Monday, 8 October 2012

Demonic Embarrassment

Over the years I've heard lots of great claims that the kingdom of God is advancing and that our greatest enemy is the devil. Apparently, it's the devil that stops us from... well, stops us from whatever it is that "advancing" means. I guess that's part of the problem of having a mindset that equates the new creation with an earthly structure like a kingdom.

If we take the grandeur away from these kinds of metaphors and just look at the every day experience of Christians, I think we get a different picture. What's the real obstacle for western Christians today, in their quest to embody Christ to the world? I daresay that it's probably nothing other than embarrassment. We're hesitant to take a step and proclaim our faith, but only for something to do with what other people will think about us or say about us.

This is a strange perversion of Christianity, though. It's a faith that centres around the crucified and risen Christ, and crucifixion was a horrible and humiliating way to die. It was public execution, with the dying victim put on display as an example to others not to try the same thing. Jesus' death was humiliating, from the Romans, from the Jewish leaders, from his own disciples, from his own Father who abandoned him.

Doesn't it seem perverse, then, that the Christians who follow Jesus are embarrassed to proclaim his message to the world? Jesus told his followers to take up their crosses; a direct allusion to the humiliation of crucifixion. We are commanded to expose ourselves to ridicule for the sake of the gospel and to welcome that ridicule when it comes.

The real demonic power - the power that is illegitimate - is the embarrassment that stops Christians from proclaiming the gospel in word and deed. It's bizarre that the obstacle is not a bigger version of the humiliation that Christ experienced, but a smaller one. For the sake of social embarrassment we are held back, and that's what we should be most embarrassed about.

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