Earlier this year I published an article about the persecution of Christians that ended with the statement, “Pray as if everything depended on God, and act as if everything depended on you.”
A couple of days later I received a very touching letter from a 20-something young woman, who lives in a university town in which such concerns are rarely raised. She wrote,
“I came across your ‘Silence is deafening’ article on during my work shift Friday afternoon. Needless to say, by the end of the article I was in tears, nauseous, and overwhelmed by a sense of impending doom. You concluded the article with the words ‘…Act as everything depends on you.’ These resonating words have seemingly found a permanent place in my mind.
As I sit here, I feel absolutely powerless…How do I help? Is there any way of helping? What do I do? I need to do something after reading your article, and I’m praying you might have an idea or some sort of guidance for me.”
Needless to say, I was very touched. I wrote back to her and offered some thoughts. Then it occurred to me that others also might be interested in concrete suggestions. So here are a few ideas.
Be as informed as possible. The western media gives scant attention to these issues. But you can start with www.persecutionreport.org. This is published by Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, where I’m an adjunct fellow. I know that this information is as close to accurate as we can get. From there, seek out other news outlets that publish these stories.
Support organizations that reach out to the persecuted. Not only do groups like Open Doors, Christian Solidarity International and Voice of the Martyrs (Google them to find their websites) publicize the plight of Christians, but they also are able at times to work behind the scenes – and with great courage. Sometimes they even make it possible to write to prisoners or others who need emotional support. Various Christian denominations also have outreaches to help persecuted Christians or refugees; ask your church office. Financial gifts to all these organizations are of great help.
Pass the word via email and social media. Social media is a huge weapon in the battle against persecution because it exposes the abuses. Post news stories (try to make sure they are from reliable sources) and write your own comments. Use Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In. Build up your readership and also “follow” people who care about the same things you do. Even though these are “virtual relationships,” they help us realize that we aren’t altogether alone in our concerns.
Try to form a network. Start a conversation with believers within your faith community. Ask your pastor, priest or rabbi to inform his/her congregation about abuses and to pray for the persecuted.
Put it in writing. If you are able, try to publish an article on the subject occasionally in a local or school newspaper. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper when a persecution story doesn’t appear and ask why. Write to magazines. And post comments on websites (sane, reasonable comments, please!).
Work the system. If you’re an American, you probably realize that this is not the most responsive American administration we’ve ever had in relation to Judeo-Christian persecution. But we do have a Congress, and you can write to your congressmen and to the White House to make your voice heard about the abuses of Christians.
If you’re not American, but live in a democracy, you can take similar action in your country by making your voice heard by your parliamentary representatives.
Spread the word. Push the powerful. And yes, pray as if everything depended on God.