There are some things I don't want to write about.

I am, by nature, an optimistic person. One who desires to focus on the positive and believe there is a little good in all of us. But tonight, I came face to face with pure evil. A kind of evil that I didn't know people were actually capable of outside of cable television.

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I watched ISIS murder 30 Ethiopian Christians. 

And this just happened this week. There was another ISIS case of persecution/terrorism earlier this year (in February) as well - and I ignored it then. I can't ignore it again. 

I am not linking to the video, ONLY because I do not believe this is something everyone needs to see. But some, some may need to see it. I truly believe I was one of those people (even though, I really really wish I wasn't)

If I'm being honest, I haven't been very in tune with the world at large. I could blame it on motherhood and having young babies to care for, but I knew within 20 minutes after the news broke yesterday that Tim Tebow was going to be signed to the Philadelphia Eagles. (ESPN was on in the background as I was getting my kids dressed for bed and my ears perked up at "Tebow," what can I say?) I'm also pretty up-to-date on all of my engaged, newly married and pregnant friends thanks to social media. No, I think the real truth is that I have become so consumed with my comfortable American life, that I have become apathetic to the rest of the hurting world. 

Not intentionally. But not unintentionally, either. 

Can I be real about something? American Christianity is shallowMy faith is shallow. 

Every morning I get up, and never worry about dying because I love Jesus. Not even for one second. 

And let me tell you - lots of "worries" cross my mind. "Do I have to change another poop this morning? Can I sleep for five more minutes? Are we out of coffee?" Just to name a few. 

Like I said. Super shallow

I don't even know how I ended up here. With such a weak faith, I mean.

I went to Bible college. I married a pastor. I read my Bible. I pray... oh, do I pray. I listen to Christian music. I sing worship music. I spend nearly half of my week at church, for goodness sakes. 

But yet, I barely touch the surface of what it truly means to live for Christ. Not in the context of what my brothers and sisters in Ethiopia (and several other countries) are facing. I imagine they read and cling to these verses a little differently than I.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
— Romans 8:35-36

 

Have you ever stopped to think about why Christianity is so easy in America? 

And before you try to argue that it's not - can I point out that I just heard Miranda Lambert (and a handful of other artists) thank Jesus Christ for an ACM Award on national television?

For an ACM Award. 

They will surely live to face another day. In fact, they may even get a few iTunes sales out of it. 

And good for them. I am not saying this is right or wrong - but just a matter of fact. America, the land of the free. We have it good, don't we? Or do we.

America, with all it's fame and glory, has made a celebrity of Jesus. Christianity is just another genre. Pick a weekend show to attend. Hashtag your allegiance on social media. And don't forget to pick up your copy of our new worship album, when you leave. There is nothing inherently bad about any of that. But the reason Christianity is so easy in America, is because there is nothing really hard about any of it either. 

Saying you love Jesus in America, is like saying you love coffee. 

Some love it, some hate it, some are fanatically addicted to it. But nobody is really offended by it.  

And the heavy burden on my heart... is because they should be. They should be offended by Jesus. Because the gospel, the whole foundation of Christianity, is offensive.

And if you don't believe it's offensive, try telling that to ISIS.

After I stumbled upon "the video" earlier, and saw... the murder... the blood... I quickly turned it off. My mind couldn't process it as real. Not at first. It was just another gory movie. But then, my heart began to break. As I realized these were my brothers... soldiers of the faith... falling to their death because of the same faith I claim. Because of the same name I sing about every weekend. Because of a man who laid down His life for us... they were laying down theirs.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
— Matthew 16:24-25

There are many who thank God for the blessing of being born in America. A country where we have the freedom of speech and religion. To believe strongly and voice those beliefs (like I'm doing right now) on a public platform. And I have been guilty of thanking God for this "blessing" as well. 

But I think we may have it backwards. 

I think the Christians being persecuted in the middle east are the ones being truly blessed. And I think our biggest question here in America should be... why is our faith so shallow? 

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
— Matthew 5:11-12

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