Our Vanishing Religious Liberty

Last week Stephen Mcalpine had a very interesting (and sad) article that explains recent changes in the Queensland (Australia) school that “moved to ban Jesus from the playground in its State Government Schools.”

A recent article on the new law states:

Examples of evangelising cited in the review, as well as two earlier reviews into religious ­instruction providers, include sharing Christmas cards that refer to Jesus’s birth, creating Christmas tree decorations to give away and making beaded bracelets to give to friends “as a way of sharing the good news about Jesus”.

This redefining of evangelism (it’s no longer sharing the Gospel but giving out things that could possibly lead to a religious conversation) is another illustration of our culture’s attack on religious freedom.  And these attacks will continue because as Macalpines article points out “they hate Jesus.”

The rapidly closing door of religious liberty is a call for Christians to take advantage of those mission fields (through short-term trips or financial support) where the door is still open (editors note:  I’m not saying fields like Australia are closed to the Gospel, but there are fields that have fewer restrictions).

One of the greatest blessings of Saint Vincent is their openness to the Gospel:

  1. We can still openly hand out tracts and EVERYONE not only takes them but READS THEM
  2. Children especially are interested in getting as many tracts as possible to read.  One Sunday a girl inside a car noticed I was handing out tracts and started yelling “I want one!”
  3. Secondary schools open the day with PRAYER and a DEVOTIONAL FROM SCRIPTURE!
  4. Amazingly even the prison system in Saint Vincent is open to the Gospel.  It was amazing to see shirtless men with tattoos and large muscles asking for tracts.  We were even able to stick them through the bars of prison cells (I’d probably get tased for trying that in America)

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The hunger of Vincentian people for the Gospel calls for Missionaries, but more importantly, I realize it won’t always be that way.

I don’t believe that handing out Christmas cards will be outlawed in schools, but eventually the animosity the world has towards Christianity will reach here too.

people will stop reading tracts

they will argue instead of listening to the Gospel

Their hearts will become hardened to Scripture

So we must do all that we can before the door closes.

 

Embracing the American Moments

After being in Saint Vincent for almost two years in most ways I pass for Vincentian in fact, they refer to me as a “Vincy.”  But there are still moments when I’m clearly American, like when I’m forced to back down a road.

Some roads in SVG are too small for two vehicles so a vehicle going up meets one coming down it’s obligated to back down the road till there is space to pull over, or the other vehicle can get by.

For Vincentians, this is a normal part of life…but for me, it’s a worst-case scenario

American moments aren’t that big of a deal with the Vincy’s because they know backing down a road isn’t normal for me.  What keeps me up at night is the embarrassment of those moments.

Normally my backing down a road

  • Attracts a large crowd of Vincentians (who all tell me how to drive)
  • People telling me I can’t drive
  • And heightened level of stress

The good news is most roads in Barrouaille are big enough for two vehicles, the bad news is Church is one of the smaller ones.  So as I prayed “Lord help your word impact hearts” I was also praying “Lord PLEASE don’t let anyone be on this road!”

For a long time, I never met anyone on the Church Road.  However out of the last five times driving people home from Church THREE OF THEM required my backing up, and I had to do it TWICE IN THE LAST WEEK!

Now if someone had told me a few months ago I would experience three American moments in one month my response would be walking to Church!  However, as I experienced my worst nightmare that many times an interesting happened.  It wasn’t so scary anymore.

  1. The first time I was a nervous wreck
  2. The second time I was annoyed but able to keep my frustration under control
  3. And the third time I backed down calm as a cucumber while smiling at Vincentians (and NOBODY told me how to drive!)

It’s easy to view American Moments as a curse because they loudly proclaim to everyone my weakness. But it’s a blessing to know I’ll become more Vincentian in my driving (someday) and till then my inability to back down the road without breaking into a cold sweat draws me closer to my Saviour.