I have been ridiculed for my faith and lost friends because of it. But that has also happened as a result of my political views and opinions. That is not persecution, that is the freewill of humanity.
I am ashamed, however, of the Not Ashamed campaign that is, once again, peddling its Christianophobic view which is, quite frankly, ludicrous! They have a premise of and talk of persecution and discrimination of Christians in this country, and yet we have Christian schools (which, actually, discriminate against people who are not Christians in both pupil intake and staff). Parliament starts with prayer daily with MPs even having their own chapel for daily services. Christians are not persecuted in this country …. to say we are is to heap insult on Christians and other faith bodies across the world who really are persecuted for their faith …. Muslims in Bosnia, the Karin in Burma, Christians in Zimbabwe, Sikhs in Pakistan … the list could go on. But … in the UK, Christians are not persecuted.
The campaign also speaks of ‘not compromising Biblical teaching’ and this is where the campaign, run by Christian Concern, really narrows to an exclusive and discriminatory slant of Christianity. The Biblical teaching they talk of is a right wing evangelical understanding of scripture … which would, and does, exclude a lot of committed, hard working and unashamed Christians. They, like myself, are not ashamed of our faith, and certainly not ashamed of Jesus Christ, but could never sign up to a campaign that rejects, excludes and misleads in the (apparent) name of the gospel.
I don’t read a gospel that excludes or follow a Jesus that discriminates.
Bodenheim writes this morning in Disturbing Complacency that Advent is ‘a time of critical reflection on our life and faith both as individuals and as communities …. During this time we make room for confession, we drop defensiveness and we acknowledge that we are not God‘.
In her comment, Bodenheim, I think, sums up my biggest distress/shame with this campaign. The Not Ashamed campaign think they are 100% right. They believe their reading and interpretation of scripture are the only valid reading and interpretation that can be. They are as dismissive of other wings of the church and their interpretations as they are of other religions. I believe they think they have the monopoly on truth and faith …..
Only one possesses complete truth, only one has the monopoly, only one is right …. and that one is God.
Advent is a time to remind ourselves and acknowledge that we are not God.