The (not so) persecuted church

The Church is persecuted. That is not up for debate. We were warned it was going to happen, but it seems like a surprise to everyone these days.

In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 1 Thessalonians 3:4

What is up for debate is where the persecution is happening. I was listening to a song today and the reality of the lyrics really struck a chord (no pun intended). You can check out the song at the bottom of the post, but here are the first few lines.

Even if they put me in the fire, even if they hang me by my neck
Still I won’t let my voice go quiet, I will sing your praises to the end

This is the part of the blog post where I hopefully open a few sets eyes and undoubtedly make a handful of religious folks mad. Making people mad is not fun for me. I typically cringe when I read the posts from the people that take offense to what I (and Jesus) have to say, but God put a burden on my heart a long time ago to drop these bombs and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. So here it is: Jesus didn’t die so you can agree with every opinion you see on the internet, He didn’t die so your candidate wins the election and He sure didn’t die to give you a reason to be hateful on Facebook.

The Church is persecuted, but the persecution most folks around here get so worked up about pales in comparison to what is going on across the globe. Here are a few things you may have missed in the international news lately.

Chinese pastor murdered, allegedly for helping Christians leave the country
One year later: 21 Egyptian Christians beheaded by ISIS
More than 20 Christians killed in Syria

You may be saying, “Nathan, what are you trying to accomplish with this?” That is a good question. This post is supposed to offer perspective. I’m not saying your problems aren’t problems. I’m saying we are lucky to be where we are. I’m saying if Christians in China can worship in the outhouse of a prison, then we ought to be able to give it all we have on Sunday morning (and preferably Monday through Saturday too). I’m saying we can be the light of the world instead of the death of the party.

Now, our country needs the Church more than ever. The people sworn to protect us are being killed by the people they swore to protect, Americans seem more divided than ever and the division we see among the American people may be even more prevalent in our churches. Let’s put aside the stupidity and change the world.