There’s a lot of doom-and-gloom talk about the loss of American religious freedom, but I for one am excited about the whole thing.
I don’t mean in a golly-gosh, let’s-be-like-first-century-Christians sort of way, and I don’t mean to diminish real life-and-death persecution happening elsewhere. But really: this is the long overdue spank we need on our angry little Western bottoms.
Eight reasons why this “persecution” is a good thing.
1) We can stop being mad about the wrong things.
When you get irritated that the free wifi at Starbucks stopped working: that’s not some civil right you deserve. Religious freedom is a privilege that many of us in the world die for. For us to be mad about “Happy Holidays” while third-world Christians are imprisoned and beheaded is ridiculously unbalanced. To stand up for Chick Fil A while there are 27 million slaves in the world is really missing the whole point. We can prioritize what’s important again and stop taking all our current freedom for granted. We can once again major in the majors.
2) We can more thoroughly discover the haters and lovers in the church.
When Christians are provoked, we find out what’s inside. Most of us react predictably in fear, blame, paranoia, and isolation — we get loud and stupid. But the loving Christians keep on loving, and they will be the remnant who will keep the light shining. We will finally highlight the “True Scotsmen.”
3) We must humbly re-assert the value of our faith.
We no longer live in a culture where Christian values are mainstream. Weddings and funerals and counseling are not happening at church anymore. We’re in a post-Christian society with plenty of anger at the church, and our churches can’t keep speaking Christianese. We are now missionaries in our homeland, and we must catch up with the times.
4) Maybe we’ll finally galvanize our unity and wake up from slumber.
If we’re really so upset about “losing our faith” to culture, then maybe we can use this provocation to energize our churches towards the right direction instead. As a place of healing, of unity, a hospital. We can re-create a church that matters, one that loves and responds with gracious reason and invites every walk of life in the doors. We can destroy isolationalist tactics and find our oneness again, both for the culture and with the church abroad.
5) We can finally separate church and state.
When the church is given too much power, that never works out well. In the 80s and 90s, major church leaders were gaining influence over politics and policy. Society largely backlashed the other way and began fighting the abuse of power (and rightfully so). The church still scrambles for legislation and dogmatic policies as if this gives them more credibility—and we’re realizing this can’t work. When we control culture instead of integrating, we become ambassadors of the self instead of endorsing the truth and love of God. Now that we’re being forced out, we can get back to our humble servant positions.
6) We can quit all this false “my-side/your-side” dichotomy.
I absolutely hate it when any preacher appeals to the church by slamming politicians, secularism, liberals, pro-choicers, and the messed-up youth. You see most of the church in agreement, shaking their heads at all those “horrible people.” Many churches will keep doing this, but some will realize they’ve alienated masses of people — and we’ll have to engage culture with a better approach. You know, like Jesus did.
7) We can completely re-ground our faith with depth and sincerity.
Jesus said we would be persecuted. I don’t think American Christians are necessarily being “persecuted” by all these gradual changes: but I do believe that when the heat is on, we become a deeper people. We can no longer choose to be lukewarm. Soon, it’s either all in or all out. And to me, that’s a good thing. Our faith has always thrived under pressure.
8) We’ve had it too easy.
Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews have had it downright terrible in this country. We can pretend this isn’t true, but they’re constantly vilified whether subconsciously or in media or in your dinner conversation. I don’t say this as a masochistic death-wish, but I do think Christians have just frolicked on way too long. We can’t relate to the persecution towards other groups of people: and we’ve partaken in bashing them too.
It’s about time we understand how Jesus lived, how he was rejected and abandoned at every corner, and finally then we can truly learn to love those who oppose us in the most desperate of times. It’s not real love if everyone already accepts us. Actual love takes sacrifice, empathy, crossing over, and stepping outside our comfort zone. Real love will cost: and the real followers of Jesus will love gladly.
26 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why I’m Excited About All The “Persecution””
In the West, we have largely forgotten how adversity breeds strength because everyone is afraid of making things “hard”. But the adversity is building and it will be, at bottom, good for God’s people. Though they won’t like it much.
