I have taught, preached, and led in a way over the past decade or so that has tried to prepare me and my church for the cultural shifts and the challenges of living out a gospel that will sometimes have consequences. I never taught it in a way where someone just doesn’t say, “Merry Christmas” to us and we cry, “PERSECUTION!”
It’s been an awareness, as James Smith would put it in Desiring the Kingdom, of allegiances. When our allegiance to the Kingdom is solid, the allegiances to other things in this world get minimized, and that doesn’t make those other kingdoms happy.
In a small, but significant, way, that warning of the Spirit is starting to play out. We have a young woman in our church who came to faith and it is now costing her physically. Her family is rejecting her. Physical harm… in the United States… for converting to Christianity. And we are doing our best to make her safe.
I am not going to lie and try to make this heroic on our part. I am sobered. I am anxious. Yet, I realize that over a decade of preparation has brought us to this point and I serve a church resolved to walk in Kingdom allegiance. This is a moment where the power of the gospel has really sunk in. All other issues in this moment seem really, REALLY, small.