Recently an email arrived from a person worried about a movie which he said portrayed Jesus in a blasphemous way and asking for prayer that the movie would be banned.
I could not bother God about this.
This reminded me of other numerous protests from concerned pew-sitters worried that our precious “Christianised Australia” is headed for Sodom and Gomorrah, and that faith and peoples’ religious comfort zone is under threat. But Australia is not a “Christian” country, never was and never will be. In Australia we have, and will continue to have, a clear separation between church and state.
Jesus in his flesh suffered abuse and the most extreme humiliation and calls us to bear the same when it comes. It’s time Christians all realised we do not live in a society where we can just expect everyone to fall into line with our preferences. We are in the minority. We live in a nation which has forgotten its substantial Judeo-Christian roots. We live in the midst of a pagan, fun-loving, don’t-tell-me-what-to-do society, a society which thinks in terms of ‘what is true for me’ and ‘what is true for you’—which is an illogical way to live, but it removes the pagan mind from God’s existence and from God botherers like you and me.
We have to expect more and more of this sort of thing.
Our mighty sovereign LORD—the one who is actively present in our universe—is not threatened but He puts His people in the midst of an unbelieving world in order to bear witness to Him. He does not call us to settle down and be comfortable and have an easy lifestyle where there are no movies, books, news articles, TV shows, neighbours, journos, etc who are going to ignore us or upset us. We are called to take up the cross and follow him. And that can mean abuse, misinformation, isolation and rejection even by members of one’s own family, let alone the general pagan community.
When a movie like this is shown, let’s not squeal and winge about it, as so many did when Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ was screened here or more recently the Da Vinci Code book and movie. Rather, let’s see these things as opportunities to contest the counterfeit and present the real Jesus and his courageous apostles, as recorded in the historical gospel documents and letters. Or are we going to be like the Islamists who respond with anger and threats if their prophet is even criticised in the slightest way? To do that, we would be admitting that our God needs some help, needs defending. Nah. Not a bit. Not our sovereign Lord.
Actually, what is happening is that our Enemy and followers are threatened, not us. If there are insults and blasphemies against Jesus, he must truly be someone truly significant. He is and always will be the target. And we will targets also.
Let’s get used to it.