I'm struggling for words for this tonight. Yesterday, I learned that World Vision had taken a step towards Church unity and affirmation towards gay Christians who live in states where they can be legally wed and where their churches affirm their marriages. And tonight I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. It appears as if Christians turned out en-mass to protest World Vision's policy change. And World Vision caved, reversing their policy and issuing an apology.
And now I'm tired and sad and mad and frustrated. And feeling a little lonely, to be honest. And... apparently a little whiny.
I call myself a Christian because I love Jesus and I want to follow Him. I want God to break me, to show me where I fall short, to use me to love others. I believe with all my heart that my purpose on this Earth is to be a peacemaker, a voice for the oppressed, to serve those that the rest of the world has forgotten or used or turned their backs on. To love them with the love of Jesus. That is the path to true joy, I know it.
But today so many of my fellow Christians threatened to pull funding, to denounce this organization, that they've changed their mind. I can't stop thinking about all of the gay people who felt some hope, a tiny twinge of affirmation, only to have it crushed. That apology that World Vision offered? It wasn't to our gay friends. It was to the people who rose up against them.
The fact is that Christians are going to argue over all the details in the Bible forever and ever. We don't agree on so many things: when was the Earth created, what roles may women serve in the Church, can you remarry if you've been divorced, baptism as an adult or sprinkled as a baby, the list goes on and on. Intelligent, educated, God-fearing, Jesus-loving, full-of-faith believers have struggled with all these issues and have come up with different answers. I am certain that when my life is over and I get to learn what is really Truth that I will discover I was wrong about some things.
And the issue about being gay? That's another one. The Church as a whole doesn't stand united on this. Scholars have agonized over this as well and have come up with differing answers. Two hundred years ago more than half the Church was faithfully studying the Bible and believing it said that God blessed slavery. We are forever trying to better understand God.
I've said this many times before... it breaks my heart that the LGBT community repeatedly hears the message that the Church hates them, that God hates them. That they aren't included, aren't acceptable. I have tears in my eyes writing the words, y'all. I am heartbroken over the big HUGE message that Christians sent to the gay community today. In the interest of protecting "traditional marriage," Christians just told our gay community that they aren't acceptable enough to join us in fighting poverty. That's what just happened.
I do not want to vilify those who believe in "traditional marriage." But when did protecting that one part of the Bible become more important than not hurting the people Jesus loves and came to save? And when protecting that part of the Bible pushes people away from Jesus... uh oh.
Sin is real. It is anything that pushes us away from God. And usually, our churches are full of people who sin regularly. Guess what? I lie sometimes, I gossip, I'm selfish. Confession: I haven't sponsored a child yet even though I really feel strongly that is something I need to do. Why? I haven't figured out how to fit it in my budget because I've been lazy. Sin on top of sin. I also eat big handfuls of chocolate chips and drink wine. Not sure if that's sin, but some may say so. Just thought maybe I should confess.
Our beautiful mega-churches here in the South are full of greedy people. We gladly invite in gluttony. If we are worried about lifestyle choices, how about all of us who continue to live in luxury and comfort while our brothers and sisters in other lands suffer and die of starvation and malnutrition? We encourage donations so we can have flat-screen tvs in our churches while our city's homeless sleep in parking garages.
I'm not trying to be harsh. I just mean that we have found ways to have grace for each other for lots of things. And we do that because God has shown us grace and mercy first. If you believe that same-sex marriage is a sin, why not find the same grace for it that we have found for other things? And extend that same grace to fellow Christians who have wrestled with the Bible and have come away believing that God does bless gay marriage.
Jesus said to make disciples. That means relationships. It's not my job to save anyone else, nor is it my job to dictate what moral code they follow. Now my best friends? If I see them making choices that I know is going to hurt them, you know we'll be having an intervention. We can say hard things to each other when we are in relationships with them. My best friends can tell me tough stuff because they've already proven to me that they love me. For any and all other relationships, particularly people I don't know - my job is to love you, to show you God's love.
To the friends and families of our gay community who have been hurt by this mess: I am sorry. I wish I could give you all hugs. Big ones. I'm hurt and angry and disgusted too. There are those of us out there who do stand with you.