Two nights ago I dreamed there was a movement of Christians all over the country who had decided to pray in public. They asked to pray in a secular context before business meetings. They prayed openly before meals asking the non-believers with them how they could pray for them. They refused to be intimidated by the current culture that in many situations, looks down on the Christian lifestyle. They weren't religious or confrontational or political. They weren't obnoxious in a "holier than thou," super-spiritual way. But they were willing to live out their faith under the public eye.
When we lived in the UK and Tony (my husband) still practiced as a doctor, the General Medical Council, the licensing body for physicians in the country, sent a letter to all the family doctors. It explained that whereas up until now, a doctor had to get consent from the parent of a minor child before any kind of medical procedure, from this time on, certain situations were exempt from that. This included contraception/abortion. So a doctor had to get parental consent before operating on an ingrowing toenail, but wasn't allowed to tell the parent that their daughter wanted to go on the pill.
At that time, Tony led a ministry to doctors and others in the caring professions. He phoned several of them to see what they thought, and then drafted a letter to the GMC explaining that our organization represented more than 2,000 family doctors, and that if they wanted to remove their medical licenses, they could, but he would like them to know up front that the doctors he represented planned to disobey this edict.
A few weeks went by. Then they had the nicest letter in reply saying that the Council had no idea that so many doctors felt that strongly and that they were free to go with their conscience in these matters.
I often wonder what would have happened if in 1962, when prayers in the classroom was deemed unconstitutional, the Christian teachers in this country had refused to comply with the law.
The climate in this country is becoming increasingly anti-Christian. In our institutes of higher learning, Christianity is ridiculed. The beliefs on which this country was founded are being eroded. We are only a generation away from being a post-Christian nation.
Are we willing to stand up and be counted? Are we willing to buck the trends? Are we more concerned about the Kingdom of God than our own reputations? What does it look like for us to follow Jesus in a way that is radically different and makes a radical difference?
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9 replies on “A dream; a story; a challenge”
This willingness to “buck the trend” must come as action motivated by the Holy Spirit and carried out in HIS strength, not our own. To make a political or social agenda out of it, instead of living it as an expression of Christ in us would be human vanity. We can’t do it expecting to be popular or to make a “statement”. But if we do it as an expression of His life “in us and through us”, and we’re willing to be rejected…we just might find out the world isn’t so ready to reject Christ.
Felicity, Thank you so much for asking these questions; I plan to consider them as I spend time with the Lord. The Holy Spirit can guide us, and show us when and where our actions and words can make a difference.
Do you think being a post-christian nation is a bad thing? I would have thought (following Viola & Barna) that Constantine’s makling christianity the state religion was one of the worst things that ever happened.
Leah, I totally agree with you. Anything done out of duty is likely to fail, or worse, bring people into bondage. But as an expression of our love and done out of obedience to him, you’re right, we might easily find more acceptance.
UnkleE, I had written something to the same effect as part of this blog post and then I deleted it, so we’re definitely on the same page. The light shines brighter in the darkness and there are definite advantages, like disciples with backbone, when there’s persecution, even if it’s only ridicule.
Having said that, in a funny way, the USA, although more open in some areas, is rapidly becoming as restrictive as countries like the UK. Things like no prayer or even mention of Jesus in schools. We’re producing a generation that thinks that Christmas is about Santa Claus and Easter about bunnies.
All I know is the dream had a considerable impact on me.
Understanding what different worldviews are helps us to identify what is not from a Biblical worldview and what is. The current postmodernist worldview is creeping into our ways of thinking. Summit Ministries offers a excellent course on Christian, Islam, Marxist/Leninist, Secular Humanist, Cosmic Humanist and Postmodernist worldview and how they relate to politics, biology, economics, philosophy, psychology, law, sociology, ethics and theology. Excellent equiping, especially for those going into university and those like me who want to know how to ask good questions of those who have a negative view of being Christian.
Hi Jackie, I’m not familiar with Summit Ministries, but I agree with you that an understanding of different world views is helpful in talking with others about the Lord. I like your statement about asking good questions of those who have a negative view of Christianity. Great approach.
If I am going to buck a trend, the first one is to say that as a matter of culture, I believe here in the U.S., we hit the post-Christian generation a generation ago. The thing is, in living for Jesus, and standing for His word, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in that fewer unbelievers even know how to hide under a cultural Christian facade. As I get older, the less sure I am that there are fewer believers in this generation as there are fewer people finding it culturally or economically beneficial to faking being believers. In one sense, that’s not a bad thing–people, not cultures, get saved. Forcing a culture into “salvation” is closer to Islam.
Interesting thoughts, Tom. Having lived in a post-Christian culture (the UK) for many years, I still think we have a little way to go in this country before we hit that point, but we are getting there very rapidly. If I remember rightly, only 4% of 18 to 25 year olds have a Christian worldview at present, so when that generation gets to their 40s and 50s we will be where the UK is. I agree with you that this isn’t a bad thing. I’d rather know where people stand than have them pretend to believe something that they don’t live up to. And it does something to the level of discipleship when there’s a measure of persecution–even if it’s only ridicule.