Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

All day today I worked through in my head if I should change my profile picture to the equal sign on facebook. Seems like a silly thing to debate, I know.

The equal sign is symbolic for equal rights, specifically equality for same sex marriage. 

For those of you outside the loop (as I usually am. ha), Proposition 8, is the ban against same sex marriage that was passed 4 years ago in California. From what I understand, the case is now at the supreme court in hopes of it being overturned, thus allowing same sex couples to marry and have equal rights as everyone else. 

I don't pretend to know about the judicial system, but that is how my simple mind understands it.

The subject of homosexuality always seems to draw a firm line between people. Friends, family, coworkers. It seems as though you are either for it, or against it. Not a whole lot of middle ground.

And it almost always involves a religious viewpoint.

People have very strong opinions when religion is involved.

I don't pretend to be void of passion for what I believe, nor do I compromise my beliefs in order to satisfy the world around me.

In other words, I don't need to conform to the norms of society (Romans 12:2). 

But I do not believe that my interpretation of right and wrong should not be imposed on those who do not share the same beliefs as me. "For what business is it of mine to judge those outside of the church." (1 Corinthians 5:12).

Since I am a Christian, I'll speak from my own experience as a Christian. 

We so often feel the need to rally behind the messages of the Bible. We feel very passionately that the Lord has given us His words to live by and while I believe wholeheartedly that the words in scripture are not only divine and for everyone, not all share our beliefs.

And we need to come to terms with this...

...and gently step aside.

Jesus was/is far more interested in the nature of our hearts and seeing transformation in our lives than legislating morality.

I believe that is what is wrong with Prop 8. Those who are against same sex marriage are attempting to bring/maintain personal conviction into law and with a country that is not exclusively Christian, it is problematic. 

Those in favor of same sex marriage are not looking for theological or religious debate. All they are asking is for the same civil right as every other heterosexual marriage, but we take it personally.

We do so because we think it threatens that which we hold on so tightly to.

But what if what we hold so tightly to is causing the world around us to turn a deaf ear to our message? To His message?

Do we compromise our beliefs? 

Not at all.

But we can acknowledge that not everyone shares our beliefs and step aside gracefully.

Stepping aside gracefully does not equal compromise. In fact, when we realize and believe our message, that we are all in need of God in our lives, and commit to sharing His love with others, the "stumbling block" between us seems to disappear.

We begin to view those who do not share our beliefs as people just like you and I. Instead of seeing, or even worse, labeling them, as "gay or lesbian," they become our friends, or "the guy at the grocery store," instead of "my gay coworker," or "the ___________." You fill it in. I'm sure we all have done it at some point. 

We begin to see that we are all human, that we all have a need for Christ, and that by living in the United States of America, we all deserve the same rights and opportunities as the next person.

And most importantly, we can realize that we all have value and worth in the eyes of Christ. 

Can we recognize this while arguing that same sex marriage should be banned? I'm not sure. I know that's a bold statement, but this is the way I track with it.

I think as Christians we tend to have two mindsets. Either we think that legislating morality will bring about a change of heart, or we fight to maintain a Christian level of morality in our society, forcing those outside of the church to abide by.

Where I see a problem is that we cling to this so strongly that we forget that it is really God who is in control. When we let go and trust that a society not dependent on God can still find Him, we let go of the urgency to control those around us. 

When we realize that God does love everyone and desires to know them personally and intimately, we can let go of the pressure to "fix the problem."

I know that not every Christian who is against Prop 8 is doing so out of hate. I'm sure many of them do really love those around them.

But consider this. Do we think that God cares more about homosexuality, or about seeing hearts come to know Him? 

Or even more importantly, do we really believe that you need to be straight in order to seek and find God? 

So I debated over whether or not to change my picture to the big red "equal" sign. I debated because I love my homosexual friends. I desire that they have every right that Joel and I have. I believe that this is a matter of rights, not morality and that I desire for them to see that their rights matter. That their lives matter to me.

But I worried about what my Christian friends would think. And the arguments that would follow. 

So here my friends, here is where I am coming from. This is what I stand for. I stand for a God who loves more deeply than I will ever know on this earth. Who loves all people, no matter what sexual orientation. A God who I trust with the hearts of the people of this world. A God who I know and believe cares more about people than I do. A God who has shown me love that I have only begin to understand. A love that moves me to love others. A love that I pray will be found by all.

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also out to love one another." 1 John 4:9-11

*If you want to read more, I found this simple, easy to read article/blog about it today. 


Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful. Your words echo exactly how I feel and what I believe.

Anonymous said...

youre great kel. well put. -carrie

Mark & Corie said...

Kelly, I appreciate your spirit or acceptance and compassion. The interesting thing about Prop 8 is that it was voted on by the people of liberal California. Over 60% of the people wanted to keep the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. This is not just a religious issue but a government matter because of cost and benefits reasons. And in the end, how do you re-define marriage without un-defining it?

Anonymous said...

Love Speech, strange but true.

"Christians have an obligation to bring transcendent moral values into the public debate. All law implicitly involves morality; the popular idea that 'you can't legislate morality' is a myth. Morality is legislated every day from the vantage point of one value system or another. The question is not whether we will legislate morality, but whose morality we will legislate." Chuck Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict.

I enjoyed reading your post and thought it made some sense, but it raised more questions than answers as to how the Christian should respond to the worlds re-definition of marriage. I feel a little foolish; I thought that the equal sign meant one man one woman equal marriage.
As a Christian my search for answers is never to religious ideology or what the world is promoting as moral or just, rather my appeal will always be to scripture to answer such questions.

“But I do not believe that my interpretation of right and wrong should not be imposed on those who do not share the same beliefs as me.” "For what business is it of mine to judge those outside of the church." (1 Corinthians 5:12).

There seems to be a problem with the context of the quoted scripture here. Not only do we impose our beliefs on others, but the State does the same, i.e. Roe v Wade, polygamy, age of consent etc.

Should I intervene if I witness a child being abused by a bully? Am I imposing my beliefs on the bully if I stop him?
I would balance the non-judgmental perspective of 1 Cor 5:12 with a word study of the English use of judging and the Greek use krino- condemn and anakrino-examine or judge.
Bearing in mind the wise counsel of Paul,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

“...and gently step aside.”
The English word “apostasy” is derived from a Greek word (apostasia ) that means, “to stand away from.”

Romans 1 makes it clear what occurs when a society accepts homosexuality. By today’s standards this would be called hate speech, many Christians rightfully want to be identified as loving and kind, even progressive, but to not warn homosexuals or anyone for that matter why they may be excluded from the Kingdom of God is hate speech. Warning them is in fact Love speech.

I do not regard individual gays as a special class of sinner any more worthy of condemnation then the rest of fallen humanity but as a student of scripture I must ask; why does the Mosaic Law call homosexuality an abomination?
The impact of legalizing gay marriage will be that churches will be required to marry gays regardless of religious or biblical beliefs or face legal consequences. The possibility of losing tax exempt status could deprive the charitable giving that churches routinely do for the infirm and less fortunate. I see this as the primary reason to step into this rather than appease the enemies of the cross.
Speaking the truth in love, gently and according to the Lords leading we are to present the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word to all.
May the mercy and grace of God the Father through his Son Jesus be upon us all.

Kelcy Lowry said...

Wow. Brilliantly stated Anonymous.

Anonymous said...