Right now, there’s a distinct conversation taking place around dinning room tables across the United States. And it’s a very quiet discussion, yet it also takes on a tone of urgency and seriousness. What could be so pressing?
Suddenly, a majority of Americans have gotten an up-close and extremely unpleasant view of how blatantly authoritarian their government has become. But also how isolated and powerless they are to resist any part of it. And it’s scaring the ever-loving shit out of them.
In this conversation, they’re trying to make sense of how this situation could have happened. And how bad it really could get if things continue on this path. They’re also trying to quickly make plans, however meager, to safeguard themselves and their loved ones. And they’re asking a very pressing question.
And that’s where do we turn to now?
Indeed, it’s a fair question. You might also be surprised to find out that pastors are having this conversation too. After being manipulated into destroying their churches’ fellowship, discipleship, and evangelism, they seem to finally be waking up to the realities of the 2020s. And mostly because the corporate media started pushing the idea that “Christian nationalism” is a real thing. (It’s not and never has been). Undoubtedly, from my private conversations, religious leaders now see that the Church won’t be exempt from having a target put on its back.
However, in this historic moment, I’ve come to appreciate something about the Church. More from a recent Daily Hope email entitled The Gospel is Not Political.
The Kingdom of God is not of this world. You are called to be a spiritual city on a hill that dwells within a physical city on earth. We love our country and have great hopes for what God can do, but those hopes will not become reality unless we all do our part to impact those around us with the love of God through the gospel. Oppression cannot stop an organic movement. So let’s all take part in the movement of the gospel and stop being frantic about politics.
Now, I might have some qualms about whether or not you have a choice regarding the politicization of your most basic beliefs and actions. After all, authorities have labeled simple things, like singing, as acts of political terror. What choice do you have, in that example, on whether society agrees that you’re engaging in politics? But that conversation is probably one for another day.
Instead, let’s talk about what makes the Church different, as an organization. And why it’s unstoppable.
Immediately, for Christians, you might be reminded of the Apostle Paul. In Acts 16, he and Silas have been imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. The authorities, in their infinite intelligence, believe that they’ve solved the problem. Simply lock them up!
But then something unthinkable happened. And when an earthquake strikes, leaving the jail doors wide open, Paul has his chance to escape. What does he do instead? Against all practical reason, he stayed in his cell. When the soldier guarding them saw this was the case, he fell down and asked what he needed to do to be saved. And how he could become a Christian himself.
The lesson is simple: in their attempt to destroy the early Church, the authorities only made it stronger.
Still, it’s worth remembering that the Church is no stranger to the worst persecutions you can imagine. Setting aside scary things like beheadings and crucifixions, early members had to meet in secret and put everything on the line for their beliefs. And each other.
But there is so much more to it.
In its almost two-thousand year history, the Church has proven that it’s capable of facing down the very worst that antagonists can throw at it. You only need read stories from China or Africa to see some of it. Even so, beyond the physical buildings and many pulpits, it’s also very self-organizing. Meaning, there is no need for carefully crafted announcements. Or corporate-level mission planning nor civic public notices. It is the most organic, grassroots institution you can imagine. And it is harder to truly infiltrate or commandeer.
So, do you really think some shitty digital platforms like Facebook or YouTube can pull the plug on it?
No, the Church has united the most disparate men and woman across countless historic periods and every corner of the globe. It is also very decentralized. In fact, it counts among its members executives, doctors, lawyers, businessowners, and politicians. But also plumbers, electricians, truckers, farmers, and everyone else you can possibly imagine. And it recognizes no political or class affiliations.
And now the elite class thinks they’re going to harass it under the guise of calling it “Christian nationalism?”
While Christians might not all always agree on the details, they most assuredly will close ranks around their most central belief. And in that moment, you will have a cultural organization composed of countless bands of brothers, the strongest type of social contract in human existence, to contend with. And they’re able to recognize each other anywhere in the world simply at a glance. And they will be everywhere. But they will also have a commitment that looks far beyond the petty power politics that barely holds the elite together.
So, really, where should you turn to now?
Well, in the Church, resilience isn’t just an empty word; it’s been a way of life for millennia.
And it may be the only game left in town that can save us.