Monday, December 20, 2004

Don't Go Looking for Trouble. Trouble will find You just Fine. 

I hope nothing in the last post would be construed as meaning I don't like Christmas. I love Christmas, and it would be a crying shame if it were truly eradicated from the public square.

Also, while a good bout of persecution has often been good for the church, I don't think we should go looking for it. I don't think we should give up on this country; not by a long shot. All I'm saying is, when the enemy's paratrooping into the heartland, maybe securing Puerto Rico isn't our biggest concern.

Suffering is sanctifying, if received with submission to God's will. Suffering of itself usually just makes people bitter and mean. Sometimes Christians think that because Jesus promised us suffering and persecution, that we should go looking for it. But that isn't submission to God's will. God will bring us all the suffering He knows we need to be perfected- we don't need to go drumming up extra suffering for ourselves. So it is with the church as well. That last article was not intended to mean that the church ought to try to go drum up some freelance persecution on its own. That's like the Middle Ages monks that would go beat themselves with sticks and wear really uncomfortable clothing and think they were getting closer to God by doing it. It probably would have been a lot more sanctifying for those monks to get out into society and try to raise a family and make a living.

Persecution of itself doesn't mean a lot. Yes, true Christians have frequently been persecuted. But Mormons were persecuted too, and so were Arians and Nestorians and Zoroastrians. We learned in church history about the Catholic persecutions of the Albigensians and the Waldensians at the same time in the south of France, one of which was a proto-Reformed group (Waldensians, I think) and the others were heretics. Some people seem to think that persecution would be the badge of legitimacy for the church, like if only some of us could start getting thrown in jail then we'd know we were doing God's will. Maybe we should just get back to reading our Bibles instead.

So we should fight for our society, and for Christmas, and for God in the public square. I just think we Christians could be a lot smarter about how we fight that battle.

Amos 5:
18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!
20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

Here here! Well said. Couldn't agree with this entire post more. Particularly this:

It probably would have been a lot more sanctifying for those monks to get out into society and try to raise a family and make a living.There are many modern-day ascetics in the evangelical world who adopt similar attitudes and it drives me bananas. Thanks for being a rational voice crying in the wilderness.
"Maybe we should just get back to reading our Bibles instead."

We already have plenty of Bible-readers. It's the Bible-doers who are in short supply.
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