Monday, March 01, 2010

Real Lives of Christians

Several years ago I made a commitment to pray for the persecuted church. I am not a prayer warrior and have often commented on the struggles to pray biblically that we Christians face, but I think we get so worried about the how of prayer (most of the books go off on some idea that may or may not have anything to do with prayer) that we just don't practice the what of prayer. At any rate, when I pray, I pray for the persecuted church. Sometimes by country, sometimes by religion, sometimes by issue.

Persecution is not one size fits all. It comes in different forms.
1. Severe pressure from family unit. I have friends who minister in Japan as missionaries with a Baptist board. Their sweet letters almost always mention seekers or even believers who succumb to the pressure from family and who leave the congregation. Very sad, but not new to the Scriptures.
2. Severe pressure from the prominent religion. This is of course the case with Muslim countries, where the government may not be behind it but the government doesn't stop it. Sometimes the Orthodox or Catholic churches pressure Protestant and dissenting groups in Eastern European countries.
3. Communist/Marxist countries, where freedom of thought, belief, and religion cannot be tolerated. Why some young people today think Che and Mao are heroes are beyond me, because they embody this system. North Korea, some African countries, and to some extent Cuba fall into this category (Cuba has never been quite as bad because of the Catholic background and because Castro's sister is an evangelical).
4. Other fascist-type governments.
5. Countries where poverty and lack of law and order make for a type of anarchy that leads to persecution. India is an example.
6. Apathy, slowly encroaching, and progressive thought. This is what is happening in Canada and U.S. and parts of Europe, because the fear of homosexuals especially has led governments to limit free speech.

I read an article about Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame. He was talking about his support for gay rights. “I have always hated anybody who is not tolerant of gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Now I am in the very fortunate position where I can actually help or do something about it,” Daniel said in an AP article.

That strikes me as brilliant--I hate people who are intolerant of people I like. OK--so you're intolerant as well. Nobody ever said actors were smart.

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