(Someone asked me if I can’t just be foolish on Facebook… Well, hell, NO! I will be foolish here as well:)
1 – The State of Indiana passing laws that are to allow business to reject service to gays: WRONG. Even with the argument that it is to protect businesses from the heavy lawsuits gay people file against business. We should not respond with legislation against others whereas saying that we don’t like “legislation” which is against us
UPDATE: Please read a clarification in the comments. UPDATE #2 – Please read how CNN “headlines” the matter here
2 – Gay people closing otherwise good business by suing them because they cannot bake a cake for themselves, or arrange flowers by themselves (what kind of gay people are they?): WRONG
3 – Gay people in business, hypothetically, refusing to provide services for the KKK and the Westboro (more like West Burro) Baptist Church in a anti-gay regalia: WRONG.
So, in whatever case, it is all wrong! The fact is that no one wants to live together with those with whom they disagree. The fact remains that TOLERANCE is something you give, not something you DEMAND! The one demanding TOLERANCE and rights should be the first one READY TO GIVE IT!
I have repeated this often, including in “diversity” courses: Tolerance demanded is in and of itself INTOLERANCE! Especially when it is in detriment of others.
If it matters, before you call me names, read this: I do business with gays although I respect those who do not!
Now you can call me names …
A Civil War “of sorts”?
WE ARE IN A CIVIL WAR,
We can’t live without legislating against those whose live styles or opinions we despise;
We can’t live without involving the courts against those whose life styles and opinions we despise;
We can’t live without involving the GOVERNMENT against those whose life styles and opinions we despise:
THEN, we are already amid a CIVIL WAR; a bloodless one indeed, but perhaps just as dividing of a society as a full blown CIVIL WAR!!!!
Some people think they know where history is taking us and are quite happy to declare boom-booms on those who take exception, the boom-booms declared with a long finger pointing at them with the accusation they will be on the “wrong side of history” or, perhaps more damaging, they will be “left behind” or “irrelevant.”
He wrestles first with statements against religion and how as a species we are losing our connection to the need for a divine. Taking this a step further, he attacks inclusion advocates who often use the “wrong side of history” mantra as a reason to progress. McKnight and I differ on inclusion, which seems to be needed to said because if you question progressive idols, then suddenly you are a bigoted fundamentalist.
Frankly, “wrong side of history” is a tired and worn-out phrase that has been co-opted from other narratives, providing a slippery slope and dismissing the moral imperative of inclusion.
Let me explain. The “wrong side of history” mantra is nothing short of a modern-day manifest destiny, the 19th century version of American Exceptionalism that led to the extermination of indigenous peoples as well as the preservation of slavery, both African and capitalistic. This mantra is about Americans, for Americans, and sets a particular interpretation of American values above the rest of the world not to mention Christian Tradition. It has no regard for soundness of logic, reason, or doctrine, only for a political movement that can change as quickly as the weather. Indeed, in one FB conversation recently, Roger Worsley (a prolific UMC progressive blogger), stated simply he writes only for American progressives, feeding them only what they want. In doing so, Worsley (albeit, passively) admitted that the only Christianity that mattered was his white progressive version.
If you are fighting for inclusion only because you don’t want to be on “the wrong side of history” you have to ask yourself, in what way are you respecting the people you are supposedly fighting for? Aren’t you just using them as mere bodies, footstones/cannon fodder/pawns in all actuality, to advance your cause? Why not fight for inclusion simply because it is right rather than as a means to re-establish white American dominance, colonizing the world and Christian Tradition?
History is fickle and has no sides. It can be undone, destroyed, and forgotten. What cannot be so easily destroyed is the mind and heart changed for the good, for the right.
This is simple and perhaps even simplistic, I admit, but, I guarantee you it is at least one first step to avoid legal problems, that is, if you object to performing gay marriages.
(Disclaimer: I have voiced my opinion as to gay marriage plenty of times in different ways with the same main thrust, so, this is not an opinion on gay marriage but an advice to Churches that want to avoid the nightmare of lawsuits.)
