All who desire to walk in Christ will suffer persecution and know the cross. How true this is! Yet, how rarely discussed. What do we really know about dying with Christ? We who are Baptists should know more about this than we really do. After all, baptism is a dying with Christ, is it not? And is not baptism the doorway into the Church, the community of suffering?
But our churches have become adept at hiding: hiding behind liturgy, behind tradition, behind doctrine! Afraid to really build into each other's lives in case we encounter suffering, we continue to meet weekly, but so much of it is merely show and sham. Inwardly there is pain, but people are afraid to ask and probe. And if something is said, how easily do the words stay only in the realm of the theoretic.
Personally, I am fed up with all such subterfuge! I did not become a follower of Christ and join his people to make-believe at Church. Either this Way is real or it is not!
I once thought that if we could get the doctrine right and the polity right, then true church would follow. How silly could I have been! Of course, doctrine is vital and polity is essential. But there is something more needed: the Spirit of the Crucified One and a people ready to let him take them up like the mountain like Isaac was taken by Abraham.
This is why I love the stories from the Church of Christian friends who knew the joy of suffering together for Christ. Such stories are balm to my spirit when it is in turmoil and rent with pain.