11 April 2007

The Promise Of Jesus We'd Rather Ignore - Synchroblog

**Disclaimer - This post has no attacking intent on any one person, church, or organization in particular. Rather it is an attempt to gain better understanding of the chaos of change in which we all live in Western Civilization. If you doubt my motives, please see the earlier post on all being one body. If you are offended, then look in the mirror and ask yourself why before you do anything else...
And most importantly, have a nice day!

John 16:33
The middle of this verse says, "In the world, you will have tribulation."

I always thought of this verse as Jesus warning to us to those who hate him will also hate us. And that is certainly true, as Jesus also speaks of that very clearly.

-Governments, God Haters, and Goons, persecuting Christians.

But here's a point to consider; those who persecuted, beat, and killed Jesus, loved God! They were God's chosen people to bring forth the Messiah! They collaborated with those who didn't know God, to kill God, because they didn't see who he was!
The religious leaders of the day were corrupt, self-centered, and concerned with little more than showing off how righteous they were, but in their eyes, they were following the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Persecution comes many times where we least expect it. Our Judas could be our closest friend.

Jesus promised persecution. He also warned us that family member would rise against family member. See Matthew 10:34-39. An Episcopalian Priest and friend of mine said that the worst arguments are within our own family. And Jesus said we were all one family. More so, all one body!

So it seems to be human nature and inevitable, that one group will, intentionally or not, persecute the other group. I'm speaking here mostly of post-modern, verses modern. And I have felt the brunt of this.

Let me make a note of clarification here to all my modern friends...
I do not have a persecution complex. I am not calling you pharisees. I do not say you have the qualities of a corrupt religious leader. And I am not calling myself and other post-moderns Jesus.

But Jesus and the religious leaders were both completely Jewish. They both followed how they interpreted the law (obviously Jesus had it right, and in todays rapidly changing culture, I would say the only person that has it right is still Jesus). Both were under the Torah, as Jesus came to fulfill it for us.

But can anyone else here see, with broad strokes, a similarity?

-The old versus the new
-Rigid structure versus fluid
-Special leaders versus a priesthood of all believers
-Controlling versus empowering
-Exclusive versus inclusive
-Letter of the law, versus the spirit of the law
-Performance versus authenticity
-Masks versus nakedness
-Programs versus relationship
-Outreach versus incarnational

I could go on, but you get the point. If you are offended by this, please re-read the disclaimer again and drink a beer - you'll feel better.

I am acutely and completely aware that NOT all post-modern organizations are all on the left and NOT all modern churches are on the right.... politics not even included!

The church that asked me to step down from leadership because of my post-modern ways (and that's what it really boiled down to) is a great church and a great presence in the community and I speak nothing but blessing on them.

Did I feel persecuted? If I use the word liberally? Yes.
Did I have to bend the vision of Revolution to fit with the church? Yes, as much as I could without compromising the vision.
Did I have to defend myself time and time and time again? Yes
Do some think I'm heretical and lost my way? Absolutely
Do some think I rebelled when I left the church after they asked me to step down? Count on it.
Do they think that I should give it up, take my ball and go home to find all the answers before I move ahead? I'm sure of it.

In answering all these questions, can I see that Jesus promise of trouble was to me, right here, and right now? Yes.
Are they the evil empire that I imagined in my head before this happened that would really bring persecution? Not at all.
Is my persecution anything like our valiant brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering real life threatening persecution including torture, imprisonment, and death? Do I even have to answer that?

But the Bible reads me. It speaks to me. And in this verse, God spoke comfort. Read the whole verse this time:

John 16:33 I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

My final thought on this, is that although we are not being jailed or beaten by the bad guys, but rather just see the world differently and have thus suffered the consequences of that, our response should be the same as though we are being truly persecuted. Humility, grace, love, and the hope that we can still move forward with everything that God has put in us. In short; be like Jesus.

In the words of General Adama (and others) on Battlestar Galactica, "So say we all!"

BTW, if anyone wants to keep abreast of the Revolution "Naked Church" here's the link: www.betherevolution.wordpress.com (see the links on the right for the express route!)

The other Syncrobloggers who helped launch me into a new journey!

Fishing for Trouble at Phil Wyman's Square No More
Mike Bursell at Mike's

Restoring Our View of Humanity at Eternal Echoes
Persecuting the Marginalized at John Smulo
The Ends Justify the Means at Calacirian
Billy Calderwood at Billy Calderwood
Seeking First Righteousness at Tim Abbott
Jamie Swann at More Than

Persecution and Martyrdom at Handmaid Leah
"Don't squash the counter-revolutionary/the plank in my own eye"
The Martyrs of Epinga at Notes from the Underground
Terrorism in Christianity at The Rivera Blog
Persectution or poor elocution Hello, Said Jenelle


Jenelle said...

May you have the grace to forgive and the tenacity to protect your vision for revolution. I'm sorry for your pain.

Sally said...

excellent and thought provoking post David- proving that persecution takes place at a number of different levels and comes in many different guises...

Reading your post highlights the fact that we are called to be gracious towards one another just as God has shown us grace.

Peace and blessings be with you

Jamie said...


Wow. Good stuff, brother.


Makeesha said...

so say we all

MikeCamel said...

Interesting take - from a fellow liver of/in/through postmodernity. I think that one of the great challenges that we have is to find tools that allow us to look at ourselves - first - and others - very, very definitely second - critically.

Tim said...

Something strange happens when people saved by amazing grace gradually become a people trying to preserve grace according to their own understanding. Sadly, this understanding often excludes the grace experience of others.

Jeremiah said...

Interesting that part of the "boot" which was given for a feminine perspective of the Deity. It's not a direct correlation - and, some may argue, a counterpoint - but I find it interesting the two of the most
respected names in cultural christiandom - Elisabeth Elliot (Gren) and C.S. Lewis both describe how some aspects of the Diety are so "masculine" that all
(especially men) must relate to God in ways that are often characterized as "feminine." Even though they are both conservative authors, something tells me that
if they were to emerge on the cultural christian scene today, they might also get the "boot" from some culturally christian churches.


Brad said...

Hoist the Main Sails, keep the rudder running true. Wash the poop-deck when needed and run the bilge when the water gets stagnent. You are doing just fine. Isn't the horizon beautiful. Keep your focus
ahead of you. The LORD has your back already covered.

paul said...

bummer dude...but then maybe persecution gives us those james 1 moments where our characters grow in the pain and you'll be spreading the message further wth more humility as sa result...

oh wouldn't that be ironic if your persecutors made you into a liberated man :)

David said...

That's the problem, I became too liberal. hehe