Thursday, December 9, 2010

Homily on the Beatitudes, Part 3: Fools for Christ and the Nature of True Persecution (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake.... Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake...." Matthew 5:10-11

Persecution in a vacuum is always evil. If you are "persecuted" because of yourself, because of your obnoxiousness and blitheness, because you play the fool and call it "ministry," then what ever scorn you get is well deserved. Preaching and living the gospel is not about attacking or insulting people's common sense and sensibilities. Rather, it is about exposing the desperation that their pride wishes to hide. The Church continues to suffer under a parade of clowns, jesters, and village idiots who mistake abrasiveness for evangelism and then call every attempt to put them in their place "persecution". What damage has been done by those who act like Jesus needs help being a stumbling-block? Jesus is the controversy; we are merely distractions.

Persecution that entails divine blessing is always persecution in a context: "for righteousness sake" and "for my sake." When you are persecuted, not for being a pretentious blowhard, but for proclaiming and defending what is good and for preaching the man called Christ, then "blessed are ye." Persecution for the sake of an other's merit and virtues is blessed; "persecution" for the sake of our own lunacies and idiocies is natural justice. Pray that we will tell the difference before we push our petty pet arguments rather than preach Christ, the righteousness of God.

Epitaph: Let God be the fool, and every man a lyre.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

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