This is the third and final blog in this series. The Pareto Principle states that a small minority in a system is responsible for a majority of the output. It is also known as the 80/20 rule and “the vital few and trivial many.” In church it is recognized as the small core of folks who attend to most of the church’s work and fund most of its ministry.
In the first blog I addressed the twenty-percenters who grow tired and frustrated that they do most of the heavy lifting while the eighty-percenters do little more than give advice on how to lift. The second blog was aimed at the “trivial many” who think that following cultural trends is how the local church best serves God and society. This last blog is directed to the one hundred percent of those in society who oppose any attempt by the Christian Church to exert any influence in the public sphere.
To the Hundred-percenters:
You will fail. If you despise religion in general and/or Christianity in particular and you want to eradicate its influence from all realms of daily life…you will fail. Its been tried, and tried, and tried. You liberals and progressives really don’t study history very well. Yes, for over two millennia you have persecuted, tortured, and martyred multitudes of us. You have successfully marginalized Christian faith in many cultures. And lately you have even swayed most of the eighty-percenters who ordinarily don’t like involvement of any kind in church to join your ranks (the poor souls actually believe it when you tell them the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality, that when Jesus referred to eunuchs He was talking about homosexuals, and that gayness isn’t about sexuality but love).
Yet no matter how hard you try and how seemingly successful you appear in turning the tide of public sentiment your way about numerous issues…you just can’t seem to stifle and silence the faithful remnant of the living God (the twenty-percenters). Who would have guessed during the reigns of Lenin and Stalin in Communist Russia that Christians could not only survive but thrive? The same could be said of places like China and even Iraq! For that matter have you an answer for how in the world the Jewish people could reestablish themselves in their homeland after having been dispersed for the better part of two thousand years? Surrounded by people who have sworn never to rest until they are annihilated? Look on a map, hundred-percenter. Have you an explanation for how that tiny sliver of land and its people have held on despite being surrounded and outnumbered? When will you learn?
You may go on a tear and win battle after battle after battle. But you cannot win the war. You are not the first generation of liberals and progressives! Your critical mistake is thinking that once everyone sees your supposed superior logic they will either swoon or take flight. Your self-aggrandizement just doesn’t know what to do with itself when the twenty-percenter is neither impressed by your argument nor afraid of your loathing. Our faith is stout. Our resolve is firm.
This blog may sound harsh and may be interpreted as the rantings of a mean-spirited evangelical Christian. Yet, while I intend to write with clarity I do not write also with spite or anger. I simply wish to inform you that even should you take full possession of all three branches of American government and pass laws in all 50 states criminalizing everything conservative or Christian the twenty-percenters would still be a vocal thorn in your side. You should go to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and read the accounts of Daniel and the lion’s den and the story of his three friends who chose to be tossed into an incinerator rather than yield to the dictates of an evil king. You might also try reading the book of Acts in the New Testament. When the Apostle Peter was reminded that he had been banned from using the name of Jesus in the public sphere he spoke for all twenty-percenters from that day forward when he said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Hundred-percenter: I am under no illusion that this blog will accomplish anything on a large scale that will end your blindness, bigotry, or hatred of the small group of faithful Christians you cannot seem to reach or sway and you will never be rid of. But maybe a tiny fraction of you will pause and just stop for a brief moment to consider: if so many people who have throughout the centuries felt the same way about the Bible thumpers as you do, why are we still here? Why couldn’t the Jewish Sanhedrin stop Christianity in its infancy when it was at its most tenuous position? Why wasn’t the Roman Empire able to snuff it out with all its might and power? With far superior numbers and ferocity why haven’t the jihadists of Islam been able to establish their worldwide caliphate though they have tried for the past 1400 or so years?
If only a couple of you would respond to that nagging sense of conviction you feel within…it will be worth all the negative and hateful comments this blog is sure to incite. God’s mercy extended to the first great persecutor of the Church: Saul. Isn’t it something that He turned to an ex-Pharisee who absolutely hated Christians to evangelize the entire Gentile world? The absolutely amazing thing about the God of the Bible is that He has room in His Kingdom for anyone who would bow their knee and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the promise Jesus made to Peter about His Church holds true to this day:
I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).