How to Regain Cultural Capital:
The persecuted church shows the power of community amid social hostility.
Living under anti-Christian hostility is a paradox of tensions. Global Christians suffer not only as friends of God but also as enemies of the people.
A Christian brother in a difficult region recently shared with me that while Christians in his culture may endure police brutality and unjust arrest, anti-Christian hostility hasn’t necessarily been marked by the violence we see in the Middle East. Anti-Christian hostility is more social than physical. Conversion to Christ is taboo. Christians are ostracized, cast out of their families, and, in his words, seen as “worse than drug addicts.”
They answer to this hostility with what I describe as “productive perseverance working through community.” They are filled with a deep hope in Christ that drives out fear of man, and their lives are often marked by radical personal transformation and a communal discipleship that it is so attractive, others risk stigmatization to know it.
Christians there establish new families by welcoming young converts into their homes for several months. These young believers are protected from social pressure and prepared to face negative public opinion once they return to society. They also learn agricultural or trade-oriented skills as well as biblical business principles. These skills help them make a living if they can’t obtain work due to their faith. In addition, such mentoring enables these men and women to bring a life-affirming influence into the broader stream of everyday life. That witness is more than countercultural; because of its biblical orientation, it is “other-cultural.”
When we read the biblical epistles in the context of anti-Christian hostility, passages like Galatians 6:10 jump to life: …