By Rhett Burns

“Shout on, pray on, we’re gaining ground—Glory, hallelujah!”

This line is from the American folk hymn I Know That My Redeemer Lives, one of many psalms and hymns we sang last weekend in Lebanon, Tennessee at the most recent Fight Laugh Feast conference. And the refrain captures well the spirit of the conference. 

We’re gaining ground. 

It may be slow, ignored by the headlines, or hard to see amidst all the crazy of our current world. But we are gaining ground. Kid by kid, business by business, psalm by psalm. With every faithful step, we take a small patch of dirt. The left has its own long march through the institutions, but that march ends under the feet of Jesus. Our march is upward toward the Heavenly Zion—and we are taking the entire earth with us. 

“Shout on, pray on, we’re gaining ground—Glory, hallelujah!”

Douglas Wilson commented that if a conference like this, themed The Politics of Sex, had been held twenty years ago, maybe twenty people would have showed up. We had 1300 come last weekend. 

More interesting is who those 1300 people are and what they do. The Fight Laugh Feast Conference doesn’t just draw pastors, but pilots, soldiers, farmers, salesmen, CEOs, investors, tech startup founders, homeschool moms, small business owners, software developers, truck drivers, and lots and lots of kids. I saw at least two career-oriented subgroups huddling up to talk about using their unique skills to take dominion in their domain: former and active duty military men and software engineers. 

This crowd didn’t come for a few free Crossway books and soft, winsome answers to our most pressing cultural issues. These were not people interested in appeasing our accusers and enemies. 

No, they are interested in taking ground. 

How do we go about doing that? What should we do? The overwhelming answer of the conference was: We keep doing. We put our hand to the plow at home and at work. We make things; we make people; we make profits. Then, with gratitude, we offer it all up to God as an offering of worship. 

All of the talks, in some way, pushed conference attendees toward action:

  • Toby Sumpter talked about the molotov cocktail power of marriage and family;
  • Voddie Baucham taught us to enjoy sex rightly;
  • Doug TenNapel implored people to not bury their talent, but to get out there and just do stuff;
  • David Bahnsen gave the basic economics lesson that people X production = economic growth, and so we need to up our people and production. 

All of these talks found cohesion in Douglas Wilson’s Friday night keynote: Gay Pulpits: The Politics of Feminism, Homosexuality, and Unfaithful Children. In this talk, Wilson painted our culture’s war as one against fruitfulness. Instead of a lush garden, secularism favors a moonscape. Instead of a teeming horde of kids, it prefers  barrenness. Instead of work, idleness. It promotes abortion, sodomy, socialism. It’s war with nature, reality, and God. 

And it’s all gay, which is to say, unfruitful. 

We, however, are called to fruitfulness. The Saturday SWAT Talk breakout sessions focused on a variety of fruitful endeavors: the domestic arts, political mobilization, fighting for the unborn, starting businesses, resisting woke capitalism, and more. 

But you might ask, given the conference theme, what does all this have to do with sex? I mean, Baucham’s talk on Critical Sex Theory was obvious, but what’s all this about business, work, and ecomonics? 

To ask is to admit secular culture’s truncated view of sex, one that is reduced to orgasm. But Christians know that sex is more than that. It’s tied to our creation as man and woman made in God’s image and commanded to be fruitful. 

And this affects all of life. We are men and women, not just in the bedroom, but in the boardroom, the laundry room, and any other room we walk into. Wherever we are, our task is to be fruitful there.  

As we scatter back across the country—to homes and schools and businesses and platoons and churches—our charge is to take the next step, the next patch of dirt, the next bit of ground. 

Glory, hallelujah. 


Rhett Burns (@rhett_burns) is an associate pastor and small business entrepreneur living in Greenville, SC with his wife and four kids. He publishes Get Your House In Order, a newsletter about building a household that lasts.

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