Do You Want the Bad News, or the Bad News?

If you read today’s reading (1 Thessalonians 3), aren’t verses 2-4 almost funny in light of today’s Americanized Christianity?

It says that we Christians are destined for … trials. Not glory, not wealth, not happiness, not church growth, but trials. Can you picture that billboard? “Come to our church – Your life will suck!” (“Excuse me, I don’t understand your church’s billboard on the highway. Why does it say what it does?” “Oh? Well, it goes with our church slogan: Together, Experiencing Crappy Trial After Crappy Trial.“)

And back then, in the “new member” class, the church leadership kept stressing that … we will be persecuted. “As a member of this church, you’ll be expected to join a small group, serve, and tithe. And, in return, you’ll be hated and ridiculed by most people in the community. If you’re lucky, they might even get physical with ya! Beat the tar right out of ya. There’s even a chance you and yours’ will get killed. … Oh, and we’ve got this great church pen you can take home with you today.”

And yet the church back then grew and grew. Makes you think they knew something we don’t…