8 October, 2021

Streetlights

by | 9 November, 2020 | 1 comment

By Jon Wren

In the 18th century, some American cities began placing streetlamps in parks and at busy intersections to provide extra light and safety for their citizens. But the earliest lamps weren’t very efficient and had to be cleaned often due to the soot caused by the flame. In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin watched the lamps being cleaned and had an idea for a new design. He proposed using four flat panes of glass on the sides, a long funnel above to draw up the smoke, and crevices below to allow for air. Franklin’s lamp was brighter, cleaner, and more efficient—but it had one major problem: nobody in town wanted to use it!

After several failed attempts to convince city leaders of the new lamp’s benefits, Franklin decided to try something different. He built a lamp himself and set it up in front of his house for people to see as they passed by. Sure enough, Franklin’s lamp shone brighter and clearer than the other streetlamps. Within a few months, the city began replacing the old lamps with the new. That year, Franklin discovered a powerful truth: no suggestion or argument is as powerful as a good example.

In today’s world, there is no shortage of Christian suggestions or arguments. As believers, we can point to all kinds of books, websites, studies, and whole college courses filled with rational and reasonable arguments for the Christian faith. But if we’re honest, as Christ followers, we have to admit that there are far fewer good examples of people living their lives in a Christlike manner.

That’s why Communion is such an important and persuasive part of our faith. The act of coming together as Christian believers—even when we disagree about many less important matters—is a powerful witness to the world about what it means to follow Jesus. In a world filled with so much division, polarization, and tribalism, the example of Christians all around the world coming together for Communion might be the most powerful example there is! For as Christ himself told us, “You are the light of the world . . .” (Matthew 5:14).                

Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slowly.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

1 Comment

  1. Bob Kitchen

    The reference to Ben Franklin and the street light is a very good one. The lesson is that examples may show some “how” and “why” when so much teaching is just “what” (suggestions and arguments).

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Throwback Thursday: ‘How I Happened to Be a Minister’

In October 1943, Christian Standard shared approximately a dozen autobiographical sketches on “How I Happened to Be a Minister.” Here are two sketches by folks who served decades in Christian education—William Jessup and Dan Eynon.

Oct. 10 | Designated by God to Be High Priest

No one can simply decide they want to be a priest, let alone the high priest. God alone can do this. Not even Jesus just showed up and expected to serve in that office. He needed to be designated by God—and he was.

Oct. 10 | Application

Successful athletes keep playing in spite of minor aches and many battle their way back to health after suffering major injuries, David Faust writes. Likewise, serving the Lord requires perseverance through pain.

Follow Us