Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Shocking Admission

My last post was about how wonderful it would be to see Hitler in heaven. I thought it would probably offend some people. This post... I know is going to offend some people. I'm going to say something else shocking. I'm going to admit something that isn't popular in conservative Christian circles. Ok, deep breath, here it goes...

I don't care about fighting gay marriage.

You read it right. I have so little enthusiasm for the fight for traditional marriage. It makes less and less sense to me as the years march on, and society (including Christians) moves away from traditional Christian values. Fighting against abortion, I get. I believe that an unborn baby is a human being deserving of protection. For me, it's about saving lives, period. Fighting for conscience protection and against religious oppression... a no-brainer. But gay marriage...well, I just don't see why the issue is so important to us. And I know what many of you are thinking... "Gay marriage contributes to the breakdown of society."  That's the typical argument. Here's some examples from stuff I've read recently:

This article says,
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage contribute to the breakdown of the family unit and violate the natural structure of marriage established by God.
....An article in the Weekly Standard described how the advent of authorized gay unions in Scandinavian countries is destroying the institution of marriage, where half of today’s children are born out of wedlock.
It is impossible to deny that gay marriage causes the decay of families.

Social scientists have been warning that if this fractured family problem continues, there will be many kids with several “moms” and “dads,” six or eight “grandparents” and dozens of “half-siblings.” 
Is there a problem with the decay of families and a fractured family unit? Yes, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well-adjusted children.
Another article questions whether children can "be raised just as well by two members of the same sex as by a biological father and mother?" The conclusion by the author is no. She argues that "governments recognize the institution of marriage as the primary institution responsible for the creation and raising of its society’s members. If the family falters, the society as a whole falters. Governments depend on stable families for the health of the society they govern." 

I'm not going to argue that gay marriage doesn't contribute to the breakdown of society. The point I'd like to make  is that same-sex marriage  it is not unique in that. For some reason the fight against gay marriage has become the poster child for the overall fight against the degradation of God's intended order for families. I think that because the family is breaking down, Christians are clawing to control some societal aspect of that erosion. But many are also failing to recognize that in secular society, the traditional family model is already considered unimportant. Two examples of common modern family types: Women (and sometimes men) are choosing to have children without a second parent, and couples are living together and raising children together without getting married.

So where are the protests, petitions, and calls for laws against these non-traditional heterosexual families? Should the government also step in and decide if spouses are serving as good gender role models? It could be argued that government has sufficient interest in stable families that it should decide who can and can't have children. Anybody want to petition for that legislation?

We talk about gay marriage undermining traditional marriage, all the while doing a great job of undermining traditional marriage all by our heterosexual selves. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. This statistic is virtually the same in the Christian community. We have broken families all over the place. And in reality, gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the health of my marriage, or the stability of my family. Christians have the responsibility to protect their own families, and, within the obligations of the church, teach and sanction the biblical model of marriage.

Our government is not Christian - according to our Constitution, it may not be Christian. Even if we know for a fact that the traditional Christian model of family is the absolute best for society, we can't demand that the government enforce that. Just like we believe that confining sex to marriage is the best for society, but we can't (and don't) fight for the government to pass laws against sex outside of marriage.

I also don't agree that redefining the word marriage undermines what marriage actually is. Christian marriage is a sacrament, ordained by God, and blessed by God, being sacred in nature. Elementally, it is what it is regardless of what it's called. Calling a same-sex union marriage is not anymore undermining of the true meaning of marriage than using the term for the union of two atheists. I'll use a garden analogy here. I have lots of daylilies in my yard. My neighbor grows tulips. If one day my neighbor decided to call her tulips daylilies, it would not change the fact that her tulips are not actually daylilies, nor would it make my daylilies any less daylilies. Even if botanists decided to rename tulips daylilies, that does not change the innate characteristics that make the daylily what it is. The tulip can never be what a daylily is, regardless of the names we choose to call them.

So I don't care about actively fighting gay  marriage because I don't think it is any more responsible for the breakdown of society than a whole bunch of other things that go against God's order for families. And I don't think that redefining marriage will undermine what marriage actually is. But I have another point to make...


This article in Christiany Today says,
We are a culture of radical individualists, and gay marriage does nothing but put an exclamation point on that fact. We should fight it, because it will only make a bad situation worse.
Reality check... the passage of time is going to make the world worse until Christ returns. And in that reality is the most important point. The world is slipping into darkness. Is fighting same-sex marriage the highest calling of your faith? Is it something you will do, at the risk of alienating homosexuals that need to - and have every right to - hear the gospel of Truth and feel the love of Christ? The New Testament is full of instructions for believers. Chief among them: Love the Lord. Love your neighbor. Go and make disciples. We have to be careful that activism does not get in the way of our carrying out these commands. From what I've seen, Christians aren't doing a very good job of that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Walking In Heaven With Hitler

Recently I read this blog post by a woman who calls herself a "different kind of Christian." She shares her thoughts on who/what God is. I disagree with most of what she said. In fact, most of what she said will make committed evangelical and orthodox Christians scrunch their faces, shake their heads, and lament over her lack of knowledge. Thousands of years of Christian theology says she's wrong on so many points.

But in the midst of all of the wrongness, there is this incredible piece of truth:

"I think Grace is scandalous beyond our wildest imaginations"

Yes! Yes, it is! The bible tells us that the message of the cross is foolishness, an offense, and a stumbling block. It is shocking. The pharisees were scandalized on a regular basis by Christ, as he ate with tax collectors, allowed his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath, and said the Law was not what would save them. The message of grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ is scandalous. To the point that if we believe it, we have to admit to shocking things. We have to be willing to say scandalous things, like this:

I would love to walk in heaven with Hitler.

Wait...what?? Are you scrunching your face and shaking your head? Are you offended? If you are a Christian professing to believe in the grace God gave us freely by the blood of His son, you shouldn't be. Because if that grace isn't big enough to forgive evil the likes of Hitler, then what is so great about it? What is so fantastic, amazing, awesome, unbelievably thrilling about grace that is limited? About grace that will reach over and cover the not-so-horrible offenders, but leave Hitler without a chance? It's too small for Christ's sacrifice (not to mention boring).

I'd like to have a conversation with a forgiven Hitler, remade in the image of Christ. I'd love to hear how he felt  when the truth of grace touched him. When he found out that love covers even his multitude of sins. Wow, what joy!

God is clear that His forgiveness and grace are freely given to us, but that we cannot have fellowship with Him without repentance. Did Hitler repent and accept God's grace? I don't know. But I imagine there will be a lot of people in heaven that us "good" Christians wouldn't expect to see. Because God is that good. His grace is that sufficient.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. And praise the Lord, there is no one too lost!

Are you feeling God's grace today?