The most recent Supreme Court rulings will dominate the next several news cycles without a doubt. In landmark decisions both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage have been declared unconstitutional. Already, my friends in both the Christian and LGBT communities have lit up social media outlets with varying opinions and reactions. What’s troublesome to me is the defensive and panicky nature of the Church as I’ve had several colleagues ask me my opinion.
Once again, I hear the battle cry for America to return to God. As I have asked on many occasions when I hear this statement, when was America ever God’s? Was it during the slave trades? Or the brutal slaughtering and relocation of millions of Native Americans? During the civil rights riots? When did we ever, as a nation, call upon God?
There are those who believe we need to take a stand for righteousness. I would ask, “Does the American Church have the moral authority to challenge other people’s behavior and ways of life?” The divorce rate among Christians is just as high as and even arguably higher than society. I wonder, why does the government have anything to do with marriage anyway? For years, I performed ceremonies with the words, “by the power vested in me by the state of Illinois and God Almighty…” So as I blessed the unions, I was invoking the authority of Governor Rod Blagojevich? Really? Isn’t this more of a spiritual matter which should be left up to religious organizations? And perhaps the government should focus on civil unions?
We talk about protecting the sanctity of marriage? Maybe we should make it illegal for Christians to get divorced. “Nope, you made the commitment to marriage, you’re stuck.” It should definitely be illegal for divorced people to remarry because Jesus refers to that as adultery (Matthew 19:9). How about we make the process for marriage just a little bit more rigid so people won’t be in such a hurry? Higher tariffs for marriage licenses? Mandated counseling? How about a waiting period so people can really think through their commitments? If we’re protecting marriage, let’s help heterosexuals to take it more seriously as well (Elizabeth Taylor, Brittney Spears, Larry King, and Billy Bob Thornton).
Still yet there are others who protest tax dollars going to same-sex sensitivity coursework for school children. But in a free, pluralistic society, that’s the price you pay for liberty. It is liberty for all. Plus I add that Jesus already knew we would face dangers and challenges. He beseeched His Father to “protect them by the power of your name” knowing that He had protected them earlier and was now leaving (John 17:11). There was an implication to His followers – you will face trials. But in America? Has it come to the point of shedding blood? Of dying for Christ? Let’s please respect our brothers and sisters overseas by not using the word persecution flippantly and prematurely.
I would say that there is no way to completely protect our children but we do need to prepare them. A colleague of mine stated his refusal to ever let his grandchildren be exposed to such aberrant curriculum. But a mere 2 weeks later, his 5 ½ year old granddaughter asked her parents what a “b***job” is. It’s there. In the classrooms, the locker rooms, amongst our kids’ friends, even in the Sunday School room. It’s inevitable.
When President Obama first came into Office, he planned a national address to every school in America. Christian parents were up in arms because they didn’t want their kids exposed to this vile, baby-killing, abortionist. But there was a gentleman who said, “While I didn’t vote for President Obama, I want my kids to attend that assembly. This is an honor for them because their President wants to address them, not their parents. I do have a copy of the speech and when they get home, we will discuss it and I’ll let them know about the sections I disagree with.” Whoa whoa whoa. Christian parents talk to their kids? Is that how it works? Somewhere I read some crazy words like “direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22:6). It’s almost like God was telling His people to be ready to engage the world, not hide behind a wall in some sort of self-righteous utopian cocoon.
A close friend of mine was concerned that people who continue to lose the battle are those who uphold the standard of Christ. If we’re losing battles, could it be that we might be fighting the wrong ones? As I read my Bible, I see that most of it was written during times of enslavement, exile, and subjugation. I have yet to find scriptures with a directive to change laws and governments, and function using the systems of man.
The token verse we throw out very first Thursday of May…2 Chronicles 7:14…“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”
This doesn’t refer to legislation, or even changing society’s morals. It places the responsibility on the CHURCH to get on its face, to repent, and to pray. The Constitution and the Laws are NOT the answer. Overturn Roe v. Wade? Continue to outlaw everyone who lives biblically contradictory lives? We’ll make our journey a little smoother…but how many people will be won to Christ?
With high rates of transfer growth, and less than 2% of true spiritual conversion and transformation, we are FAR from where we need to be as the Church. His last words to us were to make disciples…to make a global impact and help everyone to become fully devoted followers of Christ (Matthew 28). How we doing? The faith of young adults is quickly eroding where they no longer believe the Bible is the true Word of God, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and the list goes on and on. We’ve traded high tech presentations for the anointing and Presence of God. We’ve replaced prayer with programs. And because we’ve let up, we’re losing our next generations.
What really is our goal? To build our numbers and legacies? To create throngs of good, moral people who idly receive what’s served to them? Or do we want to build an advancing, desperate, hungry cadre who are agents of change and transformation in the world?