Cutting Through the Noise

We Christians can be a noisy bunch.

Particularly when it comes to exhausting and divisive topics like: the proper existence of pickles on a fried chicken sandwich (no pickle), which dipping sauce is superior (Polynesian), and nuggets vs. strips (that’s easy; STRIPS).

Oh, and that pesky little topic of marriage equality.

Here’s the thing: several religions frown upon homosexuality, (mis?)quoting their particular Holy Book’s stance on the ghastly deed of falling in love with someone sporting the same junk as you. (For the record, and against my better judgment, I fell in love with a fellow Alabamian.)

Unfortunately, Christians are the ones making the most noise. And instead of clarity or unification or – God forbid – love, all the world is hearing from us who claim His authority is just a bunch of racket. Kind of like when my childless sister gave my son a drum kit for Christmas. (Yes, this was two Christmases ago, and no, I haven’t forgotten my threat of retribution.)

One can be fundamentally against homosexuality. You can consider it an abomination, or weird, or that it just gives you the willies.

Where this argument all breaks down is that, though the majority of Americans claim Christianity as their religion (said this one poll somewhere once that news syndicates like to employ when shit like this hits the national fan), we are not a Christian nation.

Once more with feeling.

We are not a Christian government. And my little “Jesus is the Rock”-singin’ heart is glad for that.

It saddens me when my Christian brothers and sisters continue to insist that our government should operate under the particularly narrow and rigid standards of Jesus. Truthfully? I can’t even operate my own life under that standard.

In fact, I find it rather arrogant that Christians are hell-bent on purchasing our secular government to fit the ideals of a portion of American citizens.

Maybe for now that portion is the majority, but here’s the kicker: America was founded on the significance of equal rights for all American citizens.

Not just the straight ones, or the Baptists, or the ones who drive a hybrid, or those who think Ryan Gosling > Brad Pitt (but feel free to make your best arguments for Mr. Gosling in the comments; pictures can only help your cause). But for all American citizens.

You can have your ideals and your principles, your beliefs and pickles on your chicken sandwich. You’ve got our secular government to thank for that. And chances are, we would probably find we have a lot more in common than not if we let the noise die down.

However, it is unfair and rather un-American to encroach on someone else’s civil rights, clutching those ideals in one hand and a picket sign in the other. It boils down to forcing your worldview on a world that is not all that interested.

That we even have lobbyists and action groups focused on denying Americans basic civil liberties to which we can donate our chicken allowance is a tragedy all its own.

The outrage should not be that an outspoken Christian businessman is against homosexuals tying the knot. The outrage should be that our secular equal-rights government agrees with him.

I mean, God never promised us a Christian government, at least not until Jesus returns to reclaim his kingdom. But hey, that’s another story.

Marriage equality is going to happen. I have faith that this great country will see to that. And when that happens, Christians will have nowhere to lay their picket signs and cross-shaped tracts because our neighbors will have turned their backs against our shouting.

All the ruckus we’ve been making under the banner of being Christ-followers is drowning out the MUCH more important message of Jesus’ redemption, God’s acceptance, and the gift (it’s a GIFT, you guys) of unhindered reconciliation with Him.

This message is far more necessary than which side of the gay/straight or nugget/strip fence you stand on. (Strips, you guys. It’s an unbroken stretch of chicken goodness, where exactly is the argument?)

The thing is, Jesus – the Jesus I follow haphazardly and mostly on Sundays (just not to Chick-Fil-A) – is the God of reconciliation, carrying to the cross the very message that God’s endless love is with eyes and arms wide open. Not despite our sin, but in light of.

It is the very message of love, and it is one everyone needs to hear more of, one that Jesus so willingly died to proclaim, the timeless message that no, not one, yet God is still interested.

And for those who are against marriage equality simply on the belief that homosexuality is a sin? Well, I implore you to extend that courtesy to all sinners looking to get hitched.

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19 Comments

Filed under Faith

19 responses to “Cutting Through the Noise

  1. bethanybwriting

    *claps and stands in agreement* eloquently put my dear. I love this video response from antionne dodson http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LUmoTOujJ7Q

  2. Moyermama

    You’ve written what I have felt in my heart for a long time. Thank you and well done!

  3. I’m not a religious sort, but I do believe in love and equality and that God (which ever one might believe in) wants us to find our happiness, our soul-mate, our life long journey and our way through it however we can manage with who ever we love. I don’t believe in or against any religion (I was raised a catholic), so I do have one question of opinion for you. If a Christian where to have a best friend, someone who you were to be a bridesmaid for, who decided to get married (Heterosexually) outside the church- would it be Christian of said person to ban this marriage and not attend or support because the person would therefore go to hell? This happened to me and I am always looking for answers. If you believe in the Lord, does religion say that you should not support, attend, or be happy for a friend who shares different beliefs or not as strongly? Sometimes seeing and believing makes us blind to the people and love around us, which is not what any God would want.

    • Not once did Jesus deny the invitation. He dined with sinners. He taught the outcasts. He entrusted the message of salvation to fickle, hotheaded men.

