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Don't Climb Up On Your Cross, Take It Up and Carry It

Rather than play the martyr in an increasingly hostile climate, let's instead covenant to play the faithful disciple.

There’s an important lesson for Christians taking place in Beloit, Ohio right now. As American culture continues to embrace secularism, to the point that even those who claim to be followers of Jesus hold first allegiance to the spirit of the age, Christians will continue to not only encounter vocal and popular opposition for our convictions, but legal threats and challenges will also mount.

We should right now begin contemplating and preparing for how we will respond to these imminent challenges.

In the rural community of Beloit, the long-standing tradition of student prayer before high school athletic events has provoked the anti-Christian legal firm known as the Freedom From Religion Foundation to get their dander up. As is their custom, the FFRF sent their standard cease and desist form letter, replete with misstatements and misapplications of prior legal precedent, but bearing the threatening authority of one of their “esquire” staff attorneys.

And as is so often the case, small rural schools lack the resources to be able to fight any drawn out legal battle. So they acquiesce to the demands and the FFRF celebrates another scalp.

It’s easy to get angry about these kinds of things, but that’s ultimately fruitless. Witnessing Christianity lose its place of privileged honor in the hearts and minds of our people isn’t pleasant by any means. But it is also not comparable to the suffering being endured by believers around the world who are being forced to choose between renouncing their faith in Jesus or watching their children be murdered in front of them.

So rather than play the martyr and climb up on our cross, let’s instead covenant to play the disciple, taking up and carrying our cross in joy – whatever its weight may be.

And that’s what I see in the people of Beloit. In a town of 900 they have printed and distributed over 4,000 t-shirts that say “Prayer Matters.” Students and families who are not particularly religious have been impressed by the humble exercise of faith in the face of adversity. No doubt conversations have taken place about why prayer matters, and those for whom faith had been a comfortable, in-name-only reality, now has taken on a new life.

It’s distinctly possible that the evangelistic atheists in Wisconsin have done a real favor to the religious conviction of the people of Beloit. They’ve united them, re-energized them, reminded them of what matters, and opened a much easier door to evangelistic conversation. It’s the paradox the world has witnessed repeatedly: Christianity flourishes most when it is under threat.

Albeit on a dramatically smaller scale than what the brethren worldwide have experienced historically, the people of Beloit are bearing witness to this truth with smiles on their faces.

What man intends for evil…

Some places should be secular Peter. Like public school.

I'm not familiar with the specifics in this case but I know prayer before sporting events is a hot topic.

I think private prayer is fine, but I don't want school officials endorsing one religion over another.

I've seen Freedom From Religion Foundation's only ad spot for years that ends with Ronald the Younger wryly stating, "I'm Ron Reagan. NOT afraid of burning in hell." Had no idea it was more than a club that sat around kvetching about God. Outsider meddling always breeds contempt...unless you're Russia wink.

Praying before a football game isnt the same as teaching a theology class and to pretend it is is dishonest. Congress and SCOTUS have and do regularly have prayer. If it's legal under the Constitution from its founding until now for the federal government legislative and judicial bodies themselves, then it's perfectly acceptable for a local school. Frankly public schools currently teach many forms of religion besides Christianity such as secular humanism, universalism, etc. They are often buried in science and history, but they teach them all the same.

Well I certainly applaud you ceasing to be Martyrs and actually fighting back. But this isn't a problem that a "conservation" is going to solve. And the enemy doesn't care if you smile while they stomp their boot in your face or not.

As for "Christianity flourishes most when it is under threat" wouldn't by that logic the Middle East have a thriving Christian community? Christians are heavily under threat there, have been for centuries, and yet they seem to be ever thinner on the ground over there. Along with Jews and ever other tribe of religion which once existed there in.

Jack: if you would travel to these regions you would see a thriving community of believers. They may not have large beautiful buildings but their numbers are by no means piddly.

Praying, is not endorsing one religion over another. What religion does not pray?

I'm open to being persuaded. What are the numbers then? What is the percentage of population who identify as Christian vs Islamic?