A Point of Clarification for all the Internet Prophets

xkcd comic #386, Creative Commons

There might be someone, somewhere in the U.S. who’s being persecuted for being a Christian, but it ain’t you or me.

Calling things out on the Internet is not brave unless you live in Iran, North Korea, China, or a similar country where you could face actual consequences for your words beyond other bloggers being mad at you.

Yeah, I know how ironic that statement is, appearing on a blog. But this blog isn’t some great act of courage on my part. It doesn’t make me a ‘virtual martyr’ even if people start flaming me.

If I post what I believe (complete with Bible verses to “back it up,”) and people criticize me, I’m not suffering persecution for our Lord’s sake. I’m just getting flamed online.

If I was blackballed from my profession for being a Christian, like a man in our church was when he lived in the Soviet Union (back when it still was the Soviet Union), that would be persecution.

If the army seized our church building and used it as a stable and a brothel (for maximum desecration – sexual immorality + human trafficking!) that would be persecution.

That happened to a church I volunteered at once in Lithuania. They got the building back after Lithuania declared its independence from the USSR. It took them a while to clean the place out, but they did. The same congregation had been worshiping in secret for decades. That’s persecution, and that’s standing firm for Christ.

But getting flamed? Not persecution. Posting ideas on the Internet? Not enduring hardship for Christ. Comment-bombing Rachel Held Evans’ blog with the same comment over and over … that’s just obnoxious.

Long story short, until God calls you to lie on one side for 390 dayss and use nothing but dung for your cooking fire, stop bellyaching. You aren’t Ezekiel, and neither am I.

3 comments on “A Point of Clarification for all the Internet Prophets

  1. Katy says:

    That cartoon made me LOL, too funny 🙂
    The church in the West seems to be currently doing a terrific job of tearing down their own churches, they don’t even need the government’s assistance. Paul would weep, I’m sure. !

    • Tim Dedeaux says:

      I know. It’s sad, isn’t it? Paul would weep.
      I don’t know exactly what the problem is.
      I wonder (at least in evangelical circles) if part of the problem is that we don’t take the “priesthood of the believer” seriously enough. If we don’t realize the responsibility of being priests of God.

      I’m talking off-the-cuff here, but maybe we’ve gotten so used to letting professionals handle things that we’re letting professional clergy “handle” too much of our spiritual lives.

      I know I’ve been guilty of slacking off in prayer and Bible study during the week, knowing I can get a tune-up on Sundays and Wednesdays.

      Worse still, I’ve settled for shallow devotionals and surface readings of scripture. If our study doesn’t challenge us, if it’s not costly in some way (if only of energy and thought), then is it really worthy of the term “priesthood of the believer?”

      I don’t know. If I had the answer, I’d be a prophet. 🙂

  2. Paul Mayhan says:

    After 11 years in the industry I think I can shed some light on why American evangelical Christians are so disinterested in impacting the world with their faith. Going back to WWII, the church started to see itself as a place where professional staff provided services that the common man paid for. The roots of that go back to the WWI when clergy became speakers of comfort and encouragement instead of challengers to contribute during such a difficult time, which of course lasted through the depression also. So by the ’40’s, a whole generation had grown up thinking that the church was primarily there to offer kindness to them. The members were the meek, the poor, the grieving who needed the love of Jesus to lift them up, not the lost. Then as we get into the ’50’s and the economic boom the services provided by the church turn into more entertainment, free child care, non-threatening Bible teaching, social events, and providing youth ministers to straighten out your heathen kids. So the evangelical’s spiritual life has mostly been about taking from the church, not giving anything. If we’re lucky the takers help pay the bills, but today most don’t. What I see forming now though is a reformation of sorts in the church planters working all over the country where the churches are all about mission and will actually turn new members down who just want to consume. So perhaps better times are ahead.

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