      Technically? The jokers Jesus cavorted with weren’t Christians either. Praise. The. Lord.

      The more I get to know Jesus, the less the situation you described sounds like Him.

      • I agree, and that very same argument did not shed any light to my Christian friend onto our situation. Sad when people use religion in the wrong way, away from love.

  4. Twinsie, I am proud to know you. A big, huge amen to all of this.

  5. alisewrite

    Oh yeah. This, this, this. So well said. Hugs.

  6. My proposal, if that indeed is going to happen, is that the governmentt get completely out of the marriage business. No marriage licenses. No tax deductions. No regulations other than you have to be a legal adult. Just do away with legally.

  7. I have many friends who are homosexual and I love them dearly, I do not agree with their life style though. Through out the Old and New Testament there are passages that discuss that homosexuality is wrong. I think that protesting and discrimination is wrong and disgusting but I do believe that as a child of God who has a personal relationship with God that it is my responsibility to to stand strong for His will. That includes praying for this nation and that the leaders make descions that will honor Him.

    • I had a phenomenal English professor once who used to ban the use of the word “throughout” because it is rarely used correctly. “Throughout” indicates an idea that occurs in every paragraph, sentence, and/or chapter, and the only thing the Bible consistently states throughout is God’s love, not our sin; His story of redemption, not our pathetic ability to keep screwing up.

      I admire your conviction, truly. And the right to have that conviction comes from our very non-Christian government.

      Separation of church and state was a pretty good idea. Fortunately, it protects the church just as much as the state (thanks, MRL).

      My point is that we are awfully noisy about an issue that – honestly? – very few Christians are affected by. How many of your gay friends are Christians?

      And because the Christian community is so noisy about the idea that homosexuality (sin) and Christianity (grace) are mutually exclusive, the bigger, more important message that God’s story of reconciliation is Grace in light of Sin (the one throughout the Bible) won’t be heard – or is distorted in the noise.

      I’m not saying I agree or disagree with the one or two or five verses of the Bible that state homosexuality is a sin. In fact, I purposefully left my personal theology out of the post because my point is that theology should never be in the discussion of American (not Christian) politics. Our Constitution makes that clear.

      My point is that our nationwide Christian community should be making the right kind of noise when it comes to what we say and what the country hears from us and our leaders.

      • Our country is a Christian country and founded on Christian principals. The reason that the pilgrams came to America and fought was so that they could worship – not have the freedom to have a homosexual marriage. Our country will no doubt one day allow homosexual marriage but if we have a few more years where people who are struggling with temptation will not act on it because it is not legal for marriage, well praise God! Religion and politics go hand in hand, in every country that is how it goes. And that is how it should go. We used to be a God fearing nation, and I pray people start falling on their knees again.

        • The pilgrims came here to flee religious persecution, not to start their own brand of religious persecution.

          If this were a Christian nation, our First Amendment would not include freedom of religion. It absolutely defies the First Commandment.

          And this just continues to be the wrong conversation between Christians and non-Christians. Why should we insist upon Christian values from a community – a country – who are generally disenchanted with the Christian faith? Again, arrogance.

          If a person struggles with homosexuality due in part because of what the Bible says, then that is a conversation to be held with personal, trusted spiritual advisors. Not on the national stage between communities filled with passionate convictions.

          I don’t know about you, but I cringe at the thought of some of my actions – sinful or not – being aired and judged in such a way.

          Let me reiterate the point of this post: the conversation between Christians and non-Christians should NEVER start with, “Hey, here’s where you fall short.” And unfortunately, that is our resounding message to everyone else. We have GOT to change our message. Heaven depends on it.

          Someone else mentioned this in the comments earlier, and it is spot on: http://t.co/tgJJm8cj

          “We don’t have to spend our energy trying to make an earthly kingdom more Christian. Every hour we spend trying to make an earthly kingdom more Christian is an hour we take away from trying to make our churches more Christian.”

          Amen and amen.

  8. Megg

    Yeah girl. Love this.

  9. Agreed. While I do believe homosexuality is a sin…so are endless other things which I am guilty of. Thank the Lord for his grace. I am no better than anyone else.

    But yes–I agree this should not be a political issue. Let the church stand where it may–it has the right to determine who gets married in their chapel and who doesn’t…but i have no idea why this is a government issue. We can’t force the world to adhere to our own standards when they don’t believe the basis for it (i.e. Bible). I believe in the Bible, but if someone else doesn’t, why would they bother following it? That makes no sense.

    In practice, it literally affects me zero percent if a gay couple gets married. Sure, I don’t believe it’s what God intended for marriage and I do believe it is sinful, but I’m not going to go around saying the government should stop them. It’s not the government’s job to police people’s sins. Y’know, unless it’s hurting someone else…which gay marriage isn’t.

    Anyway all that to say, good post. 🙂

    • Right. We are wasting a lot of energy and money and, frankly, the little time we have to spread our message on a lot of the wrong things. It’s a distraction from the Gospel, and one being perfectly executed by the enemy. (The enemy being the devil, not gay people. Felt like that might need some clarification.)

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