It’s without doubt more socially costly to be a pastor or church staff person now than when I was growing up. Church work “back in the day” didn’t pay much, but there was a general sense of respect. The worst that you had to endure in most cases was people thinking you were a “goody-goody.” No longer…

Now the internet is full of attacks on pastors and Christians in general. We’ve been stereotyped by the media as bigoted, intolerant, and hyperjudgmental – as well as sexist, racist, and any other “…ist” that you can come up with. Our faith in God is seen as “problematic.” Or so it seems…

Truth be told, a lot of what I hear from my peers (and sometimes feel myself) is overly dramatized. We are hyper sensitive to any criticism.  The truth is that a good chunk of the attacks that come our way are imaginary, or at least overblown. A careless word or snarky comment by someone gets magnified into perceived hatred. Not likely, though… We don’t play such a central figure in the lives of most people that they would spend their time and energy plotting our demise.

Don’t get me wrong… The attacks on the church by modern culture are very real. I think they are likely to get worse in upcoming days, perhaps much worse. But that’s just getting back to normal – Christians have always been under attack in one way or another. However, it seems that that currently the biggest fears that we have are social in nature. We are highly swayed by what people think and extremely susceptible to peer pressure. Our desire for personal comfort and “fitting in” is so overwhelming that even the slightest social awkwardness or discomfort can cause us to downplay or make excuses for our faith.

Show courage. It is in these (seemingly) small moments that the direction of our lives is set. And pray. Pray for the strength to stand when tested. Pray for each other. Pray for the church. And offer thanks to God that He is with us through it all.

“You’re far more likely to have someone try to convince you that this doesn’t matter, that it won’t make a difference, than you are to be threatened or intimidated out of trying.” – Ryan Holiday

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