By now the buzz about the Starbucks’ red cups is dying down, though most of us probably saw the frenzy on our Twitter or Facebook feeds. Non-Christians and Christians alike took to social media platforms to denounce what one man claimed was persecution and a “war on Christmas.”
Though only a small group agreed with the man who started the red cup debate, news headlines and blog posts claimed things like, “Some Christians are super offended…” and “Starbucks angers Christian groups…” prompting comments on social media about how Christians should “get over their persecution complex.”
This is where the greater issue lies with the red cup debate. By crying “persecution” over coffee cups, people have downplayed a reality that Christians face daily around the world—one that costs them a lot more than a cup of coffee.
Take a look at these worldwide statistics from Open Doors International:
322 Christians are killed for their faith.
214 Christian churches or properties are destroyed.
722 forms of violence are committed against Christians – including beatings, rapes, arrests, abductions, and forced marriages.
It is true that hostility and criticisms towards Christians in America have grown significantly in recent years, especially in cultural debates. However, when compared to the rest of the world, Christians in America hold many more freedoms to practice their faith.
Persecution is not a word that should be used lightly, but it is a reality. In fact, Jesus told his followers that they would face persecution. In John 15:19-20, Jesus says, “…I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
During the Secret church gathering each year we focus on one area of the world where followers of Christ face very real persecution. We share their stories and prayer requests. As one body, we pray for our brothers and sisters and give of our resources to help meet any needs they may have.
Join us this year for Secret Church as we get to know followers of Christ in another country who face daily persecution on some level. As you hear stories of persecution in their lives, you will gain a better understanding of how to partner with them in prayer and a greater perspective of Christ’s global church.
This year we will focus on a country with multi-faceted persecution. A place where believers are living out their faith boldly in the midst of strong opposition. A place where conditions could become tougher for Christians and other minority faiths in the near future.
Our next post will announce our prayer focus for Secret Church 16: A Global Gospel in a World of Religions. Stay tuned to find out more.