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On “Persecution”…

I happened to read an article today where the author said, “It seems with each passing day, more and more people raise the possibility of persecution of Christians in the United States.”

Now, that’s definitely concerning, right?  Thankfully, he clarifies himself immediately:

“Many see religious liberty slipping away. Christians are beginning to wonder what the future holds.”

Oh, okay.  It turns out we’re not talking about how actual, serious Americans are proposing some sort of diabolical plan to persecute Christians.  It’s just, as is so often the case, Christians trying to convince each other that we’re really being persecuted.  If you read further, all this concern is because the growth of Christianity in America isn’t keeping pace with the growth of the population.

Well, yeah.  That sucks.  And I’d argue it’s largely our own fault.

But here’s the deal – not being the majority opinion doesn’t mean you’re being persecuted.  Just because people disagree with you, that doesn’t mean your religious liberty is “slipping away.”  The government lets people do things you think are wrong?  That’s still not persecution. This is supposed to be a country that respects and enshrines the free exchange of opinion, idea, and even religion.  So why have we gotten to the point that we’re so freaked out when people actually exercise those rights?  Why does it upset us when other people challenge our beliefs?

If we’re going to continue as a religion in this country, we’ve got to accept that:

1. Not everyone agrees with us.

2. That’s okay.

It is completely, 100% alright that not everyone agrees with us.  Why on earth did we ever think everyone would?

And let’s not forget – if we’re going to claim that political disagreement equals persecution, then maybe we should think back to the “glory days” of the 90’s – you know, when we tried to boycott and silence everyone we didn’t like?  Is that persecution, too, or does it only count when you’re disagreeing with us?

That’s why I think all this boils down to one thing – we’re not in charge anymore.  We used to be the majority (or at least we thought we were).  Now we’re not, and it’s becoming more and more obvious every day that a growing number of people don’t care what we think – and that’s scary.  On the whole, modern American Christians have not established a great reputation as people willing to embrace change.  It worries us.  It freaks us out.  We overreact.

And that takes us back to the point, here.  This “persecution” rhetoric is the sort of talk that really, really needs to be toned down.  In a world where hundreds of children are being kidnapped by terrorists, where pastors are being thrown in jail or into labor camps, and where people are actually being killed every day because they’ve chosen to believe in Jesus – in that world, it rings a little hollow (and a LOT self-centered) to hear pastors claim that American Evangelicals are being persecuted.

If your biggest problem is that the guy in front of you has a Darwin Fish on his bumper, that does not count as persecution.

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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The “Worship” Service, and Why Mine Doesn’t Sound Like Yours

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This sounds suspiciously like rock and/or roll!

It’s another week, so I’ve seen yet another article on Facebook or Twitter about how ___________________ is slowly destroying worship in our churches.  It’s usually a critique of contemporary worship culture, and often, it’s presented as “Hey, I’m only saying this because I’m concerned!”  Now, I do appreciate people who have genuine concerns.  Unfortunately, though, in my experience, most of these writers are just usually annoyed by __________________, and they want it gone.

It’s always phrased as a concern for the state of worship, though – whatever the _________________ might be, it’s destroying worship as we know it.

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Food My Wife Likes, Part One – Honey Lime Fruit Salad

So, the wife and I have both resolved to be healthier this new year.  To help with that, I’ve personally made it a goal to fewer processed ingredients, cook at home more often, and do less fast-food purchasing in general.  Since I like to cook, I’m responsible for doing most of the cooking, and I’m the guy who purchases the groceries (usually), I’ve decided to make some changes in my routine – including a lot of advance meal planning.

I’d also originally planned to blog about everything I cook, but let’s be honest – they don’t all turn out to be winners.

So, I’m just going to blog about the stuff we really, really liked.  First up is a recipe I originally found at a blog called Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – Honey Lime Fruit Salad.  Personally, I’m not a big fruit salad fan, but I really liked this version – and my wife raved about it.  In fact, she showed more than one sign of possibly developing some sort of addiction to this salad.  The bowl has steadily gotten emptier and emptier since Monday, and now that my wife has gone to bed, I’m planning to pack the rest for my lunch tomorrow without her knowing.

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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Food, Uncategorized

 

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Reading Roundup!

So, back again with another list of articles I’ve enjoyed.  I know it was supposed to be posted this weekend, but that didn’t happen.  Waiting makes the heart grow fonder, or something like that.

Here we go:

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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

About Me…

This is the actual content of the About Me page.  I just thought it would work well for a first post, too…

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Howdy.

I’m Bryan Townsend.  Former Pastor, long-time youth volunteer, lover of fine foods, half-delusional cook, current AV/Tech guy, hopeful church planter/dreamer, and new husband.

I’m also a geek.  Or a nerd.  Or whatever.  Almost all my hobbies?  Weird.  I love to cook, for example, but not in a Guy Fieri, jorts-and-hawaiian shirt, wear-my-sunglasses-on-the-back-of-my-head kind of way.  I’m an Alton Brown kind of cook.  Teach me the science behind it, give me a neat set of refrigerator magnets, and plenty of gadgets to buy (just ask my wife).

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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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