Are you ready to be marginalized?

Because you will be.

If you actually believe and live according to the truth of the Bible, that is.

David Gushee painted a hauntingly accurate portrait of the American moral landscape recently, saying that the

Middle ground is disappearing on the question of whether LGBT persons should be treated as full equals, without any discrimination in society — and on the related question of whether religious institutions should be allowed to continue discriminating due to their doctrinal beliefs.

It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed. This is true both for individuals and for institutions.

Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.

Read that again.

You know immediately, you sense immediately, that he’s right. And if you’re not sure, take a look at his list of institutions and see if it changes your mind:

Institutions where full LGBT equality is mandatory now include any entity associated with the federal government, including the military and the civil service.

And the vast majority of the education sector, its schools, trade groups, accreditors and staff, both because of the values of most educators and because of federal regulations.

And most clinical, medical and helping professions, associations and leaders.

And most titans of corporate America.

And most of the media and entertainment business, including its most visible celebrities.

And most of the nonprofit and civil society sector, including former longtime holdouts like the Boy Scouts.

And most of the sports world, including its famous athletes.

And many state and local governments and their leaders.

And the vast majority of America’s secularists; minorities in many other American religious communities; and majorities in some of these religious communities.

Rod Dreher and Denny Burk agree with Gushee’s assessment, though they stand against his thinking it’s a good thing.

Yet most people I know within the church or even who casually call themselves Christians seem to have any idea this is happening. I share Dreher’s sentiment here precisely:

I find that even at this late date, it is difficult to get ordinary Christians, including pastors, to understand the reality of what’s coming. You should believe David Gushee. He has done us all a favor here. He and his allies — that is, the entire American establishment — are going to do everything they possibly can to eliminate any place of retreat…The church will be under unprecedented pressure, legally and socially, to capitulate. But it will be possible to resist, though not without paying a high cost.

And if that’s not enough, Gushee spells out what this pressure will look like:

Openly discriminatory religious schools and parachurch organizations will feel the pinch first. Any entity that requires government accreditation or touches government dollars will be in the immediate line of fire. Some organizations will face the choice either to abandon discriminatory policies or risk potential closure. Others will simply face increasing social marginalization.

A vast host of neutralist, avoidist or de facto discriminatory institutions and individuals will also find that they can no longer finesse the LGBT issue. Space for neutrality or “mild” discrimination will close up as well.

As David Platt has said, there is now no more room for casual, cultural, comfortable Christianity. Those days are gone. At the very least, they are dying. Quickly.

Are you ready for that? Are you ready to be marginalized?

Most of us aren’t.

Just ask some of the people you go to church with. Think about your own Bible reading experience. How much of the conversation revolves around suffering and trials?

And not the “my dog died and I was sick last week so pray for me” kind of trials. I mean the kind where you’re actively being ridiculed, marginalized, mocked, or rejected for the sake of the gospel.

Now think about how much of the New Testament directly speaks to the topic of suffering. Hint: a lot of it. Probably much more than you’ve ever noticed.

For instance, have you ever, EVER, heard a sermon on 2 Timothy 3:12:

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Despite the fact that the text clearly says “all,” we apply this verse and others like it to the people “over there.” The missionaries. The evangelists. The people we read about in books or watch in movies.

Our comfort has left no room for a theology of suffering.

Until recently, it didn’t really cost you anything to be a Christian in America, even in the most unchurched parts of it. Now, that says more about what we mean when we say “Christian,” but it’s still true.

To be a Christian in North Carolina, Minnesota, New York or any other state wasn’t going to cost you your job, friends, sponsorships, license, etc.

But that’s changing.

Denny Burk gives us this reminder that this is real time here in America:

In June, the Supreme Court denied to hear their appeal. It means that the lower court ruling stands and that they cannot do business in Washington State unless they are willing to violate their religious beliefs.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissent against the Supreme Court’s decision, and he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. You need to read this excerpt from the dissent:

“This case is an ominous sign… If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.” 

At this point, it’s not worth arguing about whether or not the moral landscape has changed, but instead to start preparing Christians, including our children, for the days ahead. Because we need far more Daniel’s who know how to live in the culture without capitulating to it.

If you haven’t counted the cost of what it means to follow Christ, now is the time.