Many Protestant churches reject the idea of marriages as a sacrament. Too bad that they perform and require that marriages be performed by their ministers as if it were a sacrament. However, many of these Churches use wedding ceremonies as a revenue generator for the Church and even rent their facilities for other ministers to perform marriages of people outside of the host Church membership. Well, that was fine and dandy up until now, but, unless Churches find a way not to “have it both ways” or, a quasi sacrament, whereas saying is not one, which they charge everyone to offer, and even offer it to people whose spiritual life they do not oversee, Churches will be open for all kinds of lawsuits because now we have a different, uncommon before, group of people who feel that, in spite of the fact that they never cared for that church facility in their neighborhood, and even when it is not in their neighborhood, they want to challenge that Church by wanting to have their gay marriage in that specific facility. In my not expert opinion, as it is plain to see, and as I consult friends of mine who are attorneys, it will be hard for that Church ministers to deny their facilities to perform a gay marriage on the basis of religion, since they only have an “expectancy” that the people whose weddings are performed in there are indeed religious people. My discussion here is not whether it is right to sue a Church for that or not, my discussion is that it will be hard for a Church to prove that they are not discriminating!
What then can be done?
Number one, from start, Churches should get out of the business of performing marriages. By that I mean, they should not charge for that which they believe to be a function of the Church. Otherwise they have to deny that such ceremonies are relevant and the function of the Church. They can’t have it both ways. They cannot charge; perhaps a nominal fee is fine for “maintenance” purposes, such as removal of flowers, or things of this nature, or cleaning the “social hall”, if the reception is also carried in its facilities, but charging a fee for the marriage itself, should be a “no, no”.
Then, not only should Churches not use weddings for a revenue generator by charging wedding fees, but also they should perform, or bless marriages of members of their congregations only, or the people whom the Ministers of that Church oversee spiritually. That means that they would not rent their facilities for marriages of people outside those who are under spiritual supervision of the ministers of that Church, whom they know, counsel, pray with, and to whom they offer communion regularly. I know that this will hurt churches financially, but it will hurt even more to have a lawyer in their payroll or to pay expensive legal fees to dispute lawsuits. All that is happening may be a Sovereign act of God in turning Churches more like the Body of Christ, and turn to their main purpose here on earth than to simply “server” the community as a venue for community indiscriminant celebrations.
In fact, Churches who want to avoid lawsuits, as long as it is legal to present issues (which is about to be legally debated in America) to your members, you should have a formal teaching plan where you teach your members about sin, sexuality, marriage, along with all your doctrinal foundations such as justification, the Trinity, etc. That alone will prevent anyone who disagrees with you from even the desire to be in your zip code, let alone get married in your Church!
Lastly, Churches should write all the above in their Constitution and By-Laws and ensure, assure and reassure that such is being followed to the letter!
How can this protect a Church?
Some may ask how these measures will help a Church avoid lawsuits; let me ask them that if you want to fly shirtless in an airplane there will always be a hard nose flight attendant, or steward, whatever they call it nowadays, to tell you that “it is not the company policy that people fly shirtless”. Churches need to know what their policy is. Whether they choose to perform gay marriage or not, they have to enact a policy that is understood by the community so as not to invite anyone even to consider attempting to violate such policy. That, added to the Constitutional provisions will aid a Church to be protected against most of the lawsuits and local ordinances that ultimately violate the Constitution right to assemble, which may be interpreted with “right to associate with likeminded folks”, freedom of speech, or religion and freedom to worship as one desires.
The advantages of a well established policy in their Statutes and By-Laws will be that Churches will get out of the “wedding business”, will be able to bless only the marriages of whom they oversee whereas being kindly and legally able to sustain a claim that any rejection of weddings of the general public within their walls is not discrimination.
The time has come, and again, I think by God’s Sovereign Act of disciplining the Body of Christ, that His Churches function more as the “assembly of those who worship God” and are under the supervision of a duly established Pastor or Bishop (the overseer) and not a community pleasing organization in the sense that, instead of “Christianizing the community, they are allowing the community to worldanize the church.”
Whatever has befallen to some Churches and Ministers in facing lawsuits from gay activists because of denial of facilities and ministerial blessing of a gay wedding (if such lawsuits are still in vogue…) is often the Churche’s fault for not safeguarding the mission that God commanded them to fulfill. Now a couple, from that church or not, can walk up to a minister, “rent” the church facilities for the wedding, either pay the minister of that Church for the wedding or bring their own minister and all is good. How is that not a fertile ground for all kinds of legal problems, including discrimination, if these same Churches deny the same facility and ministerial blessing to anyone? How is that not transforming a religious act, or a quasi sacrament for some, and a real sacrament for others, into a business? Want to keep your wedding revenues coming? If they do, save them because you will have to spend it all in lawyers and lawsuits and it will be your fault; you will lose! Sadly, the only way to avoid discrimination lawsuits is to discriminate by performing ONLY marriages of people within your Ministerial Oversight, or, the members of your congregation who agree to your definition of sin, marriage, sexuality, etc.
