Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Live as a Christian in a "Tolerant" Society

Most everyone is familiar with the Miss USA, can we say, scandal.  Carrie Prejean's answer to a question asked by a gay judge lost her the crown.  The question "Should every state follow Vermont in allowing gay marriage?"  The answer "I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.  No offense to anyone out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be-between a man and a woman."  The gay judge, Perez Hilton, pretty much admitted that the answer lost her the crown.

It has become increasingly obvious that the world has a double standard.  "Be tolernat of all things unless they are in some way connected to Christianity."  There was nothing wrong with Carrie's answer. The question was "do you think" and her answer was "I believe...that's how I was raised...that's how I think."  She didn't say "No!  Marriage should be between a man and a woman and you are wrong to think any other way!"  She wasn't being rude.  She wasn't being intolerant.  She was merely stating her belief concerning a subject.  She wasn't pushing it on anyone else.

I am reading more and more stories of such intolerancy.  World magazine, in connection with a story concerning Carrie's right to sue, tells another story of a Christian student, Jonathan Lopez, at a public college in LA.
"Last November, Lopez spoke in his speech class, saying the definition of marriage was between a man and a woman, quoting the dictionary and Bible to support his view. He says his professor refused to let him finish the assignment, called him a “Fascist bastard,” would not give him a grade, and wrote on his evaluation form that he should “ask God what your grade is.”
More and more instances of intolerance to Christian viewpoints are making their way to the public's attention.  What is going on though?  It doesn't matter how respectfully a person state's their opinion, especially if it is an opinion against homosexuality, if it doesn't go with mainstream public view then it is intolerant and the person who spoke it can not be tolerated.  I think that such double speak is only going to get worse with time.

Here's the deal.  Many Christians are going to feel the pressure to either shut up and say nothing or conform to societal views on particular subjects such as homosexuality and gay marriage.  The pressure will be strong and many will succumb.  We are seeing this in many denominations right now.

To believe that there are only two options is called a false dichotomy.  There is another alternative.  Continue to speak out in love no matter what the consequences are.  I am reminded of Jesus's words in the Sermon on the Mount.  "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake.  Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

I think American Christians, including me, have gotten very soft.  Honestly, it shouldn't be a surprise that Christians are being persecuted and are becoming more so.  The surprise, as we look back, is that there existed a period in this country where Christians somehow escaped major persecution.  As we becoming increasingly post-Christian we should expect more and more persecution.

Jesus wasn't too popular with his many critics.  Even though he was a devout Jew in many ways he was ever increasing in infamy in the eyes of the leading Jews.  He went against the expected norm and openly spoke against those things which were falsely taught by religious leaders.  Ultimately this led to his death after a short term ministry that last only three years.

Christians, it is time to wake up to reality.  We can't expect things to get better.  We can't sit back and wait for a day when we will once again be able to practice our faith out in the open without any repercussions.  What use is a faith like that any way?  We must stand our ground, be firm in our beliefs and speak the truth!  But let us not give our accusers any ground to rightfully persecute.  We need to speak the truth in love, be respectful, be gentle and always in the face of adversity show the world who Jesus is.  In truth, this is the only option for the follower of Christ.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well put, Pastor B. Rock on, brother. :)