I am not ashamed

dsc_0179_2We get to America as a family about every 5 years, on average, for an extended visit. On each visit we notice the changes in the culture as it evolves. On this trip home we arrived just before the last election and I was immediately struck by the sense that we had reached a tipping point as a nation in our relationship with Christianity.

For the last 35 years we have endured the removal of the small gesture of having prayer before school each day, and the mockery of everything Christian on TV and in movies (except 7th Heaven and Touched by an Angel, I suppose).  This time it was different.  Atheism began its most recent frontal assault two years ago with the publication of God is Not Great (which basically says that religion is the greatest problem in the world today).  Then the election and its repudiation of Christian political influence and finally the president himself announcing to the world in Egypt that “America is not a Judeo-Christian nation.”  I’m just saying that we’ve reached the tipping point and there now seems to be a pronounced anti-Christian sentiment in the core of the general population, especially among the young who have been trained to think this way by 30 hours of media each week.

The Asian church has felt this pressure all along.  Christians are still only 1% in many Asian nations, subject to a wide range of abuse.  So we now join the millions of believers that have been affected in this way and can expect to see the pressure worsen now that we are on the defensive.  It will purify us (and I think we all will admit that their is much in the American church that needs to be purified).

It is important that we meditate on the scriptures to prepare our minds to deal with all of this faithfully as disciples.   The early church faced the sword, not sarcasm.  Crucifixion, not criticism, yet the Apostle Paul was still yearning for the opportunity to go to the very heart of the persecution power, the city of Rome, seat of all government power, and spread the gospel seed there.  We need to echo his words, in Romans 1:16  “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”  No matter what it costs us, dear brothers and sisters, we must remain loyal and faithful to the Lord who redeemed us by laying down his own life.

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