I’ve been debating with a friend about church and state, and it’s caused me to reflect a lot about the nature of Christianity. It’s not an easy faith. It involves sacrifice and humility, neither of which is something we enjoy doing. It’s not something you can just sit back and assume. It’s not about filling a pew or checking a certain box in a spirituality quiz.
Being a Christian in America is easy, and I wonder if that’s contrary to the nature of Christianity. A faith that is easy is never worth much, and consequently it doesn’t stand the trials of life. Christianity flourishes when it’s not so easy to believe. When the church faces persecution, the fringe believers quickly drop off. If you’re not committed to a faith, you’re not going to sacrifice anything for it. What’s left are the true believers, the ones truly ready to sacrifice their lives for their faith. Christianity shines in such downtrodden circumstances because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about sacrifice, humility, hard work, and grace and forgiveness for the little guy.
I’ve been debating all these intricacies of church and state, and I wonder if that’s so not the point. The Bible and Jesus himself were never very concerned with these matters. Obey your authorities and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. That’s about the extend of it, because nothing else matters. Our concern as the Church is to spread the Gospel, not govern nations (though I suppose some are called to that). If a nation supports us, fine – but we’ll keep our focus on spreading the Gospel and challenging believers to the hard life of faith, not allowing government approval to let us grow lax. And if a nation persecutes us, fine – but we’ll continue anyway, going underground to spread the Gospel and calling believers to the hard life of faith.
Sometimes I wish the U.S. wasn’t such a Christian friendly place. When it becomes so easy to believe, it becomes so easy to be lethargic.