Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Kristen Howerton, whoever that is, pretends to worry that certain Christians are increasingly perceived by the Young PeopleTM as well as secular culture in general as narrow-minded bigots about a certain issue.  See if you can guess what that issue is:

In Christendom, there is apparently no topic quite as explosive as same-sex relationships. Christians are sharply divided and passionately opinionated on the issue. Same-sex marriage debates seem to rally and galvanize Christians lately. Chick-Fil-A, a fast food restaurant with a conservative Christian at the helm, became embroiled in a controversy when it became public knowledge that they regularly contributed to organizations that oppose LGBT rights. Christians quickly came to their defense, attending events at the restaurant and publicly showing support with everything from bumper stickers to Facebook updates. Others in the Christian community pushed back against what seemed like glee in denying rights to others, and a fervent debate ensued.

Damn!  Never saw that coming.

We don’t see nearly the same level of outcry or gatekeeping when it comes to biblical mandates that are often mentioned in conjunction with homosexuality. I don’t recall a boycott of companies who hire unrepentant gluttons. Christians aren’t generally voting on issues related to outlawing the right to be drunk. And yet, there seems to be a heightened sense of outrage on this particular issue. Many Christians believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, but why is this sin given so much more airtime? Perhaps it’s time to honestly examine whether or not the attention paid to this particular issue displays some covert fear or prejudice.

Kristen accidentally backs into a bit of a point here.  To name one example, we are at this point because Christian churches, every single one of them, stopped taking marriage as seriously as Christ said it needed to be taken a very long time ago. 

So if your church allows a man or a woman who were married but are no longer to remarry, under whatever concept of process your church chooses to call it, come to grips with the fact that any arguments you make against same-sex marriage are badly undercut before you even make them.

But let’s turn that question around.  What in the world does Kristen Howerton think is even remotely attractive about a religion with only one remaining sin, refusing to affirm homosexual activity?  Why should gays and lesbians, and gays and lesbians alone, be allowed to dictate to the Christian church what is and is not a sin?

Because gays and lesbians are, by no means, the first people to whom this question has been asked?  Because the Church has regularly invented reasons why others can violate Biblical principles without sanction?  After all, the Episcopal Organization made a bishop out of a guy who’s been divorced twice and married three times.

It’s like this.  If I have an appointment in downtown St. Louis that requires me to get on to the eastbound Interstate 44 on-ramp but I get on to the westbound Interstate 44 on-ramp instead, I have two choices.  Get off at Berry Road and turn around.  Or figure on missing my appointment, what with having to drive completely around the world and all.

Christians will likely remain divided on this issue. Is the only solution a form of excommunicating one another — denying fellowship over this issue?

Yup.  Kristen?  Solve this equation: 1 + -1=__.  But you can’t even remotely begin to understand, says Howerton.  This stance is wreaking spiritual havoc with Christian gays like my friend, Kevin.

It gave me so much hope when WV made their announcement; it felt kind of monumental for a truly evangelical Christian organization to be WELCOMING to people like me. But the response and subsequent reversal was devastating. More than one of my friends used the phrase “kick in the gut.” I think the worst part is that the negative response and WV’s lightning-quick reversal felt so personal. After the initial announcement, I read so many tweets and Facebook statuses such as “saddened to withdraw our support,” “angry that WV has given in to the gay agenda,” “I support traditional values,” “I will not support an organization that enables unbiblical lifestyles” and so on.

For them, it is merely an issue up for debate, not something they live with or experience. But LGBTQ+ people are not “issues” to be debated. We are people with a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Some of us have struggled mightily to reconcile our sexuality and/or gender identity with faith in Christ. The diversity and complexity of our stories are discounted too easily by treating us like an ‘issue.’”

I don’t want to sound heartless or anything, dude, but so what?  As a Christian, I’m not called by God to make you feel comfortable about yourself.  I’m called to tell the truth.  You, on the other hand are called to reconcile what the Word of God says with what you’ve decided that you are.  Nobody’s going to make it easier for you.

All that is between you and God alone.  Man up and deal with it.  In other news. friend of the MCJ Rachel Held Evans thinks that “evangelical” Christians are obsessed with homosexuality.

There is a disproportionate focus on homosexuality that consistently dehumanizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes gay and lesbian people and, at least in this case, prioritizes the culture war against them over and against the important work of caring for the poor.

Dearest conservative Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians.  May I be the first to extend a hearty welcome to the “evangelical” Christian community.  The coffee’s already paid for and you can help yourself to as many donuts as you’d like.  Raytch has a bunch of questions for all us “evangelicals,” old and new.

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, “What if we get this wrong?”

Raise your hand if you noticed a recurring theme there.

I, for one, am tired of arguing.

Good to hear since you suck at it.

I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.

Translation: when those leaders disagree with my insights.

I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism’s culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”

In other words, Raytch is going to go back to her life’s calling.  Thanking Vague, Ambiguous, Infinitely-Malleable, Inclusive, Affirming, Open-Minded And Tolerant Deity Concept that she is not as other men are.
Works for me, R.

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