spirits that speak

3.21.2006

I Second that Devotion

I was thinking about something in the car on the way home from work today. Hopefully those that read this blog don't mind being asked to be a sounding board for things that I'm mulling over.

I have heard Christians talk about thinking something is wrong with them because they really don't endure what they consider "persecution". Basically, the idea is that you're really not doing your job, as an evangelical Christian, if you're not even sometimes under fire for the "Christian" things that you believe. The logic there being that, naturally, any belief associated with Christianity will upset most non-Christians in the vicinity. They further speculate that perhaps they're not as much devoted to their faith if they're not seeing a noticeable amount of persecution.

Usually such a discussion will veer toward my question of "Well, what qualifies as persecution anyway?" I won't go there in this post. But what I thought about was one good reason for Christians to desire at least some people to be in their lives who confront them with challenges as to the validity of their beliefs as associated with Christian faith.

While this is most assuredly not an original concept, I think that reason can simply be stated as "devotion". It seems as though many of the people who cling most to their faith, and demonstrate devotion to it most fervently, is those who encounter something that is dangerous to them or their faith. The reason this occured to me is I was listening to a song by a rap group called "Westside Connection". I would never claim that anyone in the group is a Christian since I have no idea whether they are or not and the majority of their lyrics are somewhat obscene. However, the following words made me think:

"See, we all got problems but some need addressing. And so at night i hit my knees and begged him for my blessings, And ask him for forgiveness to minimize my stress , Nigga, continue to know how to dodge this Smith & Wesson, And with his help i will perform in my best, And it's still hard with all this temptation and testenin', If i'm wrong I Just accept it as a lesson"

The writer is talking about facing danger on daily basis and depending on God daily for protection and health. Also, he talks about how to approach mistakes made in that effort. While this doesn't necessarily that the writer is devoted, it's an illustration of what that kind of "persecution" can change in someone.

Maybe it's not sounding as profound as it did in my head, but I'd say if there's a reason to desire persecution, as Paul did (2 Cor 12:10), it's because you may find your faith becomes strong because of your weakness to hardship.

5 Comments:

  • Just another thought: if somebody decides to be radical and outspoken about taking Jesus' teachings and commandments seriously, he is more likely to experience outrage and resistance from people WITHIN the church than from outside. And this kind of persecution does not need to be sought, it will come - guaranteed!
    It's a rather sad indicator of the spiritual state most churches are in.

    By Blogger strider, at 10:12  

  • yes, although it's often difficult to convince someone when the commandments they're taking seriously are actually taken out of context or are applied improperly. this is another problem though.

    i see what you're saying and it's actually something that didn't occur to me. what strikes me as just as odd though is that some people i have spoken too seem like they wouldn't consider the kind of persecution you have brought up to be "good enough".

    one example (although i may be stretching things, depending on your POV) is bono from u2. he has toured churches previously to encourage them to lead the way in acting against problems in africa only to be criticized by christianity today for being out of place. in other words, the attitude of christianity today, though bono promotes a good cause, was "who are you, who doesn't go to church on a weekly basis, to come and tell us how to apply our Christianity?!" that really bothered me. sad indeed.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 08:33  

  • People who look at persecution as something that is to be sought and embraced (and along these lines must be "hard enough") are looking for an experience that validates their Christian discipleship as genuine. This is turning the biblical pattern completely upside down. In my opinion, we rather ought to thank God for every day where we DON'T experience resistance, restrictions, criticism, hate or violence. We accept persecution when it comes (in whatever form and to whatever degree) but turning its constant presence in our lives into a litmus test for true Christianity is a masochistic perversion of the Gospel that is more self-absorbed than Christ-oriented.

    By Blogger strider, at 10:17  

  • what he said! : )

    By Blogger Shiny Beamer, at 06:29  

  • i hope i don't understate my reaction to strider's comments when i say: preach it!

    the eloquence of your articulation is far better than what i could have said about the subject. i think you have captured the flaws in that approach perfectly.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 21:29  

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