Thank you for your transparency, sir. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Definitely agreed. I’ve been going through Tim Keller’s Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering and he makes note of our constant disdain for adversity. A pain-free life always leads to immaturity and a lack of depth. Not that we’re striving to be hurt all the time, but we can’t be sheltered from all that happens: and that’s when we choose to grow from it or not.
Good stuff, man. With Christianity no longer being “mandatory” in American culture, the dross is falling off and the fakes are being exposed. So really, it’s more of a revelation of Christianity rather than a destruction of it. Who’s really in it to win it and who just wanted to look good.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, and I hope that we have enough grace even for the fakes to come around.
Talking like this can get you pummeled. Because it is true, very true. The last statistics I saw show 40% of Americans go to church. In Canada the number is barely 20%!
The denomination I am still legally attached to is the United Church of Canada. The official stands it takes are so far from the faith that even a court case ruled the UCC can no longer claim legal or historical ownership of the Wesley/Methodist tradition in Canada!
One of our own home-bred church growth experts spoke at an official church business meeting and said he hopes the UCC keeps doing what it is doing, and even more. That way it will collapse sooner and something spiritual may arise from the debris.
I will keep you in prayer because if you live and teach this the devil has a target pasted on your backside. At least I had one there and got stabbed in the back many times until I was “dead” to the church. So now my ministry is to those who truly serve Jesus without religious loyalty. That can happen in a congregation, but the institution has abandoned the Head of the Church and replaced it with in-house agendas.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you always for your honesty. I hate to be an alarmist, and I think even the low church attendance is only exposing who those who went to church to keep up their reputation. Since being irreligious is so much more accepted, the church buildings are being emptied of pseudo-believers anyway. My hope is that they also realize they’re probably rejecting a false Christianity, and that they would find the real thing.
That too is true. I always stand in great hope for revival. That happens once in awhile!
Reblogged this on Concierge Librarian.
Very real talk
Thank you, dear friend! It was a tough one to write.
Our youth Pastor delivered message on point 4 yesterday. We do need to awaken and perhaps that has begun. I like your point about the lovers and haters. I think who’s who at surprise us.
May surprise us…That is.
I wish I could’ve heard it. It’s an understandable fear; it’s hard to realize we’ve been given a mission. But we’re definitely not alone in that.
A standing ovation from me!!! Please permit me to republish on The Spotlight…
Hello Ufuoma! Thank you and definitely. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ve never quite understood the “persecution of Christianity” in the US. By comparison, simply being ostracized and marginalized by the more vocal opinions does not equate to persecution. Little if any religious freedoms have been removed, and those that are challenged are still being protected by law.
I think the majority of those who speak of being “persecuted” in our society are simply afraid that recent trends in politics being a slippery slope against people of faith and religion.
Right on. If anything, there are other groups that have been much more diminished and demonized than the Christian church in the West. I think the “persecution complex” is just an easy way to rile up Western Christians into thinking they’re doing something. It’s the best spiritual pogo stick ever.
We absolutely live in a mission field. It is a great post. It is a great day to be a Christian. A mission field is wide open with people who need to see and hear the clear message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. When we have it good we tend to fight other denominations and fight culture wars. Under pressure all that matters is Jesus.
Yes! Missionaries from Korea and other places have been coming to the US for a while now to evangelize.
Reblogged this on Decoded: 666 – The Beast Unraveled.
John 15:18 needs to be read, discussed, and applied within context. I and some friends have been praying for persecution to come to the American church, because it needs to be purified and strengthened. The church is always stronger when it is under fire.
Perhaps its time that we stop being the American church and start being the church in America…
Your last line: good stuff.
Reblogged this on I Know What We Need and commented:
I have been thinking about our culture and the ‘decline’ of Christianity a lot lately. This post is powerful and I agree with most of this. I love point number 3. Enjoy.
Thank you for sharing it!
LikeLiked by 1 person