Yesterday I shared how my family has responded to persecution and how we have changed when the persecution was removed.
Allow me to interrupt myself to discuss this word, persecution, because there is persecution and there is persecution. I know I have never faced persecution. I have been yelled at, called names and made distinctly uncomfortable for being who I am or believing what I believe. However,we have never had cause to worry for our safety, our lives, our possessions, Brian’s job… People have asked us—strongly—to not speak of God. We have lost friends because we talk about Jesus too often. But none of that really can constitute the type of persecution Christians have faced for their faith in Jesus. We know that. We all clear on that? Good.
I think America has done much the same thing, on a larger scale, across the decades of time, as we have. We all got lazy. We accepted that we were a “Christian Nation” and allowed for our individual relationships with Christ to coast; we depended on the masses to carry us along. I picture us as hobos hopping on a train and riding it wherever it takes us. We feel quite pleased with ourselves because we got on this cool train. It is comfortable. People take care of things. Eventually, we abandon our hobo clothes and find an empty compartment that we make our own. It is a sweet deal. When we step out to look around at the other cars, someone cleans our room. No cooking for us, either! Food appears hot and tasty when we order from the menu. Life is good.
We allowed the harmless in. We are molded by our secular society more than we care to admit. But, as decades have passed, some of us are waking up. We see that maybe we aren’t in such a Christian country after all.
I don’t know that our responses are all that effective, though. Imagine that train again. We feel the temperature fall, we see the terrain that is speeding past the windows becoming less familiar. So, we stand up and start hollering. “Wait! I got on the Christian train! This isn’t right! Where are we going!?” All this yelling annoys the passengers who got on and knew where they were going, and we get a little hoarse. Nothing really changes and we don’t even realize that we look like clueless idiots. But we keep yelling and waving our hands around, because the truth is still not something we want to face. It is there, but we hope the bluster we create will keep it hidden. We hope against the truth our hearts know. We hope that we can somehow change that truth.
What is the truth? We. Have. To. Jump!
There is no other way. The train isn’t going to stop for us. It is going right where it was always meant to go. (The train and the people on board aren’t doing anything wrong!) We are the ones who screwed up. That is what is so uncomfortable. That is the embarrassing truth we were hoping to hide or maybe even change.
There is no Christian train. Christianity was never meant to be traveled by rail—it doesn’t speed. There is no short cut. It is a walking faith, a faith of relationship. It is slow. Each person must travel it with purpose. Not a single step of your faith can belong to any other human. So, we aren’t just on the wrong train, we were never meant to get on any train in the first place! Whoops!
What are you going to do? You are going to look like a fool jumping off of that train. You are going to get hurt and you can’t take anything with you. The longer you stay, the further you get from where you belong, the more you will accumulate and the colder it is going to get. What are you going to do?