Reality Check

I know that a lot of churches are hurting in this recession/depression/economic downturn/whatever that has fixated so much of America’s attention.  Churches and plenty of other institutions and individuals are suffering and uncertain about what the future might hold.  That uncertainty and fear is real and true and needs to be addressed and dealt with in the best ways possible.

But lest we begin to feel too sorry for ourselves, too quickly, it is good to remember that around the world, Christians are dying for their faith.

In Pakistan, they have been attacked again and again in the last week, based on false allegations and murdered by militant Muslims who were bussed in from other locations specifically to attack Christians. 

In North Korea, a Christian woman is publicly executed by the State for allegedly distributing Bibles.  Her family – parents, husband, and three children – have been sent to prison camps to face an uncertain future.

In Cuba, Christian leaders are falsely accused and subjected to imprisonment at the whim of the State.

In Vietnam, Catholic priests were attacked – one even thrown out of a second story window – allegedly by plainclothes police while other officials stood by and did nothing. 

In Egypt, Muslim converts to Coptic Christianity are persecuted and attacked, as the State decrees that it is illegal to change the religious identification on State issued identity cards.

Persecution against Christians can take a variety of forms and shapes, ranging from media jokes to philosophical attacks to physical attacks and even martyrdom.   Suffering takes many forms and has many levels of intensity.  While we should be mindful of our own challenges and problems, I pray that the Church that enjoys so much freedom and expressiveness in the West will not turn a blind eye to the suffering of Christian brothers and sisters around the world.

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