Friday, August 3, 2012

Chick-fil-a, Homosexuality, and Christianity: An Epidemic and an Apology

Note: Though this isn't a popular or well-written blog that is ever likely to receive a lot of feedback, please be advised that anything other than a peaceful, civil discussion is not welcome here. Any comments that I find to be unkind, hateful, derogatory, flammatory, etc. will be deleted.

If you're reading this you're undoubtedly aware that there's some heat flowing in social networks and the media about a particular fast food chicken establishment; their views (one way or the other) on the family, free speech, and certain groups of people; and everyone else's views on the matter as well. It seems everyone has an opinion and if they have their way then everyone else is sure as hell going to hear it.

If I may, I don't have anything deeply profound or horribly controversial to share on the subject, but I would like to offer a simple, yet alternative, point-of-view on the matter for two reasons. 1) I am a Christian...meaning I believe Jesus is God, the Bible is to be taken contextually (not literally), and though I consistently fall short I strive to live according to God's standard of living instead of my own. 2) As a Christian, this controversy or whatchamacallit has really made my heart sad, but as a writer, this is the best way for me to try to sort out my thoughts. This will be messy but I suppose making them public will keep me accountable to the truth if nothing else.

My point-of-view is this: we seem to have a misunderstanding of sin.

For example, let's assume everything we've heard in the news is actually true. An individual subscribes to narrow, family values. This individual also happens to run his father's food establishment which was built on such values. Said individual expresses these values during an interview in terms of "is" v. "is not". A large percentage of the population reads far into the "is not" definition which they feel was strongly implied; they decide to boycott this individual's company because they feel this individual is using his profits to fund organizations that are out to prevent them from having civil and other inalienable rights. However, another large percentage of the population really does feel this group does not deserve the same rights as everyone else because they ascribe to a lifestyle that they believe to be wrong. Furthermore, this second group decides the best way to help the first group "see the light" is by setting aside one day to flood this establishment with their business, meanwhile backing up traffic and further making the first group feel alienated. (But really, this was the scheming of one particular politician, and the second group just went along with it because hey, that's what they do best!)

What we have here, folks, is an epidemic on our hands. We misunderstand sin to be a series of choices that cause harm to self and/or others. Really, though, this recent media debacle is an excellent example of how sin is in fact the epidemic I speak of. It creates in us this righteous indignation which makes us want to tell people who are different from us that they're wrong, take action to make them right, and in so doing cause even further wrong because we were misguided in our good deeds to begin with.

Let's get more to the point: the Bible labels homosexuality as sin. Nevertheless, there is still no research or facts to support that anyone makes a conscious choice to have an attraction to the same sex. I am not a homosexual (and my wife thanks me for that). However, I have my own history of sin. You'll most likely see me doing harm by acting out of ridiculous paranoid suspicions about other people, losing my temper, or even worse - doing both at the same time! This could be a bad example as emotions don't run anywhere near as deep as sexuality, but these are just a couple of things that are wrong with me. I never chose to be someone who often mistrusts other people or acts out of anger toward others. I know these things are wrong, and I often struggle with these things. Some days, though, I choose not to struggle and to be ok with hurting others in these ways.

Before you choose to further open that can of worms, let me just say I'm not interested. I'm not writing so I can share my views on sexuality or how corporations spend their money. My point is that we all have sin. We are all products of our environment in which sin pervaded. Sin is an epidemic. A disease. We have the ability to make good and bad choices but unfortunately it's not that simple. Yes, there is a cure, but we don't have it, so there's nothing any of us can do to fix this. The cure rests solely and entirely in the person of Jesus. I am guilty and consistently fall short, leaving me in constant need of that cure.

For those who are Christians: we, as a whole, have not represented Jesus well least not on such a grand scale. Our beliefs and our works amount to very little in light of this. I've read a lot of articles and blog posts recently that suggest love is the answer. I suggest otherwise. Our love is not enough to fix the rift between the Church and the rest of the world because our love is flawed and misguided. Perfect love is the answer, and that comes from Jesus who IS perfect love. He (and therefore, Love) best manifests Himself when we, the Church, are actually united. When we become divided over mixed messages in the media, it tends to have the opposite effect. So please stop taking sides. We can do better, and we have more resources than we know to help us do so.

For those who are homosexual Christians: Specifically, that is. I don't mean to label you or put you in a category separate from other Christian, and I deeply apologize if that's the impression you're getting. I'm sure you know just as well as I do what the Bible says. I know nothing about what it's like to be labeled or put into such a category, but I know there's not an easy answer, so I'm not going to pretend like I have the answer. I do know, though, that God is gracious, merciful, and compassionate. He loves all of us more than we can imagine - even in the reality of each of our unique conditions and epidemics. He (the Holy Spirit) is the only one that can bring about conviction and change in anyone's life. We are all powerless to do so. I pray you can see past the hate and lies, and that if you haven't already, you can find a Christian community that shows love and truth regardless of anyone's views on sexuality.

For those who are not Christians: it's not realistic for me to speak on behalf on an entire people group, but I can speak for myself. I am so sorry. I'm sorry for the ways I've misrepresented Jesus, the ways I've caused you harm, and the ways I've made anything I've said or done to you conditional. Jesus said to love without condition, to help those who can't help themselves, and to avoid getting caught up in divisive and political matters. If you're in this category and you can think of any way I've personally misrepresented Jesus toward you, I want to know, so please contact me.

God loves you and me. It doesn't matter who you are or what your beliefs are.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"nth" Times the Charm

I've been meaning to publish some sort of profound blog post about the newness of married life. However, it's been 7 months since I've last posted (insert comment in which I use married life as an excuse); even still, it's not going to happen tonight. It's late. I have to work tomorrow. The next day we leave early for vacation. For now, here's what the world needs to know: I got married. I really love my wife, and somehow she really loves me, so we've stayed married. I trust with God's sometimes-overbearing intervention that this trend will continue.

It's so easy at any big juncture to let activities and other parts of one's life slip away. Guilty as charged. I believe we all have something to share with the world and that it takes courage to do so. This includes me. Though very much an amateur, I am a writer at my core. This is me getting my feet wet again in the "blogosphere". There are much bigger priorities these days but as I learn balance my hope is that priorities of lesser importance, but importance nonetheless, do not become completely overshadowed. It may be tomorrow, next month, or even next year, but I will be back.