It’s hard to know where to begin to unravel the craziness behind the fallout of a Kentucky clerk of court saying she’s standing on the Word and refusing to issue–or let anyone else in her office issue–marriage licenses to homosexual couples. After a while, weariness is about the only emotion one can feel.
Yet not weariness that this has happened, but more the kind that comes from repeated efforts to awaken a sleeper who just refuses to wake up.
Christians who quote the Old Testament a lot are yelling about religious liberty and wringing their hands about the end of America. Christians who like to think they are more New Testament quote verses about obeying government authorities and seem bored with the whole fiasco. Solid Christians inhabit both groups, so it’s sad to see that neither group seems to understand the other.
I sit here somewhere in the middle, wondering if both sides are missing the point.
For me, the distress is not that this is the end of Christian dominance in America. It’s not that various Christian groups can’t come to consensus on the events in Kentucky.
If anything, what troubles me is that no one seems capable of understanding that the government of the United States is not the friend of Christians that Christians have always thought it has been, and that the Church has been doing nothing to distance itself from sleeping with the enemy, nor preparing for that day when the truth about that relationship finally crystalizes.
Friend Rick I. noted a case of the frankly delusional state of thought by some Christians. From the Answers in Genesis folks behind the Creation Museum (also, coincidentally, in Kentucky) comes this:
“Bowing to the pressure of anti-Christian secularist groups that have actively opposed AiG in the culture, the state was intimidated last year to withdraw a tax incentive for our Ark Encounter project that had already received pre-approval (see www.answersforfreedom.org). In order to receive the tax incentive, the state is now demanding that our future Christian facility open its hiring to everyone (which then would include applicants who agressively oppose the Christian message of the Ark project), and that the gospel message not be presented at the theme park. Christians increasingly are being treated as second-class citizens in this nation. Essentially it comes down to the fact that regardless of what the Constitution clearly states about freedom of religious expression, those who don’t have a Christian worldview will reinterpret the Constitution to make it fit with their own secular worldview. The Ark issue is a battle of worldviews.” (Source: AIG’s “Not Just Acceptance, But Coercion—Christians Now Being Told to Embrace Gay ‘Marriage’ or Else“)
It’s astonishing to me that any Christian organization can go to the government for money and NOT think there will be stipulations. Or that the government might bow to pressures from “enemy” groups. AIG looked for a handout and got its hand slapped instead. Wow, how utterly unexpected. :-/
The even better question is to ask why a Christian organization is going to the government at all.
Rather than wringing our hands about what was surely the outcome the Bible predicted, why have Christians in America not been preparing for the day when the court of public opinion turns against us?
If we needed any preparation, Roe v. Wade provided the handwriting on the wall. Despite Christian groups’ repeated attempts to leverage supposedly pro-life forces in the House and Senate, Roe is still here, even when those forces held a majority. Despite the heartbreaking Planned Parenthood videos that should have galvanized our leaders, nothing has changed. Fact is, the powers that be don’t want it to change, no matter what they say they believe.
Yet Christians in America remain shocked at this. Shocked. Meanwhile, AIG is PO’ed that they may not get tax money to build their ark. We act as if Jesus never warned us that the world would hate us. That there would be consequences, difficult ones, for our faith.
The next battleground will be tax exemption for churches. I can almost guarantee that exemption will go away sooner than the Church thinks. Again, it was never a guarantee, but we have foolishly acted like it was.
What happens when the spawn of the Church Growth Movement, all these monster-sized churches with cathedral-like buildings sitting on a plethora of acreage, suddenly gets a million-dollar property tax bill?
What does it look like when a church goes bankrupt?
Whatever the outcome, it won’t look pretty.
I’ve been writing this blog since 2003. In that time, I’ve written extensively on the lack of preparedness by the American Church for times of want and for the day of persecution. Regardless of whether you or I think that time is now, we still are not getting prepped.
I’m not sure what it’s going to take, but I’m beginning to suspect the only way to wake up the Church here is the same way you wake of the board of directors of your typical Fortune 500 company: a string of brutal financial losses. I hate to think that for the Church in America it’s all about the money, but nothing else seems to be jumpstarting our efforts to future-proof the best we can.
Perhaps it’s time to sell off massive church buildings on gargantuan properties. Perhaps it’s time to stockpile food. Perhaps it’s time to draw up plans to secret ourselves. In countries where the church is actively persecuted, wise leaders have taken steps to survive. What are we doing here? Better yet, when are we even going to start talking about this in our churches?
Let’s get something straight, too: This is not panic mode anymore than is having a family escape plan should a fire break out in your home. It’s called being wise.
The American Church has slept with the federal government for a long time. Now we’re seeing that the lover is more a frenemy. Soon, the relationship will degrade even further.
Church, how are we being wise in all this? Does complaining about loss of funds for our fake ark really show any seriousness about the future? Yet that is where we seem to be as Christians in America 2015.
Time to wake up and start prepping for something worse.