As I write this, I’m in a trendy food hall in a town that was not trendy when I left. Gentrification has taken hold of this place and now you’re more likely to see semi-ironic mullets and limited-edition Jordans than the needles and detritus that would have once been ubiquitous.
What hasn’t changed is the fact that actual, practicing Christians seem to still be around. In public. Something I once took for granted, that you would see Christians in a coffee shop, Bibles open and conversation happening, is now novel. It isn’t novel here. This is the dream sold to a certain demographic by the likes of memoirist-turned-business-guru Donald Miller.
But it’s novel to me because I now live and work in a place where the religion consists primarily of heroine, sports gambling, Buckfast and Pride.
During my apprenticeship, we spent a day working through 1 Peter and one of the big takeaways, one of the big reminders that was needed from it was the pressure that is on the average Christian to be so in a public way. Lisa Cameron, my MP before moving to Greenock, received death threats.
I shared with family the situation regarding religion in the UK and Scotland in particular and was met with actual shock and horror. This is understandable. In the American southwest, there are churches everywhere. It’s really easy to find a place where you will fit in. If one place doesn’t work out, try the place next door. Consumer-focussed Christianity makes for a lot of choice.
This worldview, that Christians are experiencing actual peril and threat, is surprising to us but it shouldn’t be. Five of the countries represented in the Women’s World Cup are on the Open Doors World Watch list. These countries are on the public stage and one of the things they are known for is killing Christians.
Even that may be shocking to us in the West, but it shouldn’t be because it has always been this way. Where’s the proof?
- Mark 8:34-38
- Mark 10:29-31
- Mark 12:7-8
- Mark 13:9-13
- John 15:18-25
- John 16:2-3
- Acts 5:17-18
- Acts 7:54-60
- Acts 8:3
- Acts 12:1-5
You get the picture. From it’s earliest days, the Church has been met with more than opposition but with actually being hunted down.
The shift toward persecution is already beginning in Scotland, as mentioned before. I do wonder what the American church response will be when the zeitgeist is louder than them. It is a strange thing to witness as a former insider. My heart is in and for the Scottish church. My hope and ambition is to give the rest of my life to preaching the gospel to her. We’re already the voice most easily ignored. The voice passed off as being those weird people who wake up on Sundays to worship a ”Jewish zombie”.