If I had to choose one word that sums up this issue of Christianity Today—besides Jesus, of course—it would be healing. Specifically, the healing of persons and groups that have been divided against one another.
Our cover story (p. 32), marking one year since the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, is on one level about forgiveness, both its power and its challenges. It’s about the mystery of suffering in a place named “God with us.” It’s about the racial wounds our nation has yet to salve. It’s about history, family, and worship. It is also about healing—the emotional, physical, and spiritual wholeness that God intends for his people, and that Emanuel has clung to, despite the evil committed against them.
On a very different topic, our profile of David Taylor is about a scholar healing the current estrangement between artists and the church. As Andrea Palpant Dilley (CT’s newest contributing editor) writes, “Artists often speak and work in ways remote from mass culture … many Christians find avant-garde art uninteresting and unrewarding. Taylor wants to draw the two sides together.” That’s why we call him “The Matchmaker,” starting on page 54.
In recent months, Wheaton College, based in Wheaton, Illinois, has received negative press for decisions and policies that some believe further current societal divides. Yet with refreshing candor, Wheaton graduate Tyler Streckert writes of being loved by staff, faculty, and students after coming out as gay. We believe stories like Streckert’s (p. 62) can serve as an example for other Christian colleges—and could heal the painful divides between local churches and LGBT communities.
On a related note, the “win-win” legal situation that editor Mark Galli envisions in this month’s editorial (p. 27) could do the same. As Galli writes, “We at CT hope leaders will press on to find solutions that protect both religious freedom and the civil rights of LGBT people.” This hope of ours rests in part in the desire to live in peaceable, healed relationship with our neighbors, even when we disagree.
Ultimately the Good News of Jesus is about healing—God in Christ making whole all that is broken and unwell in our hearts and in our world. In the words of N. T. Wright,
Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, [and] to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear, and suspicion.
Wherever you are, no matter how much is broken or unwell in your own life, may this issue of CT give you the hope of healing.
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