Salt and Light
December 1, 2018 | View PDF
It was Tuesday evening, one week prior to the November mid-term elections, and I was in attendance at the annual His Vessel Ministries Celebration Dinner listening to the featured speaker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Admittedly, I wasn’t a supporter of Gov. Huckabee during his most recent presidential campaign, my lack of enthusiasm due largely to how he had embraced the Common Core State Standards Initiative back in 2013 while numerous conservatives were fighting tooth and nail to stop it.
But this event wasn’t political, and this women’s ministry has become such an integral part of my spiritual walk, so I checked my political bias, knowing the only purpose of this dinner was to celebrate 17 years of ministry and generate much-needed funding to continue women’s discipleship teaching in the River Region, as well as sharing the love of Christ with those present.
As Gov. Huckabee spoke, his first calling as a minister was overwhelmingly
apparent, and as I listened to his message of the necessity for Christ followers to be “salt and light” to penetrate the darkness of our fallen world, I was reminded yet again how much darkness surrounds our culture. But instead of being overcome by a feeling of gloom, I heard encouragement in his words that night.
We know that salt in Biblical times served two purposes: to preserve and season food. As keeping rot and decay out of foods stored without modern refrigeration was likely the primary purpose, the analogous lesson from Jesus then and now is that Christians should be the salt by which we prevent the rot and decay of our culture. And, just as it was for His disciples in the days of Christ, being that salt and light isn’t easy or popular. Just ask University of California at Berkeley student Isabella Chow how difficult her life on campus is right now.
Ms. Chow is a student government senator who abstained from a largely symbolic vote brought by the LGBTQ+ campus community condemning the Trump administration for its proposed changes to Title IX to define gender as biological, unchangeable, and determined at birth. She explained that voting for the bill would compromise her Christian values and belief “that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman.”*
In Ms. Chow’s opinion, the bill would “promote a choice of identities” of which she does not agree to be right or of benefit for individuals, and would also promote organizations that do not uphold the values of her community. For the detailed reasons that she articulated without anger or malice towards those with whom she disagrees, and even condemning anyone using Christianity to harass or discriminate against others, she abstained from the vote. In short, Chow’s explanation completely reflected Christ as she acknowledged that all individuals deserve Christian love and respect regardless of their opinions.
Protests of angry outrage from students and organizations were as expected when opinions are in disagreement with leftist ideology, and UC-Berkeley, home of the 1964 Free Speech Movement, now ironically only welcomes free speech when it is of a liberal persuasion. Ms. Chow has been disassociated from her campus political party with calls to resign, and publicly denigrated by vicious personal attacks. Yet, she has not resigned her senate position, and has not retracted her statement of Christian beliefs, a display of courage so desperately needed on our college campuses and across our nation. Ms. Chow is an example to all as we attempt to be salt and light, not with combative and demeaning social media posting in which the desire to win an argument is greater than the way we treat each other, but reflective instead of grace AND truth.
After reading about Ms. Chow, I was reminded of Gov. Huckabee’s comments of our responsibility as Christ followers to be the salt and light of the world, and that while it is incredibly easy to cast blame on Hollywood or the politics of Washington, DC for our cultural decline, Huckabee correctly stated the real problem has been the failure of so many Christians to speak up and stand firm for Biblical truth. Unfortunately, it’s been much easier in our American and even Christian culture to be of the world as well as in it, and we then wonder why we are experiencing such chaos and rebellion in so many areas of life.
I am so encouraged by Isabella Chow, and her willingness to be salt and light in such a hostile environment for conservative Christians. How many of us of any age have that conviction in similar adverse conditions? Further, how many Christians are preparing their children and grandchildren to speak truth with grace, even when the cost of doing so can be enormous in worldly measure?
This is the month we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the One who came to bring light into a dark world, and the only One who can redeem us from our sins to restore us to a relationship with Father God. May His light shine over your family and our nation, and may we all demonstrate more courage, regardless of the backlash, to be salt and light such as Isabella Chow.
*Ms. Chow’s full statement is available on her Facebook page, Office of ASUC Senator Isabella Chow.
Marcia Chambliss has been involved in grassroots conservative politics since 2009 and has contributed opinion articles pertaining to politics and cultural issues to The
Alabama Gazette since 2010.