John Piper tweeted something this morning that I thought was fascinating...
That raises a couple of questions for me.
First, are we really scorned by the culture? It is pretty hard to make that argument when the church demands and is given all sorts of special privileges from the world. We live in a culture with a church on every corner, where our donations to religious organizations (both "churches" and groups like Desiring God) are given special tax treatment, where our religious employees get preferential tax treatment, where weddings performed in our religious ceremonies are given the approval of the state, where many rules of employment and other regulations don't apply to us.
Second, as Dan Edelen pondered when I posted this on Facebook, to the extent we are scorned by the world and the culture, is it because we reflect the love, grace, sacrifice and Spirit that should mark a follower of Christ? Or is it because we are arrogant and prideful, judging those who are unregenerate for acting like unregenerate people? I think it is often the latter. I mean really, do you know anyone in this culture that is persecuted? Granted Desiring God is an international ministry so maybe Piper meant people living somewhere else.
If we were really living as Christ would have us live, I think we would truly be scorned by the culture and persecuted. We would scorned and persecuted because our way of life would be a threat to the existing order: economically, politically, socially. Instead we are a willing participant in the existing order and largely responsible for it's creation in the first place. Much, if not most, of what we know as Western civilization is the result of a historical context where the church and the state worked in tandem and we now find ourselves in the bed we made. We don't get to play the persecution card whenever something doesn't go our way and true persecution is not something that we can respond to with a lawsuit. We will know for certain when we are truly being persecuted and reviled and scorned but it certainly isn't happening now and we just as certainly are not prepared to meet it when it does come.