Fragrance or Stench?

I’ve been pondering this post for several days. I’m not a fast reaction writer … I like to let things percolate in my gut as well as my mind and heart. The thoughts and emotions that have been swirling around for the last number of days I have sought to offer up as a jumbled prayer that the Holy Spirit will make clear before the Father.

I have found myself grieving for the pain of my gay friends – and the many gay people who I don’t know personally – who have been so intimately affected by the various marriage propositions south of the border. I would hardly consider myself to be politically astute. And New Direction has taken a very intentional position to not be involved in political matters. So, I feel I may be skirting a bit of a fine line with this post.

But I have been thinking a lot about how caught up so many Christians seem to be in the empire …. And I’ve been considering the subversive way in which Jesus lived his life and taught his followers. He didn’t try to overtake the Roman government. He didn’t try to make his teachings the law of the land. His power was revealed in weakness and suffering and sacrifice. He chose to empty himself.

I’ve followed with a sad heart the perceptions and reactions of many gay people to the manner in which the various campaigns were executed by those who stood against gay marriage. The witness of those who name the name of Christ, where perception is reality, has been devastating….. twisting stories, power plays, harsh, ungracious …. seemingly oblivious to the fellow human beings their campaign would impact.

And now the protests through California and other States …. and the anti-religious sentiments being expressed….. understandably expressed.

And my heart breaks.

I don’t share the celebration of some within Christian circles. Though I believe that God’s best intention for marriage and sexual intimacy is the covenant between husband and wife, I also deeply believe that there are significant injustices being perpetrated against gay and lesbian people.

I look at the millions of dollars that have been spent on these recent campaigns and my heart returns to the documentary “JustUs” that my friends Meghan and Alex produced in Rwanda about the Millennium Development Goals ….. and my spirit is perplexed. And I find myself asking, “What is happening? How can this be consistent with the true religion of which the Apostle James speaks?”

I think of 14,000 couples in California alone ….. and the Christians who boldly and arrogantly assert that they will go after their marriage licenses …. and for the life of me I cannot see how that is consistent with the person and ministry of Jesus.

And so I have been lamenting these last few days. For those who celebrate somehow averting God’s judgment with the passing of these propositions …. I must ask, “What of the judgment that accompanies dehumanizing our fellow human beings? Of being a mill-stone around the neck of those who may have been seeking God?”

“What of the judgment of our pride and arrogance? Of the stench of our twisted sense of entitlement? Of our addiction to power and dominance?”

“What of the judgment of our capitulation to our fear? Of the fear that has driven out perfect love?”

Jean Vanier, in his book ‘Becoming Human’, writes, “The discovery of our common humanity, beneath our differences, seems for many to be dangerous. It not only means that we have to lose some of our power, privilege, and self-image, but also that we have to look at the shadow side in ourselves, the brokenness, and even the evil in our own hearts and culture; it implies moving into a certain insecurity.”

May Christ have mercy on us.



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