Micah and Jett-
I really don’t like ranting when I write to you guys. I promise that when you read these, I want the feeling that overwhelms you to resemble “this guy loves us very much,” and not “this guy really had some issues to work out…”
Sometimes, however, a rant is necessary.
You are American. You are, for the most part, white. You are being raised in a Christian household.
Let me work backwards through those statements to present to you your lot in life: You practice the dominant, majority religion with the most historically-privileged skin color in the wealthiest nation that has ever existed. Oh, and you have your lovely mother, so there’s that.
To quote a hard-working and amazing person named Laura Mills, who I hope you know all your life, “The world is yours. No excuses. No one should complain down the mountain.” You hit the genetic, national and parental jackpot. You, my dear children, are playing with what we call “house money.”
I remind you of all that in order to tell you this one very important thing- You are probably not going to face much persecution, and that’s OK.
Of course you don’t want to be persecuted, right? So why would I have to convince you that it’s alright to not be persecuted? Well, because some have decided that the easiest way to be like our Lord and Savior is to skip all the preaching, healing, caring and praying, and go right to the crown of thorns. “My Applebee’s waiter is taking too long to bring us our appetizers- he must have seen our WWJD bracelets and decided to punish us. We’re just like Jesus. Hooray!”
‘Persecuted’ and ‘Prosecuted’ are two very different things. Do Christians in America get treated like dirt sometimes? Yes. Are they often prosecuted for mistaking the general inconsideration that most human beings display daily as persecution? Absolutely. I’ll tell you this a million times growing up- your worst enemy isn’t an Atheist, a Muslim, or even the devil himself. Your worst enemy is the guy you go to church with who’d rather play the victim than pray for victims. Your worst enemy, often enough, is yourself.
Please enjoy this Venn Diagram.
It is a blessing to not have to face persecution in this beautiful country. Some will say that’s because so many have stood on guard with hyper-vigilance before us, and that may be true, but NO ONE likes a victim. No one that matters anyway, and the guy you’re trying to impress, you know, the one with the sweet beard who sits at the right hand of the Father? He already played the victim so we don’t have to. You’re not going to impress him in that arena.
So why are people cruddy to Christians sometimes? Speaking from experience, a lot of us are swell human beings. A lot of us aren’t though. We’re just like everyone else, trying to figure this absurd life out, day-by-day (and all the old school Christians start singing…). The truth is, we hang out in groups, so our inconsideration is easier to attribute to a whole religion. On Sundays, when the “unchurched” are working diligently to make money and feed their families, and a load of Bible-carriers remarking about the how the “spirit moved” come strolling into the restaurant where they are waiting tables, one might expect that this group would take the FIRST OPPORTUNITY THEY HAVE to put some of that sermon’s principles into practice. Do they? In my experience as both a waiter and a patron, no.
In high school, post sermon, we used to go to sit-down restaurants. A few others in our group would delay in joining us until they saved a few bucks by grabbing Wendy’s or McDonalds to-go, and then brought it into the separate establishment we were already stationed at. This did two things; 1) Take up the space that servers use to make a living, and 2) make us, and by “us” I mean all Christians in Arizona, look like total dicks. Because of this, we were prosecuted with sub-par service. Prosecuted, as in had redress justifiably brought against, not persecuted, as in oppressed. No one denied our right to worship as we please, they just shot us a dirty look or two, and then told the person who’s been a great friend to them, and working on inviting them to church for months, “no thank you” because some Sunday mouth-breather couldn’t afford to have his social standing be in jeopardy for the amount of time it takes for a group of churchgoers to finish off some Chicken Alfredo.
I’m getting a little heated. Sorry.
Look guys, just please please please don’t ever forget how good you have it. Act accordingly. You’re blessed. Think of your cross to bear as the delicate balance it takes to recognize those blessings with your actions. I’d rather have that than war, hunger, disease, or the actual physical persecution that some Christians in this world actually face.
I, your mother, your church, and all our friends love you. Deal with that accordingly, with thankfulness, and without paranoia.