Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


Afraid to Post on Facebook

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Body language says it all — Xena is poised to run, even though she’s just had a lovely breakfast and all we’re doing it taking her photo. Photo credit Steve Henderson Fine Art.

I have a cat named Xena the Warrior Princess, which is a diverting misnomer because she is one of the timidest animals alive.

Admittedly, as far as staying alive, running away from trouble is a successful stratagem for Xena, who spends her days concealed in the bushes, wide-eyed and paranoid. When she does venture out, she flat out runs, which invariably results in the dog hard on her heels. And then it’s back to the bushes.

As I say, it’s a successful stratagem for staying alive, but not necessarily for living.

Timid, Timorous, Afraid

So it is with many Christians, who are some of the most timorous humans I run into. Not all of them, mind you — there are many, many believers persecuted and punished for living their lives with honor, grace, and truth, and too many of them we know nothing about because they are in prison or in poverty. Some of the photos circulated of their last moments are too graphically violent to be “permitted” on social media sites, although one can’t help but wonder, if it’s too dreadful to see, what was it like to endure?

But in the United States, the country in which I was born and in which I live, while we are not yet at overtly complete totalitarian status, we’re definitely not free and swingin’ in the tropical isles, contentedly living our lives in liberty and without interference from the powers that be, which, theoretically, “serve” us.

Even the densest insensate realizes that “stuff is going on,” to the point that occasionally, on national and corporate news stations, a story shows up about a road block in which police randomly stop drivers to check for potential drinking (the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits illegal search and seizure, but many judges and justices routinely interpret things differently) or invasive and degrading TSA pat downs (a bit over “friendly skies” there).

See No Evil?

You can’t go through the day without seeing an injustice perpetrated by an official, corporate, military, or government agency — even if it’s nothing more than a speed trap — and yet, when it comes to letting others know about these things, Christians are the last to speak up. If it weren’t for a number of very brave, very loud, and disproportionately non-Christian voices, we wouldn’t know as much as we do. (This is a good time to mention the Rutherford Institute, which is Christian-based, and which does speak up and out. But it’s a minority.)

Beachside Diversions original oil painting and licensed print by Steve Henderson

As Christians, it is our privilege — and not necessarily an easy one — to protect the weak, defenseless, and needy. Beachside Diversions, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and Framed Canvas Art.

“I don’t want to post anything on Facebook,” people whisper, “because they’re watching these things, you know, and identifying who could be potential troublemakers.”

1) Who’s they? Logic dictates that it isn’t the Russians, or the Islamic Extremists, or whatever other enemies we’re told to be afraid of. “They,” quite unfortunately, appears to be our own government, which, theoretically, is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” So why are the people afraid?

2) Since when did expressing an opinion — any opinion — result in being put on a troublemaker (read: domestic terrorist) list? There is a First Amendment, as well, to our Constitution (freedom of speech, religion, and the right to peaceably assemble); unfortunately, it is also regularly, oddly interpreted by judges.

3) In any war, half the battle is won when you convince the other side that it has already lost.

The Little “gods” Wield Control

Psalm 82 is a short conversation from God, the one true judge, to the “gods,” the leaders and judges in the world of men:

“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Does this sound like what those in power are doing today? The Psalm continues:

“They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.”

Since the “gods” of this world are not doing the job to which they were appointed, maybe we, the ordinary people, and especially the Christians in America who are not yet bound and tied, can speak up for the weak and defenseless, and not be so afraid that “they” might notice us and put us on a list. Because when and if they do, won’t we want someone to know, and possibly speak up for us, even if it’s nothing more than a Facebook post?

By the way, the Psalm has an interesting penultimate line:

“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’

“But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.”

Evil doesn’t triumph. But it can gain a lot of power, when good people sit back, watch, and say nothing.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity. You know, we do live in a global environment, but it’s not for others’ financial gain. As Christians, we have brothers and sisters all over the world, many whom live in countries with far fewer freedoms than we still enjoy.

Before we lose all our freedoms, perhaps we can grab the remnant of what’s left and speak out openly, while we still have that opportunity.

Posts similar to this one are

Will We Ever Say Good-bye to the Legacy of the Vietnam War?

Are You Awake?

The Misfit Christian (if you are one of those Christians who already speaks up, and isn’t afraid to post links, stories, and statements on Facebook, then you may find that you don’t fit into the crowd, including the one at the doughnut tray in the back of church. Before you condemn yourself for being a misfit, or worse, try to fit back into the group, consider my book. I wrote it for you.)

