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Owen Strachan: The Colson Way, reviewed by Kelly Monroe Kullberg

Chuck, however, was animated. He was aware of competing forces and said that Jesus calls us to unity and to function wisely and effectively as the Body of Christ in a confused and hurting world. I was invited to the Colson Center, where new and old friends discussed challenges and opportunities. Chuck encouraged my work to unite teams to build in ten pillars of culture — now called, The America Conservancy.

The Colson Way is unique in that Strachan unpacks Colson’s last few years and moves his vision forward to help light our way. Chuck understood our times. He faced a Hydra of aggressors. He navigated similar waters of government corruption, threats to the sanctity of life, and repression of free speech including sharing the gospel and its implications. He saw what was coming and he spoke with prophetic urgency.

Sometimes silence is golden. More often, silence is yellow. Cowards too often give up the ground of culture to more aggressive challengers, and to the destruction of human lives.

He was trying to wake us up. For this reason, approaching his 80th birthday, Chuck risked a long journey to Lansdowne, Virginia, not long after a surgery, to forge unity for strength in the time that is ours to lead.

To awaken and unify younger Christians — to help us become actual leaders — Chuck died with his boots on. The least we can do is pick up the torch.

My husband and I were among those with Chuck the day of his stroke. We had spent the afternoon with a few dozen leaders of Christian organizations. Chuck wanted us to default to collaboration. He saw the need for a united witness and projects for the Church’s survival and renewal against mounting odds. His vision was one of human flourishing in every sphere of culture. All agreed to this default to collaboration. To close the meeting he asked, “Does everyone agree to a united witness, and that we stand and work together?” Yes, we agreed. For clarity he asked again, “Does anyone not agree to a new kind of unity?” Silence. All agreed.

“What is the Church’s strategic plan for America? How can I volunteer?”

We broke for dinner. That evening Chuck welcomed a few hundred to the Colson Center’s annual Wilberforce Weekend. A few minutes into his keynote, at the podium, Chuck’s speech began to slow and to slur. He propped himself up by his elbows. He struggled to offer each word. These would be his last public words to anyone. Like seeds, his words fell into the minds and hearts of a new generation of public witnessing Christians.

Owen Strachan is associate professor of Christian Theology and director of the Center on Gospel and Culture at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

He wanted us to “break the spiral of silence” by speaking biblical truth and Christian worldview into an increasingly hostile and secular marketplace of ideas. He spoke of our need to find and to develop a more winsome and prophetic voice. He foresaw the power of encroaching totalitarianism that will not tolerate Christians and truth-seekers. When we understand that the Lord is on the throne, the rule and domain of kings and dictators is diminished. Autonomous man wants the throne for himself and will kill, steal and destroy to have it. Though he did not use these words, Chuck knew that a new cycle of the Tower of Babel is rising.

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Category: Fall 2015, Living the Faith

About the Author: Kelly Monroe Kullberg began The Veritas Forum at Harvard in 1992, now in nearly 200 universities in America, Canada, Europe and Asia. Veritas explores the world's hardest questions in relation to biblical truth and Jesus Christ. She taught senior electives at Harvard College in worldview through film while serving as a chaplain to the Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship from 1988 – 2000. Kullberg edited and co-authored the Boston Globe bestseller Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Christian Thinkers, and authored its autobiographical sequel Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas. In 2008, she co-authored A Faith and Culture Devotional: Daily Readings in Art, Science and Life. Passionate for cultural renewal, she is now developing The America Conservancy to unite leaders in a strategic plan for American renewal.

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