Grassroots Christianity

Our state has a vote tomorrow on defining marriage as between a man and a woman (as opposed to same sex), and I am having a really hard time getting excited about voting for it. I’m kind of surprised at myself. For two weeks now, there’s been an insert in my church bulletin telling me that I should be part of the righteous and ‘stand up’ for man-woman marriage. After all, we don’t want these gay people to have the same rights as we normal people do, do we…

At least, that’s how it reads to me. Something just sounds wrong about the whole way we’re going about this. I do believe that practicing homosexuality is incompatible with living as a Christian as defined Biblically. That is not up for argument. I believe homosexuality grieves God and is not God’s best. However, we, living in a sin-warped world have to deal with homosexuality. We can’t run away from the fact that gay people exist. …And they are our neighbors, and that means that we are called to love them.

So what would Jesus do? Would Jesus picket an abortion clinic? Would Jesus be busy on the phones at the local Republican Party office tonight urging people to ‘vote for morality’? I don’t think so. Somewhere along the line, we got this misguided notion that by putting things into law, we make them happen. Do we need good laws? Of course we do. But what did Jesus come to do? To throw away the law? No. To write better laws? No. He came to fulfill the Law. He came to love people to the Kingdom. What we say matters, but what we do matters more, because it reveals the truth or lies in what we say.

Instead of spending so much time and effort as grassroots citizens of the United States of America in making laws to outlaw gay marriage, how about spending more time as grassroots citizens of the Family of God getting to know our neighbor and building the kind of love and trust in relationships that change lives so much that instead of sending people away, we draw people even more –not by a watered-down easy gospel, but an unapologetic lifestyle that compels them to give their lives to a God whose own children have so much love inside them that they can’t help overflow it onto everything they touch. Not an all-accepting patronizing love, but a love so strong that it won’t stand by when one’s neighbor is in danger. A love that gets its hands dirty. A love that isn’t afraid to throw aside personal comfort and emotional safety to point another to the source of true comfort and eternal safety.

Where are people like this? Maybe if they existed more, we wouldn’t need things like Roe V. Wade, gay marriage amendments, or people protesting statues of God’s Law taken from public places. It is ironic that in the week that this is up for vote, there is a very public scandal involving a public child of God who has been caught in homosexual sin. He publicly and vehemently stood up against the very lifestyle he was battling against himself. Borrowing from a blog by Gordon MacDonald http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/11/the_haggard_tru.html one can’t help but wonder whether his public battle was closely tied to his personal battle. I wonder if things would have gone differently if he had directed that battle internally instead of publicly. What if, when he had found sin in himself, he had somewhere to be sorrowful about it and someone to point him to God’s grace and forgiveness? What if in response to the compulsion to run and hide, there was a community that helped him understand that God was calling him back?

I guess what I’m wondering about is why is it that the Church is so much not a safe place to land.  Granted, by definition, the church is made up of people who fall short. We’re not perfect, and most of us don’t claim to be, when we’re accused of being perfect anyway. So instead of trying so hard to act like we’ve got it together because we’ve got the Answer, let’s listen a little harder to what the question was in the first place.

4 thoughts on “Grassroots Christianity

  1. Personally, I just can’t see caring much about who gets married to whom, as far as the state goes. The battle was parsed here as “defend marriage”, but as far as marriage goes, it might be beyond the point where we can redeem it through legislation. The reason I voted against the referendum here wasn’t because I’m thrilled by the idea of marriage being expanded to gay couples (which may or may not happen), but because I didn’t want to send a message to homosexuals in Arizona that they’re not wanted here (although apparently 49% of the state disagrees). The evangelical church’s legislative attacks on sin almost seem passive-aggresive…expressing our displeasure with the state of the world in the least direct manner possible, instead of introducing people to Christ, and letting him say “go and sin no more”. I can certainly see how the world seems like it’s getting more and more out of control, but the solution certainly isn’t to grab on to something that seems like righteousness and hold on as tight as we can.

  2. You have a weblog! I had no idea! Excellent.

    So…i’m kind of torn on the whole subject of gay marriage. There’s something in me that feels like it’s just so wrong that obviously it should be illegal. But then…that’s just my initial emotion thinking too. Recently i’ve been starting to change my mind on whether or not it should be legal.

    A friend of mine pointed out that God’s law is intended for his children. So Christians obviously need to live (or try to live) according to his laws. But non-Christians don’t claim to love or obey God, and therefore we shouldn’t expect them to be following the laws God has laid out for us.

    If we try to legistlate morality on non-Christians, it seems like we’re just going to give them the message that they’re not good enough. It’s not our job to tell them what they’re allowed to do. It’s our job to love them just as they are, and then to let God work on their hearts to change their morality.

    At least, that’s my opinion. Sorry to babble on your blog.

  3. Here’s two contrasting views of how we might approach gay people.

    1) love the homosexual
    2) build relationship with homosexual
    3) demonstrate your different, Christ following lifestyle
    4) teach the homosexual what makes you different, explaining your moral beliefs as the relational context allows, thus leading him or her to the Lord!

    1) love homosexual
    2) get homosexual to stop humping his life partner
    3) ???
    4) lead the homosexual to the Lord!

    Okay, the specific moral guidelines set out in the Bible are for who… Christians and practising Jews right? There’s general moral laws like “don’t take my stuff” and “don’t beat me up”, but how consenting adults choose to express their sexuality is outside the scope of general moral laws. So when we Christians try to manipulate the totally private, mutually enjoyable behavior between adults, we’re imposing upon them laws that they have absolutely no obligation to follow.

    Example i heard recently: if a Muslim came up to me and told me to throw away my beer because the Koran says not to drink alcohol, i will decline, because i’m not Muslim and the rules of the Koran don’t apply to me, and furthermore, this will strenghten my resolve not to become Muslim.

    Let gay people do whatever they want. Let’s fight for the sanctity of marriage by keeping our own Christian marraiges intact by showing a little humility and grace for each other. Oh, and if we’re really standing up for the sanctity of marraige (and not just grossing ourselves out imagining what gay people do with each other), why don’t we pass a constitutional amendment outlawing premarital sex. Sheesh.

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