Stephen the Martyr and the Challenge of Church

In a post on an unrelated subject to what I want to briefly discuss, Fred Clark rightly points out that before Stephen was a martyr–Christianity’s first–he was charged with helping the neglected women in the early church.

As I was reading both that post and the passage of Acts that Clark cites, I realized something:

People like Stephen exist because of the failure of the church to do its own job.

Stephen was eventually killed for his faith, and he loved even his murderers much in the same way that Jesus did on the cross. He is an inspiration. But before he inspired me to be bolder about my faith, Stephen was also challenging me to look at the church’s blind spots.

Are people being neglected?

Are the less-than populars in our ranks being ignored? Mistreated? Unloved?

Who am I not listening to who desperately needs to be heard?

Who needs someone to stand up for them?

And will I, like Stephen was all those years ago, be up to the task?

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