It’s Thursday. I’m not into choosing controversial topics to blog about, but this seems to be a theme I keep bumping into. My writing mind won’t let me go anywhere else. My point today, is not to make a definitive opinion on the topic, but to talk about talking about it.
Two weeks ago, I resigned from my church and the worship band. There has been a lot of things that have gone wrong over the last two years, but there was finally the straw that broke the camel’s back. I walked into a conversation in progress. Twenty something year old was discussing his confusion and struggle with the concept that God disapproves of gay love. It feels wrong to him, goes against his instinct. But he has been told that the Bible clearly is a thumbs down, and if you can’t take some of the Bible, well then you have to chuck the whole concept.
Enter forty something year old who has studied a little bit on his own. For me, these are the people who I find most difficult to deal with. A little bit of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. He started spouting off a bunch of canned clichés (in my opinion) that I heard twenty years ago. I could give the arguments he was giving almost verbatim. I listened patiently for a few and then tried to enter in.
My point was not to say homosexuality was right or wrong. I try to respect the fact that I was attending a very conservative church and it isn’t my place to contradict their views. But if I can tactfully open their minds a smidge, that could be a very good thing. I suggested that perhaps there are other options besides the black and white ones. Perhaps it’s not just right or wrong, perhaps you can struggle with the Bible without chucking it or swallowing everything at surface value. He said, “But that’s what I’ve been told to believe,” and I suggested to him to never let anyone TELL him what to believe. He should always keep wondering, thinking, sorting it out.
But I couldn’t make my point. Young guy has ADHD so he interrupts by nature. Older guy interrupts because he’s a fundamentalist and can’t listen. I finally got angry and lost my composure. I said that my frustration with talking to people with that mindset is that you actually can’t talk to them. I told him he was talking AT me, not TO me. I didn’t appreciate his interrupting and the way he wasn’t even listening to WHAT I was saying. He was too busy spouting out his position. He then made the mistake of suggesting that I should try reading the Scriptures. I promptly reminded him that I went to a Bible college and formally studied the Bible for three solid years in a scholarly institution.
Upon hearing that I resigned, his comment to the group was, “well, it wasn’t my fault.” Nice. Kinda missed the point of what biblical knowledge is supposed to be all about. LOVE.
The next week we attended another conservative church for a family baby dedication. This one had a drawn out section of time dedicated to praying for our decaying society and the atrocity of legalized gay marriage. I actually got up and left the room for a while. It literally made my stomach hurt to hear it. On the way home, I asked Frankie (age 12) what he thought. He said that if there was a kid in the church who is gay, he would probably go home and commit suicide after that. I had to agree. Again, the church missed the point.
There are plenty of godly men and women who are much smarter than I that can make a case for biblical disapproval of homosexuality. But there are an equal number of brilliant and godly men and women that can make a compelling case for the opposite view.
My point is this. If you read the gospels and follow the life of Christ while He walked the earth, one thing is very, very clear. The only people He came down on- and came down hard- were the Pharisees. Who were the Pharisees? The religious leaders of the day. The holier than thou people. The most “godly” people of the day. Christ ripped them up and down on several occasions for missing the entire point of Christianity.
One of the most famous stories in the New Testament is when the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus and the religious leaders. ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, she should have been stoned to death. Jesus told them, “He who has no sin should cast the first stone.” And what happened? Everyone left. Jesus, the only perfect human, the only one with a right to condemn her, said He would not condemn her. He did tell her to sin no more, but He did not condemn her.
Over and over, Jesus made the point that the religious leaders were using Scripture for the wrong purpose. The bottom line is, until you are perfect, focus on yourself. Worry about yourself. And ain’t no one ever gonna be perfect, so the point is, back off. Get the log out of your own eye. The Bible is not meant to be a hammer.
GOD IS LOVE, FORGIVENESS, GENEROSITY, CARING, and any other love-filled word you can think of. I know I’m being judgmental myself, but I think there are plenty of religious people today that remind me of the Pharisees of old. And I think Christ would be equally as unhappy with them as He was 2000 years ago.
It doesn’t matter what you think about gay marriage. Work on being the best person you can be. Focus on improving your own life. Let other people figure out their own relationship to God and each other. And for God’s sake, if you don’t believe that and find yourself talking about it with others, at least have a little grace and tact. You might do more harm for the kingdom than you will be helping it.