Wow I’ve been thrown for a loop concerning my brief post last night on my thoughts on Obama’s position on gay marriage. Those comments have brought in by far the most hits on this blog to date. I think that’s a que to expand further but my wife thinks that’s a que to leave well enough alone. Well let’s find out who is right 3 more observations:
- It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where this thing is headed. Polls are already showing that more people in the US are for gay marriage than against it, and politicians do what is most political expedient regardless of party affiliation. It may take a few decades but eventually gay marriage will be allowed in most if not all states and become the norm. Please don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just telling you the trend line.
- Evangelical pastors will not ever be made to perform gay marriages. What I believe will eventually happen is like in some other countries the sanctioning of marriage will not be a Church/State joint function, and eventually will be only a state function. Right now you can have a church wedding or go to the courthouse. In 10-20 years it will pretty much be the same. If you want a church wedding you can still have one, but as clergy we will no longer play the role as an official officer of the state that sanctions marriage for them; only the state will do it. Those in favor of the separation of church and state, there you go.
- Again if gay people get married Jesus is still Lord.
But on to other more important things. As the election draws close (finally!) I think I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about the effects I’ve observed within the circles I run in. Being that I constantly migrate between the world of a racially mosaic of evangelicals of both the suburban and urban variety, I have rarely participated in an election conversation that was not lively. The one thing I think we need to master as Christians is how we discuss such hot topics.
We need to address issues that weaken the work of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures in a way that respects the perspectives of all involved. It is possible to understand the differences, act on the commonalities, and agree to disagree. Author Hugh Halter is instructive on how to take such a position which he terms posture. Concerning this concept Hugh writes in The Tangible Kingdom:
Words communicate what we know; posture represents what we believe and feel. Therefore, posture is the most important part of relationship and communication. Posture shows true emotion and the intent of our heart. When we are trying to figure out why those outside the church aren’t interested in our “good news,” it may have nothing to do with our message.
He also states that posture isn’t about truth but about helping people want to hear truth; that posture is important because it can either obscure the message of truth or enhance and pave the way for a clear rendering of the truth; and we must realize that the most important thing is whether people are attracted to, drawn into, and able to understand and recieve truth than us winning any debate or culture war.
What Will We Be Known For?
Here is one example of posture. One day during the 2008 election I was having dinner with some “scuppies” (Socially Conscious Young Urban Professionals.) The husband was a relatively new believer and his wife was not a believer at all. She came from wealth and was not hostile to God although her father was an atheist. During dinner on their deck her neighbors came out on the adjacent one, two guys who identified with the gay lifestyle, and waived at us.
Once they went back into their house she asked me what I thought about that, and I took a posture that reflected my views but also did not demonize her neighbors. She must have felt very comfortable because we then ventured quickly into politics. After some time she said maybe one of the most sad statements I have ever heard. She told me she could never be a Christian. When I asked her why, she stated that she could never vote Republican!
By the way she did not get that view from me but from the media and interactions with other Christians. It may seem like a joke, but she was serious. She tied her salvation to what she did in the voting booth.
Beliefs like that develop when she interacts with Christians and their faith is politicized along the likes of a Rush Limbaugh or Jeremiah Wright (remember him?) than reflecting the truth of Jesus Christ. Such interactions distort our faith and cause unbelievers to distance themselves from God by default.
Life experience dictates that we start from different perspectives. These differing perspectives are strengths. But if our perspectives are not postured correctly, constructive conversations about faith do not occur. More importantly people potentially miss out on the Kingdom of God.