I’ve been doing some research on the homosexuality issue lately and I look at the mass of popular culture on one side and the diminishing influence of the church on the other and I wonder what the end game realistically is.
Ultimately, same sex attraction (vs. same sex marriage) is not something we can legislate. And while I understand the tension between “you can’t legislate morality” versus “you can only legislate morality,” we really cannot determine what is in the hearts of people. Which is why the pronouncement in the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, that God would write his commandments on our hearts was such a profound one.
Now I’m not advocating for the legalization of same sex marriages or whatever, I’m just asking the question of what is it we are hoping to change or not change. And where will that take us? How will that affect our ability to witness to an increasingly polarizing and contentious society about our God who has commissioned all of us in the ministry of reconciliation?
Let’s say, we get our way. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. That’s it.
Do we win? Is Christ glorified then?
I find myself always a little dissatisfied when I know that something is protected at the risk of people’s turning away from the greater God. Here’s an example, imagine that I want children from a nearby lower-income neighborhood to come to church, but in order to give them a ride I request waiver forms from parents, and deny those who come without signed waivers to enter into my vehicle. Understandable, right? I’m just protecting myself and the child. But in doing so, I’ve unintentionally kept some kids out…out of the desire to protect myself.
I don’t know if that’s a good example, but let’s say, that because of this policy, the kids who don’t have the waiver or can’t produce one because their parents aren’t home, or they’re in a bit of a difficult situation or whatever, there might be more than a little antipathy for what I’m trying to do in the first place, which is get them to church so I can have the chance to introduce them to a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ.
So in some sense, I protect myself from liability, protect the institution of the church from lawsuits and responsibility, but I lose trust from the neighborhood. I hamstring the possibility of mission with these kids although I very much had the good intention of caring for them.
I wonder if similarly with the legalities we are arguing about marriage have the potential to do the same. Yes, we will protect the institution and we can protect ourselves, but how will we go back and proclaim our love for those outside again? What’s the end game in a process of Christian transformation that is already and not yet? What is the end game where we are called to witness even as we realize that the witness is becoming more complex with every generation because of unintended consequences that came from the best of intentions?