Tuesday, 20 November 2012
She believes that underground romance necessarily leads to lower commitment, so it is pointless. No relationship is pointless if it were true, whether it be temporarily underground or perpetually overground -- such is my view. On the other hand, I found an immediate urge to reflect upon what was said.
According to the underground-equals-less-commitment line of thought, if I apply this to underground religion, would it be the same case? In the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), our relationship with Jesus Christ is likened to marriage, both as individual believers and as a Church.
Personally speaking, I remember having to lock myself in the bathroom so that I could pray in tongues without being persecuted by my own mother. Even my romances had to be hidden because she always makes a big deal out of almost everything I do. I truly understand how circumstances can force things underground. My commitment towards my partner was never reduced, just because it went underground did not mean there is any less love. In fact, it is a display of love from both sides since we understand each other's situations and withhold our desires for publicity.
Historically, Japanese Catholics had to practice their religion under cover to avoid the government's attacks. Does this mean that they were less committed to their faith? Quite to the contrary, their insisting on practicing their faith even when they are to be seen as vermin hiding below ground level is a display of commitment.
Even to this day, many Christians still have the need to conceal their faith from their unbelieving practitioners of their state religion. If I say that going underground lowers commitment, not only is it untrue, it is also highly offensive to them.
Luke 9:26 and Mark 8:38 are taken out of context by false teachers, calling every Christian who does not broadcast his or her faith a sinner. Just as women don't always go wearing low-cut dresses showing people that they have boobs and have the right to be called females, it is okay for Christians to clothe their piety in Christ. Some modesty doesn't harm anyone. Surely, our good works can be made known, but they don't have to be reported everywhere the moment they had been exercised. What does Matthew 6 say? Matthew 6:6 speaks of Jesus telling His disciples (applied to us too) to shut the door behind us when we pray. There are, of course, public prayers, group prayers and private prayers. Yet, private prayers should be the most frequent, group and public prayers serve other purposes, but we need two-way communication and private communion with our own Father.
If someone asks you, "Are you Christian?" Do not lie, either stay silent or admit it. Admitting it would mean death in some countries, so I am not telling these Christians to broadcast their faith in the public, but rather, only tell the truth when asked (Matthew 10:33, Luke 12: 9).
Indeed, some people make their relationships underground so that they do not have to openly admit responsibility, the same goes for religion, some people push their professing faith to the background so that they do not have to obey the corresponding rules. However, it would be a sweeping generalisation to claim that every underground relationship and/or faith must be lower in commitment compared to those who practice in the open. Quite to the contrary, rather, that those who hold onto their faith and/or relationships in the midst of much persecution and difficulties have their gold tested and refined in flames. All previous partners of mine, however, were unable to withstand the test and so departed.
Therefore, while it may be true for some that commitment and publicity go hand-in-hand. We must be flexible and examine each situation on its own.
Finally, can we hide our faith forever? It is hard to do so, if one were a true Christian, the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) would be made manifest!
O, by the way, remember to base your prayers on the Word of the Lord our God:
Psalm 17 (KJV)1 Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.2 Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.6 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.11 They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;12 Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.13 Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:14 From men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.Going underground does not mean losing commitment.Do you think that underground Christians are mostly less committed to their faith? When have you felt the need to hide your faith, and was this because you were ashamed of it or because you had to? Is there a difference in commitment between those who are forced to practice their faith underground and those who choose to practice their faith in secret?