Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Gay Marriage and Missing the Mark

Posted by Jack

I'm sure you've heard it by now... if not, let me fill you in. A North Carolina pastor recently preached a sermon to his church, and he talked about building large fenced-in areas to imprison gay and lesbian men and women. Then he talked about dropping food on them from helicopters once in a while and leaving them in isolation until they die off. This story comes hot on the heels of the passage of Amendment One, the law which bans gay marriage and all civil unions (except between one man and one woman).

If you want to read the actual quote, or see the video of the fellow saying such things, follow this link.

I know that this is just one man and that his views are not representative of the entire population of North Carolina (I should hope not). And I am also aware that many major news outlets have picked up the story and, by the time you read this, you may be tired of hearing about it.

But I am going to briefly address the issue for 2 reasons.

1) This is one of the most important issues facing the contemporary church.

2) I made a personal commitment to reply each time I hear about something like this.

Let me tell you what the issue is NOT.

The issue is NOT whether homosexuality is a sin. God has decided that, not us. And we are called to love others and serve as representatives of Jesus to them. The sins of others are none of your business.

Throw the first stone. I dare you.

The issue is NOT the authority of Scripture. God's Word is not threatened by elections, popular opinion, or social trends. If the truth is immutable and absolute, what is there to fear?

The truth will make you free.  

The issue is NOT the safety of our families. Someone said to me today, if you think homosexuality is the biggest threat to the traditional family, then you are a coward.

What God has joined together, let no man tear apart.  

What, then, is the issue? I find it to be a simple one. In my humble estimation, the issue is this: You, Church of Jesus, Bride of Christ, have met the LGBT community. How did you treat them?

Did you condemn them having once stood condemned? Did you sit in judgement having once stood guilty on all charges? Did you allow their sexuality to keep you from knowing them? Loving them? Welcoming them into the fold? How much energy did you expend erecting roadblocks for them for this present age when you should have been casting your eyes on things eternal? Which came first, loving them or trying to change them into something you would love?

This issue in particular tends to draw dividing lines. "Polarizing" is the word I often hear in the press. The present discourse demands allegiance, on one side or the other.

Well, I don't like that type of language. Not to suggest that riding the fence is noble, or that people shouldn't be made to take a stance. But I certainly don't like it when a sensitive issue which influences many families is used as a wedge to separate "us" from "them".

I don't even like saying "us" and "them" because it can be such deceptive language. But if it comes to that, if I am backed into a corner and I am forced to "pick a side," how will I respond?

Well, in that case, I will have to side with "them."

I don't want to build fences around anyone, or starve them, or cast them out. I don't want to deny rights to others, or punish them through legislation, or make it difficult for them to be happy. I don't want to alienate or isolate or ignore. I don't want to sit in judgment, or condemn, or tell half-truths or complete lies.

What was I before Jesus found me? What am I now but a beggar who found life-giving bread?

For people who claim to interpret the Bible fully and literally, there seem to be a lot of Christians excising the shockingly hopeful and dangerously inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I must preach the Gospel. I must tell of His unfathomable love for every man, woman, and child. I must tell the story of His life, His death, His Resurrection. I must tell the world of deathly sin, sin that is now dead, sin that can be made to have no sway. I must invite everyone I meet to enter into the Kingdom of God, to worship the Risen Lord, and to sit at the banqueting table.

This Gospel demands allegiance. It issues a challenge. Like Joshua said, back in the day, "Choose this day whom you will serve." Choose today.

As for me, I will serve the Lord. I will serve the Servant King Who came to give His life as a ransom for many. I will serve the One Who gives new life, Who births new creations from strife and brokenness. I will serve the One Who loved His enemies so much, He died for them. I will serve the Savior Who ran to the margins, Who embraced the hurting, the excluded, the hated, and the forgotten.

I will participate in the Kingdom that welcomes the outcast into fellowship. With the washing of feet, we will send stigmas swirling down the sudsy drain. And others will scoff and shake their heads, and say, "You will have fellowship with them, the sinners?"

And running fingers along our own scars, we will reply, "Such is our Kingdom."  

1 comment:

AmyDawn said...