I’ve been off-line for the past week only to come home to the firestorm online over World Vision’s decision and reverse decision on the issue of same-sex marriage. Personally I don’t think we need one more voice piping in – enough has been said on the issue.
However, I do want to make a point, thank one person and present a challenge.
A Point: Below is a statement from Sarah Pullian Bailey’s Q&A with World Vision President Rich Stearns:
Earlier this week, the World Vision announced that it would allow employees to be in same-sex marriages. Within 48 hours, the $1 billion Christian organization reversed course, saying on Wednesday that it had made a mistake. The backlash illustrated how evangelicals will continue to wrestle with a growing cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage. (emphasis mine)
Here’s the one thing – we evangelicals are NOT wrestling with a growing cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage. This isn’t something being handed to us by culture out there. We, the people, whom live in culture and are very much a part of culture, walk our culture into the Church. It’s not out there somewhere. We are it. Good grief just look at what we wear, drive and eat when sitting in our church seats. We are Banana Republic, Honda and Anthony Bourdain. Let’s stop blaming culture because it’s not some separate entity. And what that means is we have to accept that change isn’t coming from just “out there” but also from within. The Barna group did a study on American’s change of mind about homosexuality. Below is one of their findings. (I highly recommend you read the whole article.)
Younger practicing Christians are statistically more supportive of the LGBTQ movement than their parents’ generation. Nearly half of practicing Protestants under 40 today support changing laws to enable more freedoms for the LGBTQ community, while just one-third of their parents’ and grandparents’ generation feel the same.
It’s too simple to blame “culture” truth is it’s inside which means it’s a family issue. Which takes me to my thank you.
A Thank You: The one person I want to thank is Jen Hatmaker. In her recent blog she set out some reasonable guidelines for us family members during this conflict. But she also challenged us in how we dialogue with each other.
We do not need any more inflammatory soldiers in the culture wars; we need more thought leaders who are slower to publicly condemn their faithful brothers and sisters and quicker to invite reason and dialogue to the table. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2).
I couldn’t agree more! The family needs to learn how to disagree in a more biblical fashion. Paul had much to say about our language, attitude, motives and style of communication.
A Challenge: Jen suggested we figure out a way to have a more civil dialogue. Maybe we need a nation wide ecumenical council on how to disagree with each other. Perhaps it’s time for another creed.Or maybe we need to figure out how to communicate less on-line and more in person.
It’s so easy to type words then press send but it’s a whole other thing to voice those same thoughts when standing face to face with the one to whom you speak about. There’s something about being incarnate with one another. It softens us. It reminds us of their humanness and ours. I make it a point to be incarnate with those who disagree with my being a female preacher. I have found that those who so easily pen ugly words on-line become more – well, human – when I am incarnate. We know this don’t we? It’s harder to slander or gossip about someone to their face. Incarnation has an impact on how we communicate with and about each other. Presence may not solve everything but I’m willing to try it if it will lower the decimals and rhetoric. Anything that will help us love each other better. Anything that will help us Christians make Jesus look as good as he is – especially to those unChristians looking in.
In all seriousness – how else should we proceed? We’ve got to figure out a way to make Jesus look better than we are. May holiness, love, grace, mercy and unity prevail.