 



  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    It is increasingly important for people to speak up, Karen, as the world players ratchet up events around us. Fear is a weapon used to keep people silent and complacent, and silent and complacent people are easily overrun and conquered.

  • Karen

    Hey Carolyn, Thanks for reminding us that it’s not just what we believe that makes an impact on the world around us… we have to take the next step and open our mouths and speak the truth!

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Jennifer — I’m sort of an old, saggy baggy Christian — or at least I was until several years ago when God strode into the room and announced, “Wake up! I’ve got things for you to do and I need you engaged, here!”

    I had absolutely no idea how exciting and big and strong and powerful and really, truly Awesome God is, and I’m still learning. It’s NOT easy being a Christian, not if you’re going to wake up each day and say, “Okay, God — you’re real. Then BE real in my life; teach me; correct me when I go running off in a wrong direction; and show me how to rest in your arms. This stuff in the Bible? Show me how it’s true. I don’t want to just know what it says, I want to live what it promises.”

    I guarantee you that it’s far less work, but far less satisfying, to just not try. But speaking from personal experience, I can’t guarantee that God will allow us to stay in this mode.

    I do hope that, after reading my articles, you ultimately come away encouraged — and I hope that you never feel beaten down or discouraged, because that’s the very attitude that I’m trying to fight. God is big and perfect and powerful and compassionate and loving — and you and I are His daughters.

    Wow.

  • http://www.thedeliberatemom.com/ Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    I appreciate your posts and I have to admit that every time before I visit I hesitate before I click to read because you push me (in a good way) to reach more, think more, and dig deeper.

    Sometimes that’s uncomfortable but this is how it should be! Believing that following Christ will be “easy” or “simple” is a lie. There is a reason that we are called to pick up our cross and follow Him. He did the heavy lifting but we have to still do His work here in this world which is full of evil and distractions.

    As a relatively “new” Christian, I feel blessed to be spurned on and challenged to question the church and to seek the truth. So thank you Carolyn and God bless you.
    xoxo

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    I think that, regardless of where we live, a healthy wariness of any secular agency — government or not — isn’t a bad thing to have. Sadly, that same wariness is necessary within what we think would be Christian situations because too many of these organizations are run along the line of corporate business counterparts. Ultimately, it comes down to what Jesus said — “Only God is good.” Only God can be relied upon for truth, honesty, and truly looking out for a person, and we forget this at our peril.

    Thank you, Jennifer, for the opportunity to post my link at the Shine blog hop. As a Christian who writes a message that is counter-cultural-Christian — think for yourself, stop submitting to your church leaders as the ultimate purveyors of truth, ask questions, it’s okay to leave the local church and find another way of pursuing your relationship with Christ — I am naturally on the outside fence of many traditional Christian publishing venues. Can you imagine a book published with the central message — think for yourself and stop supporting the Christian corporate culture?

  • http://www.thedeliberatemom.com/ Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    I am Canadian and I don’t think we have the whole “mistrust” of the government as much as Americans. When there is injustice, I see and hear quite a few speak out. For example, the Parliament was recently rewriting legislation surrounding prostitution… I was thrilled to see how many Christians rallied together to not just speak out about prostitution but also to voice concerns for the vulnerable of society.

    We have to speak up. We are CALLED to speak up. This walk with Christ isn’t supposed to be a walk which cowers in fear or doesn’t create controversy… it is a walk that requires bravery and strength through Jesus Christ our Lord AND we’re bound to ruffle some feathers if we’re ministering the truth.

    Thanks for sharing Carolyn (and linking up to the #SHINEbloghop). I appreciate you taking the time to encourage and spurn me on to continue to speak up and to speak boldly.

    God bless you.
    xoxo

  • Pingback: Are You Tired of Living in Fear? | This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

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  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Scale Lily — you are a treasure! You realize that the path we’re called on frequently makes us uncomfortable, something we forget in a country where our level of Christianity is determined by our material blessedness. The 1st Book of Peter makes me uncomfortable, and yet it comforts me as well — “He who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” 4: 1-2. Encouraging, yet uncomfortable.

  • Scale Lily

    I hear a lot of people fight battles for things of little consequence, but when it comes to the battle for another soul, one that has been fought and won, we grow silent. Here we only hav to tell, and give report of the enemy and its defeat. I’ve watched good men be judged by men of less character and again silence. What did we really believe? I enjoyed this post Carolyn; it makes me uncomfortable.

  • Pingback: Are We Afraid of Our Own Government? | This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

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