Christianity is a faith with no temple made by man’s hands; however this cannot be an excuse to consider a place of worship a “party hall” for the community and not even the “favorite wedding chapel” of the community. Without transforming church buildings in shrines, Churches must understand the difference between an exclusive worship place and the “community center”. This is old fashion but efficacious in swatting away lawsuit bugs. That can be achieved starting by ending the urge to generate revenues by providing a venue for non-member weddings.
“…transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.”
(Former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry)
Well, this guy is a doctor on the subject… So, don’t kill the messenger!
I had said that I was finished with blogging here, but something has struck me and it seems only proper to share. Like most of the moments of understanding that I have, it came accidentally…most likely because when I am not paying attention, I get out of the way of the Spirit and let it do it’s thing. So, a story of my day yesterday…
I went to the local Asian fest with a neighbor and her out of town guest. My neighbor is Samantha, Sam or short, but she used to be something quite different, specifically a male. I have no interest to talk about the morality of the situation except to say that my thoughts and positions on the matter have not changed. That really isn’t the point of the story anyway. Incidentally, the Asian fest was a lot of fun with good company and good conversation.
Once I got home, I began to reflect on the afternoon/evening as is my habit and the words of Jeremiah 29:13 came to mind. (As a side note, this is why a study of scripture is important. The more of the word of God that you are familiar, the more chances the Spirit has to teach you). I know the context of the story, but also the spirit of it. The spirit of the story is fairly simple. If you seek God, He will ensure that you find him. I attempt to do this in my life and often fail, but yesterday I did not.
While contemplating the day, I found my mind drifting to thoughts of transformation and my struggles with it. Not the concept of transformation or the lip service that many of us pay to it, but real and genuine transformation. The type of transformation that makes something new. Something different. A new identity and a new outlook and goal. I realized that while transformation is the goal, I can not see it. When I look in the mirror, the first thing that I see is the same violent and drug addicted kid. The oldest sins committed in the newest ways. The wreckage of a life that caused so much harm. I can talk about transformation and being a new creation, but really, I don’t see it. Not in myself. I trust that God is completing the good work He began in me (when I get out of the way and let Him any way), but I can not see the transformation. Then there is Sam…
Samantha understands transformation far better than i do. She is legitimately a new creation in the eyes of this world. She is something different than she was. When Samantha looks in the mirror, she does not see what was, she sees what is. She sees who she has become, not who she had been. Got to admit, I am somewhat jealous of that. I desperately wish that I could see that in myself. I have got a handle on Jesus, but understanding transformation eludes me. Sam has a handle on transformation, but having a handle on Jesus eludes her.
So, what is the point? It’s simple really…see, I found a glimpse of God in a heathen transsexual who has a better grasp on the transformation that is a bedrock of Christian faith. I found that because I genuinely try to seek God so that I may find him. I fail at that a lot, but sometimes I manage. If all of us are trying to seek God, I think we would be amazed where He would reveal Himself. If you doubt me, ask Balaam how he encountered God, (Numbers 22:28) I imagine he was rather surprised as well. There is more to this realization on my part though…
I am seeking God and have a handle on Jesus but I am bogged down in the struggle of transformation, not because God is struggling, but because I can not see it or recognize in myself. I have to believe that there are many others struggling with the same thing (that belief helps, as no one desires to struggle alone). If that belief is true is it any wonder that our churches struggle as well? If we can not recognize and allow our personal transformation toward the likeness of Christ, then our churches will suffer in realizing their continual transformation closer to the perfect bride of Christ. Sam understands transformation, but she has no idea who she is seeking. Is it any wonder she can not find Him? I do believe that this is also a struggle of many in the church. We all claim to be seeking God, but do we honestly do it with all our being? If not, can we really expect to find Him?
I don’t agree with Sam’s choice. What I know is that Sam’s choice did lead to transformation, so that means that she already understand the hardest part of the faith to me. There is a lesson there for me about transformation. I have a good grasp on Jesus. If I can somehow manage to convey that grasp of the risen Lord to Sam, she begin to seek God as well and begin the path toward becoming more and more like Jesus. If you didn’t know better it sounds like a bad and offensive joke: “A heathen transsexual and a Christian go to the local carnival…” instead it was an amazing lesson about faith. Let’s seek God with all our being so that we may find Him wherever and in whomever He chooses to reveal himself. Let’s recognize transformation in ourselves so that in doing so we can be a catalyst for transformation in our churches and beyond. Let’s learn a lesson from Sam…let’s seek and be genuinely transformed into something so new and so different that the world we are in would not recognize it.