This Has Always Been the Cost

We’re only 12 days in. Not even two weeks. And this presidency is already devastating.

Donald Trump is waging war against the American people.

Six journalists were charged with felony rioting for covering protests at the presidential inauguration. It’s now illegal to protest on the floor of Congress, or to live-stream a protest on the House floor. Resisting arrest is now considered a hate crime in Louisiana. A new bill was introduced in North Dakota that allowed motorists to “unintentionally” run over any protestors obstructing a highway.

History has a name for what America is becoming. And it’s not “representative democracy.”

Opposition is illegal. Yet we must oppose. Every vile thing coming out of this White House must be opposed.

A mark of Christian discipleship is a willingness to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Jesus invites his followers to take up their own crosses, to be willing to let Love lead us into dangerous, painful, even life-threatening territory. Jesus teaches us that “there is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Do we taste that love among us? In our fellowship? In our worship? Are we willing to die for one another? For the liberation of the oppressed? For Jesus? Are we willing to be tortured because of our deepest convictions? Are we willing to face unjust imprisonment?

quaker-persecution-granger-1

Convicted of blasphemy, James Nayler was branded with a “B” on his forehead and his tongue was pierced with a hot iron

Which reminds me. It was once illegal for Quakers to gather. For 25 years in Britain, the mere act of worshipping together landed thousands of Friends in jail. Whole meetings were sent to prison. And yet Friends kept meeting. They also stirred up trouble. They did prophetic acts, such as “going naked as a sign” or wearing sackcloth and ashes. They publicly argued with priests and condemned the established church. They refused to tithe and pay taxes that fed the violence of empire.

Friends did not avoid trouble. They ran toward it.

British prisons were filled with Friends. Within a year of the passing of the 1664 Conventicle Act – an act created to stamp out independent, nonconformist religious groups – 2,100 Friends from five London meetings were arrested. It has been estimated that 1 in 3 Quakers experienced state-sanctioned persecution in the first 35 years or so of the Religious Society’s founding.

Friends were holy trouble-makers.

This was their battle: the Lamb’s War. Being meek did not require subservience. Nothing about Quakers was passive or defensive. They created trouble. They were willing to deal with the repercussions of revealing the way of the Kingdom, of establishing a truer Society, even if it meant they might be publicly shamed, tortured, and imprisoned.

Today, as news keeps rolling in of injustices committed by our own government, I find myself wondering whether I might be willing – truly willing – to follow Christ anywhere. Even into prison. Even unto death. It seems that this has always been the cost of being a Friend of Jesus, a disciple of Christ.

Tomorrow is Day 13. I don’t know what it will bring. But I think I’m ready.

3 thoughts on “This Has Always Been the Cost

  1. kfsaylor says:

    Some text pulled from “The Christian Quaker …” written in 1680 by William Rogers, for your consideration and recommendation. Spelling and Usage has not been updated.

    —-
    We acknowledge that we owe Obedience either Active or Passive unto this Magistracy; and that such obedience is as well grounded in the Light of Christ within, as warrantable from the Scriptures of Truth without; for when the Magistrate doth command Obedience unto any Law, which is agreeable to the Law of God (as indeed no Laws of England according to the Constitution of its Government, and those maxims which are declared for Law, ought to be contrary thereto) then we ought to yield Active Obedience; and whilst the Magistrates are in Execution of such Laws, they are (as occasion requires) Punishers of those that do Evil, and a Praise unto them that do well[1]; which is agreeable unto the testimony of the Apostle’s touching Magistracy, unto whom in such cases Active Obedience is to be given for the Lord’s sake.

    Obj. You speak very well so far as you have limited your Obedience to Good Laws; but what if those in power should make such Laws, which you account bad, and not grounded on the Law of God, but directly against those whom you term God’s People; dare you then say that ’tis agreeable unto the Light of Christ within, and Scriptures of Truth without, to yield Obedience in such cases?

    To this we answer, ’tis agreeable to the Light within, and the Scriptures of Truth without, that a Christian yield Passive Obedience, since for Conscience sake (chusing rather to obey God than man, which was the Apostle’s Case)[2] he cannot yield Active Obedience: For we find the Counsel of Christ to be on this wise;Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other[3]; which clearly shews ’tis against the Doctrine of Christ to resist; and so consequently we ought to be Passive; and therefore, since we have not at any time pleaded for any other Light within, save the Light of Christ; it is as well agreeable unto the Light of Christ within, as with the Counsel of Christ in the Scriptures of truth without, that men, under the profession of Christianity, put in practice that wholsom Counsel, which was given by Christ the Son of God, whose ways are unchangeable, viz. Resist not evil. 

    The Christian Quaker … William Rogers, published 1680. Second Part pg. 30, 31

    The Outward Government is represented by Visible Persons, invested with Power to execute Outward laws, visible by our carnal Eyes, and is suffered by Almightly God, to be executed under variety of Forms, and diversified of Laws, and for divers ends, which we do not now pretend to be reveal’d to us; but yet we believe it to be our duty either actively or passively to submit unto the Outward Government, under which we live, without designing to work our own deliverance (from under such Laws which we have or may account oppressive) by outward force or Violence, which is as much as is with us to say on this occasion, with respect of Outward Government.

    The Inward Government chiefly designed to be treated upon is, the Government of Christ, which we do not believe to be represented by visible persons, certainly known by outward Names, distinguish’d by outward marks and tokens, and invested with Power form him to execute Outward Laws, in a Outward Form of Government, visible by our Carnal Eyes, as aforesaid.

    The Christian Quaker … William Rogers, published 1680. Third Part pgs. 3,4.

    [1]: 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14.

    [2]: Act. 5. 28, 29.

    [3]: Mat. 5. 39.

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  2. kfsaylor says:

    I appreciate the use of “Passive Obedience” in Rogers quote above. He does not use “Passive Resistance.” He, in fact, goes so far as to highlight Christ’s words “resist not evil.” In Passive Obedience, the focus is on obeying the appearance of the inshining Light in our conscious and conscience. The focus is not on resistance to anything. Instead, the focus is on obedience to the inshining impulse of the Light of Christ. This shift in mind or conscious is the difference between trampling over the prerogative of Christ’s rule in our conscience and giving the prerogative to Christ’s inshining impulse.

    If we as Quakers are engaged in “passive resistance” **against** a government or government leader we have labeled (demonized or villainized) as, for example, Fascist, we are not of the mind of Christ and have trodden upon the prerogative of the inshining Light itself in itself to rule our minds and hearts. When our minds and hearts are settled down into the foundation of Christ’s inshining Impulse onto our conscious and conscience and **embrace** Passive Obedience to that impulse then we know a Pure Mind in the rule and government of the Light itself in itself … that knowing is the coming of Heaven on Earth.

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