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Our Francis, Too
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Papa Francesco! In the damp darkness of St. Peter's Square, the crowds chanted his name when Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, was named the new pope. Seldom has a religious leader been embraced so warmly across the Christian world, including by many evangelicals. Seldom has hope risen so high so quickly. And the hope has arisen for good reason.

Since the Reformation, many of the names chosen by popes—Pius, Clement, Leo, Urban, even Benedict—sound quaint to non-Catholic ears. But the humble Francis of Assisi is a saint for everyone. Francis challenged the church of his day—not by conforming to the standards of the world but by returning to the pattern of Jesus, the one who did not seek status but humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross (Phil. 2:5–11).

Early on, in a radical act of dispossession, Francis broke decisively with his former life as a soldier and playboy. He stripped off his clothes and ran out of the bishop's palace stark naked, saying, "I will no longer be called the son of Pietro Bernardone. From now on I shall say simply, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.' "

We see already an intimation of Saint Francis in Pope Francis. There is his simple apparel: black street shoes instead of the calfskin red of his predecessors, simple white cassock minus gold-embroidered accessories. In addition, a pope who lives in a modest guest house (versus the spacious papal apartments), worships on Maundy Thursday with young prisoners, and who embraces hiv/aids patients in a hospice follows in the steps of il poverello, "the poor one," as Saint Francis was called.

Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973, ...

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Contra Mundum
Chuck Colson & Timothy George

Charles Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers. Colson, who converted to Christianity before he was indicted on Watergate-related charges, became one of evangelicalism's most influential voices. His books included Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? A Christianity Today columnist since 1985, Colson died in 2012.

Timothy George is the dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and a member of Christianity Today's Editorial Council. His books include Reading Scripture with the Reformers and Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? Like Colson, George has been heavily involved in the Evangelicals and Catholics Together discussions. George began cowriting "Contra Mundum" with Colson in 2011.

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Our Francis, Too
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June 2013

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