“It’s the end of Bigotry and a new era of equality.”
That’s the response of many of my friends this week and I understand how they feel. In their perspective, that’s exactly what it was; a victory in the battle against narrow minded bigoted right wing conservative fundamentalist homophobes filled with hate who only want to continue to discriminate against people not like them. As a broad minded right wing conservative fundamentalist pastor who sees nothing to hate in the homosexuals I love as brothers and friends, but nonetheless is opposed to redefining marriage, I understand but don’t agree.
“What are we going to do? God Help us. ”
This is the reaction many of my Conservative Christian friends are having right now. I am not mocking them. I understand also that for many of them this feels like the end of an institution we believe was defined and invented by God Himself as one of His very first acts. We believe that it holds a certain definition and that this is not about rights or equality or even discrimination of individuals, but about discriminating between different kinds of relationships and supporting a building block of society called the family. These friends believe this is a significant loss in a battle against militant narrow minded left wing atheists filled with hate who seek only to bring down traditional values and Christianity itself. As a broad minded right wing conservative fundamentalist pastor who sees nothing to hate in the homosexuals I love as brothers and friends, who has in turn been treated by them as a brother and friend, whose Christianity and disagreement has been tolerated (if sometimes misunderstood) with grace and love, I understand but do not agree.
“I don’t know what to do…I have so many friends who feel so passionately on so many sides of this issue. I can’t see these friends as mean or terrible people on either side.”
This is my daughter’s reaction. Ok, I paraphrased but this is essentially it. I understand this reaction and share it to some degree.
So what is my reaction? As a Pastor what do I tell my congregation when they ask me, “What are we going to do?” What do I tell my daughter?
We are going to keep doing what we’ve always done (or at least what Christ asked us to do): We are going to love.
1) We are going to love our wives and our children and instead of defending marriage with our anger we are going to advance it by taking it seriously enough to model and live. We are going to stop worrying about the word, “marriage” and worry about the reality of it in our own families and lives. We are going to stop insisting other people build the culture we are called to build with pillars we are called as a church to build with. We will stand firm on the sanctity of marriage by keeping it sacred, not by expecting citizens of this world to agree with citizens of another.
2) We are going to love those who disagree with us. We are going to remember that none of us reaches the glory of God apart from the Grace of Christ. We are going to stop declaring that a sin which focuses on worldly love is more egregious than the million sins we sometimes let slide which don’t even pretend to an aspect of love; sins like slander and gossip and lying or, in extreme cases even violence. We are also going to love them by clear communication of the Gospel in word and deed, clarifying that all sin is big and God’s Grace is bigger.
3) We are going to love our Lord and trust Him when He says that the church is not called to rule through power of law or politics, but to serve through love and grace. We are going to remember (again) that Christ and the church has never before required the agreement of a culture (politically, legislatively or artistically) before we love those in it. We are going to remember that as we incarnate Christ’s life in us to others we can change lives. We are going to remember that laws which allow do not require and laws which forbid, do not overrule passions which control. We are going to remember that Christ alone brings freedom from sin and freedom to love.
At least that’s what I hope we are going to do; it’s what I’m going to earnestly try myself.
What do you think about the SCOTUS decision?