Usually my Bible reading is a bit here and a bit there. Still, there are a number of books that I’ve read in their entirety and others that have largely been untouched. To try to correct this, I’m reading books that I’m fairly unfamiliar with in their entirety. First I read Romans, then Song of Solomon and now I’m reading 1 Chorinthians. I’ve found a few surprises along the way. Chief among them, Romans 13, Submission to Government. In short, government’s authority comes from God and it is our duty to “submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”

Whoa.

When Paul wrote this, he was under Roman rule. Early in his Christian mission, Roman rule worked in Paul’s favor, granting him the same protection given to Jews. Roman law kept him safe from those who might harm a religious zealot. At least, this was the case until Nero turned on Christians, imprisoning and torturing thousands, including Paul.

Yet Paul never encouraged revolt. Why? See Romans.

What then does this mean for those of us who feel that our Christian values are under siege? In the US today, it isn’t hard to find people acting on just this feeling – that they are Christians under siege. Protestors picket funerals. They march outside clinics. They carry signs. They scream slogans. Radio personalities skewer those they disagree with. Political ads . . . do I really need to remind you what those are like? Just head on over to Facebook and you’re sure to get several dozen reminders.

What then can you do?

You can disagree with someone and still respect them. But respect does preclude name calling. And screaming. And acting like a brat. Sorry. It just does.

State your case. Paul doesn’t say to hide your beliefs. You can respectfully contact your local law makers. You can speak up for children who don’t have enough food or health care. Write a letter.

Live your beliefs. Paul knew what we so often forget. Live your beliefs and people will see them and know them. He actively visited and preached in new Christian communities. Anyone who was paying attention knew what Paul believed.

Don’t feel like this is enough? Do you honestly think your situation is worse than the Christians under Nero? (Hint: torn apart by dogs, crucified, set on fire.) I didn’t think so.

–SueBE

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