Monthly Archives: April 2015

Blindfolded

There’s an editorial in the NYTimes that says Christians are going to have to be made to accept homosexuals.  That’s interesting, isn’t it?the-new-york-times-logo
Without getting into all this suggests about societal coercion or political pressure or freedom of religion… here’s my concern.  Frank Bruni, the author of the editorial, and many conservative Christians wear the same blindfolds.
Consider it this way: There were a group of people who all wore blindfolds.  They were shown to an elephant, blindfolded-1a creature they had never experienced before, and as they laid hands on it, felt it, they each interpreted the part they were touching as the complete creature.  The one holding a leg felt it was a creature that was thick and round like a tree trunk.  The one holding the ear felt it was a creature that was thin, wide and light like an enormous leaf.  You get the picture, right?  They need to take off the blindfold so they can experience the creature.blindfolded-2
So, it appears to me that the blindfold that Bruni and others wear… Attainable Purity.  They wear a blindfold that gives them assurance about being good themselves and that the point of life is to be good.  Some people, and Frank may believe this himself, believe that’s what God wants.  If he doesn’t believe in God then he should at least hit a standard of believing that toleration of everyone is as good as it gets, while the point remains that it is all about being “good.”  Some Christians say it by claiming that Jesus died to make us acceptable to God, as if “cleansing sin” meant making one good or pure.
But, I don’t find that this is what the Bible teaches.  It is what some people (like Pharisees) in the Bible strove to create, be and claim, but it isn’t what the Bible teaches to Christians.  What the Christian is supposed to understand is that Jesus came and brought us to the interpretation we were supposed to have all along.  It wasn’t a “new” idea.  It was God’s idea and, you see, we think that because Jesus is God.  What Jesus came and taught was that we understood the Law wrong.  Not that the Law was wrong but that we didn’t get it.  We still don’t get the point of the Law.  Jesus taught us that it wasn’t about being good at all.
From this the Apostle Paul learned that the finding of perfection from keeping the law is the same as manure.  That should give us a clue.
There was a point to the Law.  It was to keep the people safe from the diseases of those people around them that didn’t have the law.  In other words, it was an expression of love, to keep one well.  If the people are told not to marry Moabites, but then a woman from Moab (Ruth) gets into Jesus’ lineage, then we should realize that the point wasn’t just about intermarriage.  It was about being walked away from God, God’s love and God’s grace by people who don’t know God.  We are supposed to live in the relationship with God that was supposed to be lived in with the same loyalty, courage and commitment as a marriage.  The people of Israel were told not to walk away from God and to avoid things that made that happen… like a million times.
It wasn’t about being “good.”  It was about being well.  It was about staying in relationship with the one who knows us best.  Making “Gay” good is not the point.  It may be the point for American society but it isn’t the point to God.

Blessings,
Geoff

Abnormal Love

Been thinking about Love this week.  I’ve been thinking about all the shouting and screaming going on about hatred, discrimination and retaliation and that’s made me consider Love.

In the midst of all the cannon fodder, the people who are used as target practice by those shouting the battle commands from both sides, we may recognize Love as a casualty, lying there in the field and bleeding seriously. Right now the battle has moved beyond acceptance and rights and into the determination of normal.  And it is not about seeking normal even, really.  It is about accepting one point of view as normal.  It is about making one opinion mean normal.

Deciding what’s normal is different from loving.  When I come to the command of Jesus, “Do not judge,” then I stop and think, Christians were never commanded to decide what is normal.  They were never told to stop people from doing what wasn’t beneficial or from what might master them.  They might warn them or try to talk with them, but they were commanded to love.

There is a united force explaining what normal looks like. It all makes me worry that loving the one who is different doesn’t matter.  I think I was commanded to love the one in front of me, no matter what they brought, who they were or how they acted. suffering2 If they didn’t want love, or walked away from it, or beat me to a pulp and hung me on a cross for it… that was supposed to be okay, if love was expressed.  What was done to me was not going to change the strength, course or truth of love.  In fact the harm done to me might express that love even more.

It seems appropriate this week to look at Love as a new casualty once again, this beaten and brutalized person who never met a homosexual, never spoke with a prostitute, never touched a leper… who only knew human beings.  This one who knew that deciding what was “normal” wasn’t the point.

Blessings,
Geoff