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Did Jesus Suffer for This?

I’ve been wondering what God thinks about this whole Chick-Fil-A deal.  Only he knows the intent of Mr. Cathy’s heart. Was he asked a leading question that elicited his response? I don’t know. But, it sure gave Christians something to stand up for…something to fight for…but in gaining this ground, have they lost a more important bridge?

Sometimes I read a blog that addresses a subject I’ve been thinking about, and this one by my blogging friend, Anita Mathias in Oxford, UK is just such a one. Read on.

Christus als Schmerzensmann (Duerer)

Christus als Schmerzensmann (Duerer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dreaming Beneath The Spires: Christians, Quit Being so Oppositional!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Christians, Quit Being so Oppositional!

Image Credit

So, on the 1st of August, on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day hundreds of thousands of Americans bought sandwiches from the popular fast food chain. Chick-Fil-A made $30 million on that day, to be donated to anti-gay groups.

Dan Cathy and his chain were being appreciated because they were “guilty as charged” of donating a cumulative $5 million dollars of corporate money to anti-gay groups, including the Family Research Council, called a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
And in my mind’s eye, I watch Jesus watch these snaking queues of Christians identify with him by buying these sandwiches, and I believe he is very sad.
Why do I believe this?
Because it makes me and so many other Christians cry. And Jesus when he sees us care—enough to give good gifts to our children, to look for a lost coin, or sheep or son–uses the same phrase, how much more would his father care.
5 million dollars for the project of changing people’s sexuality, a project with limited and dubious success, and to oppose  gay marriage and gay rights!!
Oh, how has the overwhelmingly positive message of Jesus—love one another; trust God; don’t worry, the Father cares; there is true life only in God; forgive aught against any—got reduced to being against gay marriage, against abortion, against gun control, against immigration, against Barack Obama, against the democrats?  Oh my fingers hurt just typing all this!
* * *
Five million dollars is both pocket change to God which he can give those who ask with a single good idea–and a significant sum of money.
It could sponsor 11,904 children for a year, providing them with food, education and clothing through World Vision at $35 a month. It can provide clean water to 250,000 people who might otherwise die young from preventable water-borne diseases, or spend many hours a day hauling water, exposing themselves to violence and sexual assault in the process. Nine year old Rachel Beckwith raised $1.2 million, providing clean water for 60,000 people in Ethiopa.
Because of early and unassisted childbirth, two million people suffer from fistulas.  “Women and girls with fistulas become pariahs. Their husbands divorce them, and they are moved to a hut at the edge of the village. They lie there in pools of their waste, feeling deeply ashamed, trying to avoid food and water because of the shame of incontinence, and eventually they die of an infection or simple starvation,” according to The New York Times.   Dr Steve Arrowsmith and volunteer doctors who work with the Fistula Foundation could heal 11,111 women for 5 million dollars
And if you believe, as I do, that man does not live by bread alone, but also by every word from the mouth of God, 5 millions dollars will pay for the translation of the entire Bible into 6.15 languages through Wycliffe Bible Translators’ The Seed Company (at $26 for a verse, painstakingly checked through a rigorous six step process). We’ve supported a small part of the Seed Company’s translations, and it’s very satisfying.
* * *
Which of these activities do you think is closer to the heart of Jesus?
Will funding anti-gay organizations make a gay person straight? Sexual desire stems from our unconscious limbic system and the autonomic nervous system. Attempting to change these is fraught with failure. Exodus International, (supported by Chik-fil-A) which attempts reparative, conversion therapy on gays, recently admitted that 99.9% of conversion therapy participants do not experience any change to their sexuality
And if they did? Is that what Jesus primarily came for? Called us to? To make gay people straight?
Or is his mandate that we follow him?
And, perhaps, in the process of following Christ some gay people might marry a heterosexual partner. And some might remain gay, but still love Christ.
 Lonnie Frisbee who was instrumental in the founding and flourishing of the Calvary Chapel Movement, and instrumental in the founding of the Vineyard when the spirit fell on hundreds of young people as he prayed, Come Holy Spirit was gay, despite his struggles, and died of AIDS.
