'F' as in Frank

The Jesus question

It was 21 years ago this month that I made my first foray into Eastern Europe as part of a summer mission trip. While in Hungary we met a young man whose goal was to eventually become an airline pilot.

There was just one problem: if he followed this Jesus we were talking about he would not be able to pursue his career goal.

You see, only communist party members, or junior communists, in good standing could pursue such occupations.

He called it the "Jesus question."

A personal relationship with Jesus had to be funneled through, watered down, in a state-sponsored church. In exchange, some churches received funds from the government.

How far that is from the U.S., I thought at the time, restrictions on what you believed or how you practiced your beliefs are unheard of here.

Now 21 years later, I'm seeing some of that Hungarian's "Jesus question" make its way into the U.S.

Don't worry, storm troopers aren't going to come to your house or place of worship to tell you what to believe.

But ever so slowly, inroads are being made against Christianity in the United States.

I understand PBS has requested its programmers not show anything that has connections to religion.

In addition, the U.S. government has set federal stimulus money aside for churches for social programs. That, of course, means the government gets to decide which churches are deemed appropriate or legitimate for receiving the funds.

Then there's the backlash President Obama has received for having Pastor Rick Warren pray during the inaugural ceremony.

That's right, the guy simply prayed and yet now more than five months later it is still a lightning rod for some in the gay movement. Warren's personal beliefs are his. The president should be able to ask whomever he wants to pray.

I think followers of Jesus are similar to the tale of the frog in the pot of water. The temperature is turned up so slowly the frog doesn't notice and happily swims along. He's content until its too late and he's stewed.

The temperature is cranking up ever so slowly against those who profess Christ and take the Bible as God's Word.

Of course, the heat's been turned up before against Christians during the Roman Empire and even today in countries around the world.

The good news in all of this is that whenever the heat is on, Christ's church seems to grow and flourish.

Let's hope it doesn't take harsh times in the U.S. to bring a revival, but if it does the believer's answer to the "Jesus question" will continue to be a resounding "Yes!"


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