A few days ago I posted some thoughts on becoming a despised minority. Followers of Jesus are becoming legitimate targets for persecution. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not making a bid for sympathy, I’m only observing what seems to be a trend in the world, noting that what happens far away can also happen here — in some quarters it has already begun. As Christ-followers we may need to get used to it. Jesus coached His disciples on a day when He walked among us:
For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains. Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name.
Why does it seem justified in an increasing number of places? I suppose some of the malice directed toward the church could be because of hypocrisy within the institution. When an organization that claims to trade in purity demonstrates just the opposite, one could almost understand a retaliatory response. Or perhaps Christians have been perceived as the power elite that deserve to be knocked down a peg (see my post about the church and poverty). That certainly may be the case here in America where the church spent a couple of decades dabbling in politics, becoming drunk, or at least a little tipsy, with the power of it all only to discover that we had taken up Saul’s armor and not David’s five smooth stones.
I think in many places Jesus’ followers are a visible reminder of the Master who still stands as a living indictment against human greed, hatred and profligacy. Nobody likes to be told they ought not do what they wish; that they oughtn’t have what they want. Yet Jesus did that very thing as he cleared out the temple and accused the religious elite of hypocrisy, and called His followers to abandon their ties to this world and, if need be, take up their own cross and follow Him as He carried His. Moreover, He claimed to be the way, the truth and the life. Such presumption should be challenged, struck down, wherever a reminder of it is found, whether in a seven-year-old boy in India, a church in Nigeria, or a cathedral in Buenos Aires; on the lawn of a city hall in small town America, in a black church in the the South, or a Federal Courthouse in Wisconsin.
Followers of Jesus should take their parochial views on the world to a quiet corner and remain silent or, if possible, become invisible. If they insist on openly believing as they do, they should expect the consequences. If it was good enough for their Master it is good enough for them…
Here are some links: