“They are going to make it illegal to have a bible in the state of California!”
It’s a crying shame!
This is the most frequent response to the further unfolding situation the church in the west is finding itself in. The rhetoric is that the truth is under attack, and it’s up to us to take a stand and do something about it!
Increasingly more, the conversation in evangelical circles is one entrenched in paranoia and fear. The overwhelming narrative is that the left is advancing and taking sacred ground, ground that has been fought for and paid for with blood (soldiers blood, not messiahs*). The rhetoric has ramped up into a militant stance**of standing up for what’s right, at all costs, for the…
One of the most frequent comments I hear when it comes to things like the above headline*** is that this is proof that the enemy has deceived us. He has now completely infiltrated liberal media, Hollywood, and the democratic party. These institutions are the pawns he’s using to destroy society and the world as we know it. Because, if THEY take away the bible… then WE, lose.
WE HAVE BEEN DECEIVED!
Wouldn’t the more cunning deception be, that the enemy convinces US (his bride) that civil (earthly) liberties are worth going down swinging for? What if the ultimate deception is that we have been hoodwinked into believing that our greatest strength could ever, even remotely, be given from the State? There truly is a deception underway, but maybe we have blinded ourselves to who is actually having the rug pulled out from beneath them.
The bible is EXPLICITLY clear on this topic.
JESUS is SHOCKINGLY clear on this matter.
He doesn’t say:
“When you are persecuted/marginalized/oppressed, take up arms and fight HARDER.”
He says BLESSED are those who are persecuted!
It’s so simple, yet so incredibly overlooked. The sermon on the mount is surely the best sermon ever preached, while simultaneously, surely being the least applied.
He doesn’t commission us to rally/petition/vote our way into a more “christian” society, one where we are never threatened or challenged. In fact, the great commission assumes the exact opposite. He says to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD. He challenges his disciples to leave the comfort and safety of what they have enjoyed while being with him, promising them the comfort they need will never be found anywhere else apart from his spirit.
Going into the world requires a confidence that our comfort will never be fully found here, in this world. This ensures us that when the world chews us up and spits us out, we don’t get tempted into being shocked and surprised. There is nowhere to be found in all of the scripture a mandate to perpetuate our faith in the ways that are currently being fought for. Jesus promises us that we will be pushed to the margins if we truly follow him. Yet, we are allured and easily impressed with the more temporary promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The christianity of 21st century, western, evangelicalism is fatally ill. We have backed ourselves into a corner and are stuck in a vicious cycle of pointing the finger. We are perpetually caught blaming external entities for our lack of POWER, while we flail about and cling to what we feel we deserve. If we look for security in earthly institutions, we will get as much security as any earthly structure could possibly ever give us.
I am positioning myself in belief that loving my enemies, caring for the sick, serving the poor and welcoming the refugee is the most potent form of Christianity that this world needs. I can’t do this clinging to anything other than Jesus’ words in Matthew 5-7. If I go down swinging, let it be for fighting for others with less than me and constantly uprooting the adultery, murder, and hate in my own heart. What a privilege it would be to be persecuted for living out the sermon on the mount!
Maybe, the world needs to see the Church actually LIVE out the bible vs. fight for the right to OWN a bible. Maybe, the Church needs to be stripped of every earthly dependence, so that we may fully inherit every heavenly one.
It’s time for the fatally ill patient to be taken off life support. May nationalism and it’s shallow promises be left behind in the grave. I am believing that in the wake of that death, we will see a great resurrection of life in the people of the Jesus way. I am believing that my life surrendered to living out the beatitudes, the sermon on the mount and every other introspectively challenging scripture is something that NO man, system or structure could ever take away. The Bible, and history is full of people who believed this to be true.
Take the world, but give me Jesus.
Let this not be token or trite. Let it ring true in our actions and in our words. When the pressure is on, let that beautiful statement bankrupt every institution and source that boasts to be as strong as the suffering servant. Let us suffer with him, so that we may reap with him.
*Jesus shed blood, for ALL of the world. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to Americans, but it certainly means that it doesn’t have special application to Americans. The tension here is: what bloodshed has MORE weight and value?
** It’s more than ironic that the biggest proponents for guns IN schools, are often the same one’s that are furious that prayer has been taken OUT. This is simple fight fire with fire mentality. You take away our right to prayer, we fight it with our right to bear arms. The real tension here is not the ACION of prayer, but the content and objective of prayer. Why not start with the Lords prayer? Which includes: Forgive OUR trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Not: Forgive us, as we SHOOT those back who shoot at us.
*** Upon, not even careful or thorough research, turns out this is not even remotely true. The current legislation under debate mentions nothing that could eve be remotely misconstrued to reach such a conclusion.