Quotes
Comments 6

A Church Called to Disruption

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.

– Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

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6 Comments

  1. Sally M&M says

    This is so timely. My church hosted a training on being an Immigrant Welcoming Church this afternoon. Two pastors and two lawyers spoke, and a refuge family (all siblings) attended and answered some questions, too. At the end, one of the lawyers, speaking about actually harboring an immigrant, told us that in these times, we could very well expect to go to federal prison for 5 years–that she felt she can no longer say the possibility is remote. I became afraid and thought, “What would my husband do without me for five years? What about my paycheck?” I’m now reading “Walking With the Wind”, by John Lewis, and the thought of Mr. Lewis and his sufferings made me feel even more pathetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the blog, Sally, and thank you for sharing this experience. It can be so, so hard to act when we know the consequences could be truly dire. Is God truly calling your church to this work? If so, it may be wise to discuss how you will support each other’s families in the event of arrest and imprisonment. In my mind, one of the main purposes of coming together as brothers and sisters in Christ is for mutual support in carrying out the Gospel. Nobody should have to worry about her family being left alone and unsupported if Gospel labor leads to imprisonment. Of course, many of our churches have gotten away from that in our individualistic age, but maybe now is the time to rediscover what shared life in Christ can look like? What do you think?

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      • Sally M&M says

        I think it is time. My main reason for staying with the church is my belief that our work can best–or maybe only–be done in community. But my imagination had not taken me as far as support for my own family. It is a good suggestion to include this discussion this as part of our process of discernment. I’m going to do that. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

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