I just read a blog which I could not – not respond to. Have a look at the original blog if keen about Christianity and the need for “the church” to get involved in issues like gay marriage. To be the voice of reason to the State. My first thought was – who is the voice of reason to the church? … but I digress.
I would be really interested in hearing what your definition of “church” is. If it’s about individual men making a noise about what they think the political system should do and be – then yes, there are examples of that in the bible. But were those individuals “the church”? Actually, the “church” really only came AFTER Jesus. And sadly, even the way our current “church” is set up is very very different than the early church.
So if we look at how Jesus engaged in politics it was much different than yelling about gay marriage and actually Jesus never engaged government in morality issues. Instead he engaged church leaders in their morality issues – calling out the “righteous” church leaders. IF the church is going to argue about certain morality issues than my suggestion is that we start advocating that the church get its stories straight.
I have many questions for “the church” about gay marriage – mainly who is it harming? In fact, I know many more gay partners that have been together much longer than my “christian” married friends. This is an equality issue. If the church doesn’t agree with gay marriage then “the church” doesn’t have to marry them – but legislating is patronizing and patriarchal (both foundations in which the church and state in America were built on) – perhaps it’s not that young people aren’t getting involved on the issue of gay marriage – perhaps their eyes are being opened to equality – something Jesus advocated for. Should the U.S. be legislating divorces as well, how about obesity – because actually that affects me and my tax dollars, and the comfort of my recent airline flight.
I appreciate this statement by Richard Rohr: The sacred texts of the Bible are filled with absolute breakthroughs, epiphanies, and manifestations of the highest level of encounter, conversion, transformation, and Spirit. The Bible also contains texts which are punitive, petty, tribal, and idiotic. A person can prove anything he or she wants from a single line of the Bible. To tell you the truth, the Bible says just about everything you might want to hear—somewhere!
If we are going to use the bible to base are political arguments we can pretty much find anything to back up what we think. So let’s agree on Jesus – “Christians” should be fighting for social issues – like he did. He stood up for the poor, he stood up for equality, he stood up for health care, he stood up for those that were seen as outcasts. And I’d imagine he’d be standing right next to a couple that love each other – no matter what sex they are.
I will leave you with this – because Richard Rohr says it so simply:
DISCERNING OUR COMPLICITY
In recent elections one would have thought that homosexuality and abortion were the new litmus tests of Christianity. Where did this come from? They never were the criteria of proper membership for the first 2000 years, but reflect very recent culture wars instead—and largely from people who think of themselves as “traditionalists”! The fundamentals were already resolved in the early Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Note that none of the core beliefs are about morality at all. The Creeds are more mystical, cosmological, and about aligning our lives inside of a huge sacred story. When you lose the mystical level, you always become moralistic as a cheap substitute.
Jesus is clearly much more concerned about issues of pride, injustice, hypocrisy, blindness, and what I have often called “The Three Ps” of power, prestige, and possessions, which are probably 95% of Jesus’ written teaching. We conveniently ignore this 95% to concentrate on a morality that usually has to do with human embodiment. That’s where people get righteous, judgmental, and upset, for some reason. The body seems to be where we carry our sense of shame and inferiority, and early-stage religion has never gotten much beyond these “pelvic” issues. As Jesus put it, “You ignore the weightier matters of the law—justice, mercy, and good faith . . . and instead you strain out gnats and swallow camels” (Matthew 23:23-24). We worry about what people are doing in bed much more than making sure everybody has a bed to begin with. There certainly is a need for a life-giving sexual morality, but one could question whether Christian nations have found it yet.
Christianity will regain its moral authority when it starts emphasizing social sin in equal measure with individual (read “body-based”) sin and weaves them both into a seamless garment of love and truth.
Adapted from The Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil