Oh the irony of talking about being disheartened on Valentine’s Day. Yeah, good thing I am a fan of irony, no?
There has been a lot of attention brought to the plight of Saeed Abedini lately on the radio station I listen to. Yes, Air1 for any others happening to read this that listen as well.
For those that are unfamiliar with Saeed’s story, here’s the short version:
He traveled to Iran, his country of birth, from the United States last year at some point to help establish orphanages. While he is now a US citizen living in Idaho, (with his wife and two children,) he has traveled back to Iran in the past to help with establishing house churches as well, before the new regime deemed such activity illegal.
Last summer, he was placed under house arrest and his passport was taken from him.
He was eventually taken to prison and bought up on charges due to the fact that he is a Christian. They claim that he’s been working against the government, basically, by spreading the faith.
After a few days of a mockery of a trial, he was sentenced to eight years in their harshest prison. Due to the conditions there, this could, if allowed to go the course, could end up being a death sentence.
And let me guess; unless you actually happen to listen to Air1, you have heard nothing of this man.
This has been a massive failure of both the government and the media. It seems as though the only media other than the radio station that has given time to Saeed has been the Fox News Network… not necessarily a network that the vast majority of the population tune into.
So why am I disheartened when I am able to sit, in the safety and comfort of my own home and type about Sadeed’s trials on my laptop?
I am actually disheartened in the Church I had been attending for about two years now.
I will not identify it, but will say that, within my area, it is likely the largest congregation of believers.
Not too long ago, Air1 dedicated a day to getting the word out about Saeed to bring attention to what’s been going on and to try and get him home. It was a social media blitz. Twitter mainly, was the focus. The goal was to get #SaveSaeed trending, but all forms of social media were utilized.
I decided to take the home turf approach and to try to get word out through my church.
Seems like a logical step, no?
I am not sure what we can do as far as getting the word out, we get so many different requests that we have to be really strict about what is mentioned, but I will get this into the hands of some of our pastors and see if they have any ideas.
One day shy of a week later, I get a response from one of the staff members saying that it has been added to the prayer list, but that “this is something we cannot “advertise” within our weekend services…”
I actually had to read that twice to make sure I wasn’t imagining things.
A church, my church, was refusing to put the word out about a brother that is in prison, being brutally tortured for his belief in Jesus, and they cannot “advertise” it?!
To say that I was shocked initially would be to put it mildly. The only thing I could think was ‘whatever happened to 1 Corinthians 12:26? “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”
Did I expect them to dedicate an entire service to Saeed? No. Did I even expect ten minutes dedicated to him? No. I wanted to see a church take just a moment to mention his name, put the call to the entire body out for prayer, and to mention SaveSaeed.org. Am I out of bounds to want this from a church? From my church? Oh, that’s right. It would detract from the senior pastor advertising his newest book.
Disheartened and looking for her new church home.
One with a better sense of priorities, maybe.