Thank you facebook for the inspiration for tonight's conversation.
Apparently due to facebook's newly changed privacy settings all "activity" on your facebook account (including any pages you become a fan of) is now public and is broadcast on your news feed. At this point I cannot find any way to change that setting. Irregardless it is creating a problem for me at the moment because I joined a group today that someone at church finds inappropriate. Without bothering to message me privately, pick up the phone and call, wait to speak with me directly about the issue tomorrow she fired this shot in the comments box on my facebook wall.
"Really? Houston, I think we have a problem."
I was miffed but thought a gentle reminder that people of faith have a variety of different opinions on non-salvific issues such as Same Sex Marriage (the issue at hand) would be sufficient reply. So I responded with the following:
"Yes, really. Why is that a problem? Christians of good conscience have all kinds of different beliefs on GLBT issues and the civil rights involved."
I then left the house with my family for several hours. I returned to this response:
"and there are plenty of churches where nonbiblical teaching is propagated for people who prefer to make up their own doctrine- ours just doesn't happen to be one of them- So, when in a leadership role in a church such as ours, it would show better discernment to keep these nonbiblical views to oneself if those under your influence have access to these comments."
I am wildly offended. Not because she differs with me but because she just accused me of 1) making up my own doctrine and 2) lacking discernment but she did it in such a passive aggressive manner that it is impossible to dignify it with a response. What is doubly ironic to me is that it appears that being dishonest is a Christian value in her book. I hold the view that same gender marriage is a civil right in a country that is not a theocracy but rather a representative republic. Because that view is in the minority at our church I'm supposed to pretend I don't hold it? Putting on that mask rather than opening a space for honest dialogue is apparently the virtuous position...WHAT?!?
No wonder the church is in such trouble. Seriously. We are straining at gnats and swallowing camels here people. Nowhere in the apostle's creed does it say "we believe that marriage is for heterosexuals only".
I didn't need this. Especially not today of all days. Tomorrow would have been Jeff's 44th birthday, if he had lived. He died of AIDS a decade and a half ago. It was wondering if his partner was allowed at his bedside that made me first begin thinking about the issue of GLBT civil rights. The idea that his partner had no legal standing to make medical decisions for him and in fact could legally be barred from his room had his family wished that seemed cruel in the extreme.
I'm coming back AGAIN to Micah 6:8 - Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly. I believe that denying civil marriage to same gender couples is unjust and that the way we hold a largely pagan group of people to a Christian standard that prevents their families from being afforded the legal protections that mine enjoys is not at all merciful. I believe it is arrogant in the extreme to deny their civil rights in this way and call it a "Defense of Marriage".
Who asked us to defend marriage anyway? And from what? God had a whole lot more to say about divorce and remarriage than He had to say about homosexuality and the verses on divorce and remarriage are much more clear and much less open to interpretation. Perhaps if we think we need to defend marriage we would do well to focus on the 51% of CHRISTIAN marriages that end in divorce. Although I personally believe that God's grace and love extend fully to divorced and re-married people JUST as I believe that God's grace and love extend fully to GLBT people.
So, how about we get back to the business of working out our own salvation rather than questioning the salvation of others. And if we DO feel compelled to challenge someone we believe to be in error how about we do it according to Matthew and go to them in PRIVATE first before calling names in front of nearly 800 people on facebook. Ok? Thanks.