The wind was high and leaves were collecting on the flat rooftop of the metal building that houses American Family Association’s unassuming headquarters in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was in the early days of my employment at AFA. Thirteen years later, the image is still vivid.
Having forgotten something on my desk after leaving the office that day, I pulled up to a side entrance with the intention of running in and out. But I stopped … stunned. A crew of radio engineers was on top of the building trying to clear the piles of leaves, and 60-something-year-old Don Wildmon was right there with them, broom in hand.
He did not expect of them something he was not willing to do himself. Perhaps he was keeping tabs on their work; actually, I’m sure he was. But seeing Brother Don (as we affectionately call him) up there alongside his employees was so much more to me. It was a picture of humility, commitment, responsibility, respect, selflessness, meekness, and most of all faithfulness … to his calling, to his work.
Don Wildmon is truly a servant and a leader, and I’m honored to call him my boss, my example, and my friend. So I was equally as honored when I was asked to compile and edit his most recent book titled Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon.
From the late 1970s through 2010, Bro. Don wrote hundreds of columns for AFA Journal. Thirty-one of his best columns are now available in this recently published collection. These columns represent his timeless wisdom and insight.
“Dad has many talents, but one of his greatest is his writing,” said son Tim Wildmon, president of AFA. “Many people don’t know that he had a syndicated column in papers across the country back in the late 1960s and early ’70s and also wrote inspirational books that sold 500,000 copies.”
Although he wrote about the current issues at hand at the time, he did so in a way that made his underlying message memorable, ageless, and applicable even now – decades later.
“Most of the time, I tried to put a twist on what I wrote,” Bro. Don told me. “I would tell a story, then I would back off, and then I would get down to the last sentence and give you the unexpected.”
Tim compares his father’s writing style to the ways of the late ABC radio broadcaster Paul Harvey.
“He wrote a lot like Paul Harvey spoke,” Tim said. “And Dad has always had a gift for using wit to communicate wisdom and Christian principles.”
Such wit and wisdom fill the 100+ pages of Our Call to Faithfulness, as does an introduction from Tim and an in-depth interview with Bro. Don that gives readers a glimpse into areas of his life that are not often talked about or seen.
Each of the 31 columns found in Our Call to Faithfulness will now be brought to readers of The Stand every week over the next several months. A new column will be posted each Friday, starting today, August 4. You can read the first column below.
“I know readers will be strengthened in their Christian walk by taking the time to read these timeless columns,” Tim said.
The Enemy Is Us by Don Wildmon
APRIL 1986 - The comic strip character Pogo once had a saying: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Truly, the same could be said for the Christian community. We are our worst enemy. There is a war going on unlike any war we have ever fought in our society. It is a spiritual war, a war for the hearts and minds of mankind. Many Christians are either unaware or indifferent to that war. The struggle will determine whether the Christian view of man will continue to serve as the foundation for our society.
I have no easy cliché answers to the problem, but I think that after nearly 10 years I have some perspective that might not be seen (and sometimes not shared) by others. We have neglected the cross, the Christian symbol of suffering and redemption. We have attempted to make Christianity compatible with any and all other religions – secularism, materialism, humanism, etc. We have attempted to make Christianity something it is not – a vehicle to worldly success, worldly contentment, worldly happiness.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). It is as valid today as it was 2,000 years ago.
There is a move – a massive move – afoot in our society to eliminate the influence of Christianity. It is fueled not only by people who are apathetic to the Christian faith but by many who are hostile to the Christian faith.
Even so, our own worst enemy is us. We have been negligent in our thinking. We have, too much, bought the old clichés.
You can’t legislate morality. Yet every law on the books is a legislation of morality.
You should not mix politics and religion. And we haven’t. Keeping our Christian faith private, we have allowed a situation where 1.5 million unborn babies have their lives snuffed out each year.
You should keep religion out of the schools, even as it provides a moral base. And we have. But those who would eliminate the influence of Christianity have not. They have pushed their religion of secularism, materialism, and humanism into the schools.
According to Dr. Paul Vitz of New York University, those responsible for our textbooks “appear to have a deep-seated fear of any form of active contemporary Christianity.” In the process, while complaining about censorship, they have censored Christianity to the point that in most children’s textbooks it doesn’t exist at worst, or it doesn’t matter at best. It plays no role, gets no notice, from those who prepare the textbooks for our school children. We have allowed others, who don’t share our view of life and are openly hostile to it, to do our most serious thinking.
We have, nearly without a whimper, accepted television entertainment and movies that continually mock and belittle Christianity and Christians. We have allowed radio to air vulgar and violent music that Christians two decades ago would never have tolerated.
Our own worst enemy is us. There is no glory in fighting a war, even a spiritual war. There is only suffering and pain. Does the Christian community have enough of what it takes to turn this tide, to stop the decay of Western civilization?
Do we have enough Christians who are willing to pay the price, to make the sacrifices necessary so that they can provide the leadership needed in their pulpits, in their homes, and in their communities?
The answer to that question remains to be seen. And in the balance hangs the future of Western civilization.
Click here or call 877-927-4917 to order your own copy of Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon.