Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It is a Far, Far Better Death I Go To...

While thinking about my singleness, a line runs through my head. I don’t know if it’s a quote I picked up somewhere, or just a concise thought that originated in my mind:

“It’s easier to be martyr without mouths to feed.”

At the surface, it’s certainly true. When your duty is to protect and raise your children, I think most people would agree you should be more hesitant about putting yourself at risk. But on a deeper level, why does this idea keep popping into my head related to my singleness?

Does part of me find easiness to be a martyr a benefit of being single? There are two problems I find with that: assuming being a martyr is ever easy and that I would want to become a martyr.

Because I feel so unsure about my future, maybe I do see martyrdom as some idealized potential. But much like being single, whether I want it or not isn’t the question. It’s more important that I do the right thing with the situation I’m given. Am I fortified enough in my faith that I could be a martyr? No. But I think that’s a noble enough goal to gauge my faith with.

For me, I do find it easy to say that I would die for my faith. What else is there to die for? In a clear-cut situation, where I had to die or renounce my faith, I find martyrdom the easy choice. But rarely is the situation clear-cut. Standing up for the faith is usually more insidious than a direct command to obey or not. And the consequence is usually expensive, isolating, drawn-out and torturous. I cannot estimate what I might face and what my response would be. As a white, upper-middle class American, I don’t have much experience with persecution. And that’s why I’m not quite sure why I keep thinking about martyrdom.

In the end, I think it just shows how attracted I am to the darker, more somber parts of the faith that I can find comfort in the thought of martyrdom. After all, if you find it happy and easy to be a Christian, you’re doing it wrong.

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