Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What in the World are We Here For?

That’s the question I keep coming back to in the recent dust-up over providing services for gay customers.  What are we, the church, here for?  From the various blogs I’ve seen at least the following answers to my question can be deduced:

1.    To stand for our faith in every area of life

2.    To pass judgment on gay people

3.    To impose our view of sexuality on others in whatever ways we can

The common thread here is exclusion.  In a faith mandated to take the non-exclusive and unconditional love of God to the word, the Christians involved in this brouhaha seem more focused on drawing lines in the sand and excluding those who don’t have the right qualifications. 

While it is surely right to stand for our faith in every area of life, whatever faith we are representing by exclusive actions is certainly questionable.

To pass judgment on someone, or to declare that they stand under the judgment of God should be an impetus for us to befriend them and show and share God’s love to them.

To impose our view of sexual morality on others is the last gasp of a Christendom mentality that accepted for a time that Christian faith should set the norms for our culture (at least in some areas).  That such was a mistake is one of the great lessons of the 20th century.  Instead of embracing the plurality of culture that actually is and seeking what the call “to be all things to all people” might meant for us a lá the Apostle Paul or Jesus’ risky practice of crossing taboo boundaries to engage and even learn from others (Matt.15:21-28), we have taken the easy way of exclusion and call that purity.  We should have learned from the way Jesus reversed the contagion of impurity from infecting the pure to making the impure clean!

The only gospel answer I can see to the plural world we live in is friendship.  God’s kingdom movement is all about reversing or erasing the insider-outsider boundary.  We whom Christ has graciously befriended ought to extend such graciousness to others – even those others who are strange and frightening to us.  That, I suggest, is the best answer to my question of “What in the world are we here for?”

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