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.