ummmm… are you ready for a serious “ouch factor” right now, babes?
because that’s what I’m dropping today. (sorry not sorry)
as times change and new, unexplored emotional and spiritual territory enters our horizons, I’m seeing a more and more disturbing trend rising up within the walls of the American evangelical church. What is this trend? It’s the outcry of persecution.
now, here’s your disclaimer: this attitude is not in every church, for sure, and persecution is not always, in every situation, a complex. there are exceptions to nearly every rule. but today I’m referring to the rule, not to the exceptions. alright? alright.
here’s what I see happening…
when the law of the land requires us to serve people we don’t like, or who we disagree with? persecution!
when someone makes a joke at our expense? persecution!
when we see a Babylon Bee article playfully pointing out the inconsistencies within our traditions? persecution!
when Starbucks rolls out Christmas cups with snowflakes? persecution!
when we see two people of the same gender getting married? persecution!
when we are informed that our behaviors towards marginalized groups are offensive, unkind, or harmful? persecution!
when someone tells us they are feeling persecuted by us? persecution!
do you see a theme here?
see, while persecution exists… none of the things above fit the description. let me just tell you this: if you are a straight, white Christian (and especially if you’re male) in America… you’re not being persecuted.
you’re either being called out on your sin or you’re listening to the cries of people who are actually being persecuted… often by the people who claim your faith, if not by you.
see, in a creepy sort of way, too many American Christians make an idol out of persecution because they have no idea what persecution is actually like.
well, here’s an idea…
our brothers and sisters being beheaded or tortured in the middle east? persecution.
being denied basic human rights because of your race, religion, gender, or other things outside of your control? persecution.
enduring victimization and/or physical, sexual, spiritual, or emotional abuse because of your race, religion, gender, or other things outside of your control? persecution.
being told you shouldn’t be allowed in our country because of any of those criteria? yup, that’s persecution.
suffering through genital mutilation because you are a woman? persecution.
feeling unsafe everywhere you go due to hatred of who you are because of the color of your skin? persecution.
people you love or who share your similarities being the victims of hate crimes or prejudiced violence? persecution.
let’s set the record straight: in today’s America, being a Christian does not put you in danger of any legitimate persecution.
did you catch that?
ONE MORE TIME FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK!
in today’s America, being a Christian does not put you in danger of any legitimate persecution.
in fact, being in a place of privilege, those who wave the Christian banner more likely to be the persecutors instead of the persecuted.
ouch. yeah. let that sink in for a second. it hurts, I know.
it is so painful to be called out on your faults. it sucks. it hurts to be convicted, but please, please, please sweet brothers and sisters, allow the still, small Voice to have its say. allow it to do its work. allow the Spirit to move and convict and bring about goodness and healing.
don’t shy away from the hard things. please. I’m begging you.
regardless of where you disagree, make space for love. regardless of where you’ve shut your doors in the past, make a place that is safe for hearing stories, listening to wounds, and then create the foundation for healing and reconciliation. just listen. just hear. make yourself a space for others to speak their journeys, without your interruption, explanation, or justification.
hand over the bullhorn, and just be quiet.
listen to the cries of the brokenhearted and crushed and despairing.
Jesus listens to them, after all.