical firmness, are all on mad missions. There's no guarantee of success: One of my mad missions, compassionate conservatism, is an endangered species in Washington.
But the beauty of mad missions, from a Christian perspective, is that our desperate search for any sign of light forces us to rely on the only light source that overcomes clouds, fog, and the darkness that is nigh unto death. Why in Genesis does light exist before the sun does? Why in chapter 21 of Revelation does the new Jerusalem have "no need of sun or moon to shine on it"?
My latest mad mission is serving as provost of a small Christian college located in the Empire State Building, of all places. Manhattan is not the new Jerusalem, but millions of people in it, who now rely on Con Ed, may one day discover the city where there is no night because "its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk."
Chapter 6 of Isaiah: "Here am I! Send me."
Oh, I'm also sticking with WORLD, of course: It's the mad mission of a lifetime. Faithful readers, please keep signing up.