Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Persecution or not?

So, here I am feeling bothered by my coffeebreak session this morning.

Our church doesn't have a women's bible study that I feel comfortable attending. This study is held biweekly. We are studying the fruit of the Spirit.

Today's lesson was on patience.

One of the questions in the study dealt with persecution and how it ties in with patience. They talked a bit about Job and how was patient in the face of persecution. That somehow seemed off to me, but that's not what bothered me.

What bothered me was the flurry of discussion that followed my comment to another lady who said that we're persecuted now because of materialism that TV portrays, and from shows that either show Christianity poorly (aka seventh heaven) or shows that portray Christianity in a very negative light.

My response was to give an example I had from a previous job opportunity. Don't mention Christianity or your religion or you will be fired. You are not to talk about what you believe. NOTE: other people 'of faith or not faith' were not given this warning. What can I say, I actually ended up not taking that job (well I had, but I was there one day and then left). Another job I had was "mention Christmas and you'll be fired". I didn't mention it, but someone else did and they were canned.

That to me is more akin to persecution than tv shows are. I think it is an insult to people in persecuting countries to deem TV shows as persecution. We have the option. TURN IT OFF. Don't have one. People can survive without the newspaper, or without the TV and such forth. There is a place where we have a choice. I said that TV shows aren't persecution.

If we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we don't have a choice. Either we live out our faith or we don't. One says Hey world, I'm a Christian and I"m not ashamed of it, the other well....I"m not going to say a thing, and no one ever need know (shows fear and shame of the gospel which God doesn't want us doing). So if we are Christians and truly want to follow Christ, we won't hide who we are. And until we are in a situation where we are FORCED to hide lest we die, then we under persecution and have to figure out how we, as believers, will count the cost for Christ.

Until then, are we being actively persecuted in Canada and the United States? No. Are things progressively getting more anti-Christian? yes. Do I believe that a time will come that Christians will be persecuted for their faith? a kinda yes. Means I"m not sure, but I think so, the word of God gives me hints that believers everywhere will face serious challenges to their faith (and I believe that persecution is part of those challenges).

In the discussion that followed I heard that "it is indeed persecution because it makes it harder to live out your faith". I was stunned. Something is persecution because it makes living out your faith harder? So what...I am persecuted because I have non-Christian friends? I am persecuted because I'm easily tempted to purchase food I don't need and that therefore doesn't treat my body as the temple of God that it is supposed to be? Should we ban all grocery stores?

I know, perhaps I'm being silly, but that's where that kind of thinking brings me.

Now one thing was said this morning that I agree with (in light of this particular discussion). A lady (in the study), as a student, had befriended a Christian that came from a persecuting country. This visitor noted that in the country were they were (either Canada or the States) that there are a lot of "grey" Christians. In persecuting countries you don't have "grey" Christians. You are either fully committed to God or you are not. If you are not fully committed, then you are living a life of potential death and imprisonment and beatings for no real reason. Here in North America it is too easy for people to claim to be Christians without having to watch what they do. There is no "keeping Christians in line" or being held accountable.

Almost enough to cause a person to start praying that a bit more persecution actually comes to North America isn't it?


Rileysowner said...

Good thoughts with which I agree. There is the start of persecution in Canada and the US, but it is not the TV shows, it is the people who are in situations where practicing their faith means losing a job, promotion, or the like. Differing opinions from the World are not persecution, it is the World being the World.

Jim Vellenga

Mary said...

Keep going to those Bible studies, if only to keep blogging about them. I enjoy your perspective on the topics. I know we have to have grace towards what seems "clueless" to us, especially if we read Voices of the Martyrs, or think about all the Christians being murdered and worse by Muslims in Jihad...we in NA have nothing to complain about. Not in terms of persecution.

Yes, we're becoming a minority. Yes, we're losing our rights to parent our own children.
Yes, God is not welcome in schools or state governments...but I'm so thankful that so far we have freedom to meet with other Christians. That said, I feel very strongly that we need to do what we can to protect the rights we have, before they're all lost.

Annette said...

Mary, thanks for your comments. Yes, we do need to protect what "rights" we have as believers. It's a hard battle though when most people don't care, even enough to talk about them seriously. But as believers, we do need to keep plugging on...