I must confess that I get a kick out of listening to Dennis Miller on his weekly “Miller Time” segment with Bill O’Reilly. Something that he said recently rang true, especially in light of events both in the middle east and in the U.S.
“I think Christians are going to get flattened over the next few years, the next few decades, and you know why? They don’t behead you if you flatten them. So I think they’re going to end up getting flattened. Let’s face facts. The coming trend in America is that the State is going to be god…. If I was (sic) a Christian, would I lay low? Yeah, I would.”
It reminded me of an article I read a while back entitled, How the Cross Taunts ISIS, by Robert Barron. In his article the author states: The ISIS barbarians were actually quite right in entitling their video “A Message Written in Blood.” Up and down the centuries, tyrants and their lackeys have thought that they could wipe out the followers of Jesus through acts of violence. But as Tertullian observed long ago, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. And they were furthermore right in sending their message to “the Nation of the Cross.” But they should know that the cross taunts them.
How difficult for us, for me, to be reminded that our message is so powerful precisely because it is so other-worldly. A seed must die to give life. Our message is the cross, an instrument of death. Forgiveness is offered in the face of injustice and scorn. Evil is ultimately defeated by a good that allows itself to be mistreated, scorned, even killed.
Our faith is too often couched in a philosophy of strength, in a mentality of constant and inevitably victory. There is, ultimately, victory in Jesus, but that victory must pass through the crucible of the cross, figuratively or perhaps even literally. The world is changing, becoming darker, more often calling evil good and good evil. But this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Am I willing to pay the price?