I really appreciate Ken Wytsma’s latest blog on martyrdom and how it fits into the world of following Jesus today. He writes of martyrs who suffer because they are doing what God wants them to do and those who suffer because they are going against what God wants them to do. Most often those who are not doing what God wants think they are suffering for God when actually they are opposing God.
One of the characteristics of my generation is to jettison orthodox thinking or sound doctrine as outdated and then chart a course for adventure, self discovery, experience, engagement and many other noble things. The problem is that the latter didn’t require the former. Relevant and meaningful engagement doesn’t require a rejection of Scripture and orthodox theology.
These guys, who go by many names and join many of the latest emerging movements, often run into road blocks, rejection by other Christians and have difficulties getting going or being understood and the temptation for them often is to feel justified, persecuted and that they are martyrs.
Makes me think… as most often I read things with great personal reflection. Do I feel like a martyr? I know there are many times I reflect on the slowness and the challenges of this community growing that I have embarked on. The challenges of modeling and encouraging ownership and leadership. The challenges of getting over myself and my own learning edge to be brave and get outside my comfort zone. The challenges of marking my success and value by how I am loving, by how people’s lives are changing, by how connected I am with God’s work… and not marking it by numbers, size, or converts. I find myself challenged every day… and I wonder, do I feel like it’s because I’m doing God’s work, or because I’m not.
Thankfully, I don’t feel as though I have rejected scripture or given up on doctrine. I take it all very, very seriously. Granted I see it as progressing… but the history of those who come before me is essential. I do think that there is a great deal of rejection of Christians toward some of the things coming out of the emerging church. This makes me think twice about what I am doing when I see it happening graciously and openly. So often though, these differences that we have get talked about behind closed doors or with people who agree with us. When we assume we have more of the “right” truth than the next person, it is awfully hard to hear them well. I really hope to hear from people, “Hey, you know, I don’t really agree with you on this… but you want to get some coffee or grab a beer and talk about it face to face?”
I just finished How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill, and he mentions the martyrdom of the Celtic saints. I’ll do another post about this HERE… this one’s long enough.