The remarkable and saintly William Stringfellow was gay, and memorably wrote Can a Homosexual be a Christian? One might as well ask, can an ecclesiastical bureaucrat be a Christian? Can a rich man be a Christian?    Can anybody be a Christian? Can a human being be a Christian? All such questions are theologically absurd.
To be a Christian does not have anything essentially to do with conduct or station or repute. To be a Christian does not have anything to do with the common pietisms of ritual, dogma or morals in and of themselves. To be a Christian has, rather, to do with that peculiar state of being bestowed upon men by God….
Can a homosexual be a Christian? Yes: if his sexuality is not an idol.
                                           * * *
And when did following Jesus become synonymous with defending “traditional marriage?” Or disapproving of gays?
What did Jesus say for–or against gays? Nothing!!
His message was love. His message was Himself. Come to me. Eat me. Drink me. Abide in me.
And what happens when we do so? That’s his business. He will take each of us through different paths.
And so there will be rich Christians and poor Christians.
Republican Christians and Democratic Christians.
Christians who cheered on George Bush as he bombed Afghanistan and Iraq, and people like our family who were so distressed by it that we immediately started applying for jobs in other countries.
Gay Christians perhaps, and straight Christians.
Christ is too wonderful a treasure, too rich a feast to limit himself or be limited to straight people.
Christianity is a relationship, not a cultural statement.  God will call Christians to be salt and light and sweetness in every area of society, among the rich and among the poor; among the highly educated intelligentsia, and those who follow the crowd;  among conservatives and among liberals; among the gay and among the straight.
                                               * * *
So what stand would Jesus take on gay marriage, and gay ordination, these schismatic issues?  We don’t know, but we can surmise from the four loving detailed biographies we have of him.
Above all things, he hated hypocrisy. He hated self-righteousness and holier-than-thouness. He opposed the unthinking group mind. When the Pharisees of his day all clung together, clucking their tongues, Jesus was on the outside with the least and the last.
And these were the people he sided with, reached out to, spent his time with: Zacchaeus, who was notoriously dishonest. A woman caught in adultery. A woman who had led a sinful life. A woman who had been serially married and now lived “in sin”. A hot-tempered, violent Peter. A friend of prostitutes and sinners, he was called.
And if he met a gay man or woman? He would have preached the gospel to him, as he would to anyone else. He would have loved them, overwhelmingly. And they might in response have adopted traditional marriage. Or perhaps, might not have. That is between them, Jesus, and his Spirit.
Being is a Christians is not about making gay people straight or picketing abortion clinics or defending the intent of the American Founding Fathers or American values.
It is about a relationship with a person. A relationship which turned the world upside down in the first century (Acts 17:6) and will, infallibly turn our world upside down if we let it have its way with us. 
You might also like:
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The Parable of Those who Reject Multiple Chances. Blog …
Curses: Medieval Idea or Scriptural Reality?
How many plagues does it take?

One Response

  1. “It is about a relationship with a person. A relationship which turned the world upside down in the first century (Acts 17:6) and will, infallibly turn our world upside down if we let it have its way with us.”

    Agreed – yet where does being salt and light begin (or end)? The author is conveniently squishy here.

    Being in relationship with Jesus means that there are times where we need to stand for something more than emotive statements. When the secular establishment (using force of law) demands to teach your children that anything goes in the moral realm (except of course a biblical worldview), can you manage more than a murmur of protest? When the world slanders groups that lovingly help people escape from LGBT lifestyles as “haters”, do you blindly accept that (and by doing so, join in the virtual stoning yourself)? Keep reading the passages in the Gospels cited by the author — having rescued the woman caught in adultery, Jesus also told her, “Go, and sin no more”. He indeed was the model of seeking the lost – but also of saving them from their sin.

    Observation: any kind of principled stand is offensive to those intent on dismantling any vestiges of a biblical world view in our culture.

    The Chick-Fil-A “buycott” was a peaceful way for people to register their approval of one man’s freedom of speech (vs. politicians demand his franchise be excluded from their domains) and agreement with his view on marriage. This was all RESPONSIVE, e.g. in response to those who threw up the “HATER!” barrage.

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