August 6, 2012
Let me start by saying that it is not my heart or desire to stir up controversy or arguments, though maybe it's inevitable because of the nature of what I've written. I hope we can remember kindness and grace for ALL. Including my humble opinions that I'm risking to post on my little blog today....
I'm one of those people that "amen's" in church. I hear truth and it stirs something in my soul and I agree, out loud. It's what I do. I probably got this from my Grandfather and my dad. My lineage is made up of passionate believers and I'm no exception. I have encountered my Savior in the depths of my heart and He has changed me. This is what leads me to amen, to cry during a worship song, to write down questions when I hear something in a message that I don't understand or agree with.
To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the church. I know that I need to be a part of it, yet it's hard to be a part of it too because often times it leaves me feeling empty or disappointed or sad. I find myself often not wanting to be affiliated with "religious" or "churchy" people, because I have found those kind of people either life-less or shaming. And I want to be neither.
Yet I go because I love God. Because He has invited me to consider church-going more than just something to do or get, but someone to be. I don't just go to church. I am the church.
Even though I am an "amen-er," I don't go to an amen-ing kind of church. Just as an observer, it seems as though for the most part, people stay silent. Amazing truth can be preached and declared and there is little or no reaction.
Yesterday's church service was different. The pastor preached on marriage and when he declared that marriage was between one man and one woman, the church nearly erupted with amen's. Immediately I felt myself become furiously angry. Not because I disagreed, but because my silent, seemingly passionate-less church, was amen-ing. They haven't amen-ed anything else, but this?
The one man, one woman = marriage thing? This, they amen? This, they affirm? This, they are passionate about? Why this? I simply don't understand. Perhaps, this is what the world, the unbelieving, doesn't understand either.
And my fury turned soft and became great sorrow.
Maybe the world sees that the church has no real passion or fervor or love for God. When it comes to traditional marriage - this we stand by and become vocal about? We stay silent and unmoved by poverty, by orphans and widows - all which Jesus made clear we were to take care of and minister to. We have nothing to say to the imprisoned, the lost and the lonely. We offer little to the hopeless, the depressed, the addicted and the oppressed. The world is full of hurting, hungry, lonely, abused and abandoned people. And where are we?
We have shown up in the masses to a fast food chain to take a stand for something. This is what we show up to support. This is what we amen in church. Because this is what really matters?
All of this confuses me. Grieves me.
I can't help but feeling like we're missing something here. Is our passion in the right place? If the world doesn't see our passion for God and for others, if the world doesn't experience love and grace through us, then why would they listen or consider our beliefs on marriage? Especially when we have failed them everywhere else.
We've stayed silent and quiet and motionless about every other thing. And when we finally speak up, it's too little too late. It seems like we have lost our ability to have any real impact.
Me personally, I struggle here. I struggle with what the Bible does and doesn't say. And unless I've missed something, Jesus never addressed homosexuality specifically during His ministry and I'm curious about that. I struggle with knowing where to land, how to be, and what to say.
Where would He be in this mess? How would He speak in to all of this chaos? This is what I've been curious about and where my prayers have been. A friend of mine posted a scripture on his Facebook wall last week in response to some of the controversy going on:
2 Timothy 2:23-25 - "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth..."
Will others know truth if we are in the middle of foolish and ignorant disputes? Will others know His love if we are quarreling? What would gentleness and humility look like here?
I think that maybe I lean towards the side of over-extending grace and compassion. I want to be accepting and loving of others regardless of their sexual orientation. And that is because of my heart - the heart He made, the heart He is mending, the heart He continues to change. I really don't know where I stand here, what I believe, and what I'm supposed to do with all of this - with gay marriage, homosexuality, etc. Honestly, I feel more convicted and sorrowful about my lack of involvement in helping the poor and the needy and the orphan than I do about whether or not our next President supports gay marriage.
I just know that I want to love others and live a life that reflects the grace that I've been extended by God. I want to show up how He wants me to and I'm still figuring out what that is supposed to look like.
And for me, it was not standing in line for my favorite chicken sandwich.