This year as Christians celebrated Holy Week and Easter, images of segregated lunch counters flew around the internet, accompanied by calls to boycott the state of Indiana. Instead of tar and feathers, the mob had Twitter, which proved more effective. Despite the protest of legal experts, it rapidly became public opinion that if Indiana’s religious liberty law was allowed to stand, gays and lesbians would become like Southern blacks under Jim Crow. For many, apparently, the New Testament’s moral claims had become the equivalent of white supremacy. That week brought to a head a growing animosity to traditional Christian faith that we have seen over the past few years.
In the coming years, we will debate what our churches should do in a time of such hostility. We will be tempted to look for quick answers to that question, to think that living out our faith means dramatic action with immediate results. Instead, what we and our society now need most is Christian discipleship – men and women who love Jesus and seek to conform their lives to him. This answer seems frustratingly obvious, but it still remains true. What we can do most to change the world is to change our children’s diapers, take them to school, serve our customers, and love our spouses – all because of, and for the sake of, the love of God.
This witness will be lived out in ordinary ways, often without any visible results. It will not be about big campaigns, but small, daily choices made by people insignificant in the eyes of the world. Our witness for Christ will require three sometimes neglected aspects of Christian life: hope, mercy, and communities of friendship. Only by this slow fidelity to the gospel can we follow the Lord we love and bring about the renewal we seek.