Cloudy with a chance of weirdness

I’ll let you in on a running conversation my wife, and I are having. It’s not something I previously considered sharing, but I think I should. So, here’s the crux of the matter: Both of us feel somewhat constrained, perhaps even oppressed, by American culture.

We are Christians, and we aren’t ashamed of this nor do we think the proper thing to do is not speak of it in public settings; we should not keep it in our homes. We are Americans, and we love and respect what our American flag stands for. Our flag is not a symbol of hate or a derisive symbol. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to work, and should work if they are able. We think that our country’s founders knew better than us the tyranny of an all-powerful central government, so they attempted to design mechanisms to limit federal authority, not to prevent our government from doing good but to constrain it from doing harm.  

We’ve been having these conversations to help us look at these issues from many different perspectives because our hearts’ desire is to think right and do right. Unfortunately, it seems that if we add our opinions to society’s marketplace of ideas, we are categorized as hateful and expelled from the market.

Now, neither my wife nor I have suffered even a smidge from these rebuffs, but I am reminded that it is both natural and healthy for Christians to suffer in this world. That may seem odd, but I see it as an enduring aspect of Christianity’s life in this world. Just look at what Jesus said.

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” (Philippians 1:29-30 NIV)

So, even if our society decays to the point where you or I do suffer for what is right, we are blessed, for God’s Word says, “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:14 NIV)  

Acts 5:41, Counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Acts 5:41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [of Jesus].

I grew up during a time in America when being a Christian was respected, even by people that didn’t attend church. Regardless of ethnicity, the majority of Christians attended a local church, at least for Easter Sunday. If not, who would marry them and bury them?

Please don’t misunderstand me; during the time to which I’m referring, some people held sickening, shameful, sinful attitudes and perpetrated immoral actions in the name of Christianity. Sadly, this flaw of humans has been true throughout history. Not just in the Church’s history but for all the history of humankind.

However, the Christians to which I’m referring strove for what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:26-29, which states, “So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In Jesus, we are all equal, and our mindset and actions should display this.

Being a Christian was much different when I was young.

Though the same truth remains true in our modern culture, Christianity no longer is tolerated. We, as Christians, can learn to handle this shift from tolerance to hate by reading the book of Acts. Acts give us a glimpse into the society in which the Apostles lived, and that society’s transition from tolerating Christianity to killing Christians.

Whether society accepts the message of Jesus, the Name above all names or they reject the message and punish the messengers, we must not waiver in our walk with Jesus.

If, as followers of Jesus, others accept us we thank God and if ridiculed, libeled, or physically abused because we publicly acknowledge our faith in Jesus, we still must do as the Apostles did – we praise God and thank Him for counting us worthy to suffer for Jesus. Just remember what the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:1, Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

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