Wednesday, November 03, 2004

This is SO not "building the Kingdom"...

For conservative evangelicals, there is far more at stake in the presidential elections than just gay marriage. "The right to be a Christian in this country is at stake," said Gregory Quinlan at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio on Sunday. (from "Ohio voters set to approve controversial anti-gay marriage measure," Mon Nov 1, 3:00 PM ET [AFP news article quoted on Yahoo! News, Nov. 2, 2004])
No, Mr. Quinlan, I'm sorry. It's not.

However, given the tone of your comment, it does seem that the right to be anything but a Christian is at stake.

Now this may sound strange, coming from a Christian who dreams of being a pastor some day, but I fully support people's right to not be Christian. Part of my own life-story is that I wanted nothing to do with Christians, or Christianity, for 17 of my first 34 years of life. No, I didn't firebomb churches or file lawsuits against prayer in schools. I just didn't want anything to do with Christ or Christianity. Period.

These days, I spend a lot more time with Christ and Christians than I could have ever imagined back then. But I still support the right of individuals to not even like Christians (though I draw the line on acts that are in any way harmful to them). It's hard to remember, but even while Jesus walked the earth he didn't expect everyone to follow him. In fact, he gave some very specific instructions to his followers for the cases where they (and their message) were not welcomed.

I'm going to leave aside the questions of "is 'it' a choice?" and gay marriage, because those are topics for another posting. But I'm much more scared by folks who think that those who disagree with Christianity are a threat to the very existence of Christians. To me, comments like Mr. Quinlan's are inflammatory fear-mongering, and only serve to broaden the rift between Christians and non-Christians (the very rift we are called to bridge in our practice of the Great Commission).

Yes, I know...Jesus did talk about separating the sheep from the goats, and he did talk about judgement that is to come...at the end of the age. But this is also the Son of God who sat (and had table fellowship) with tax collectors, bar owners and prostitutes; Emmanuel ("God with us") who hung out with the very least (and the most undesirable) of us.

I will continue to say this: the treatment of "those-who-have-the-least" by "those who have the most" in this country is as stunning a condemnation of the state of Christianity as any that could be conceived by a non-Christian. No perceived sexual perversion, no so-called assault on family values is as devastating to the cause of Christ as our own failure to love our neighbors as ourselves, and care for them as the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan would do.

As election day draws to a close, I truly believe that the right to be a Christian is not at stake in this election...and that saying so is the spiritual equivalent of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. But I do believe that the practice of following Christ is very much at risk - but mostly from the voices of those who would focus on the splinter in others' eyes, and ignore the log that is lodged deeply in our own.

Have mercy on us, Lord...despite the fact that most of the time, we know exactly what we do.

4 comments:

Drew said...

Wow! Those are some pretty big things to say. However, I must tell you that.....I agree with everything. I am sitting here on the net watching the presidential election results come in and I must say that your post was right on. I am tired of people making it out to be that America is going to become God's chosen nation if we elect Bush and if we elect Kerry then God's judgement will be on us. It's crazy to think that. It's even crazier to make the next logical leap that says that by not voting for Pro-Lifers and Anti-Same Sex marriage candidates, then Christianity as we know it will fall to the wayside and Satan will prevail. What? Are you kidding me? Isn't this the Church that Christ said that the gates of hell will not prevail against?

I don't know, bro, but I think you are on the right track.

Check me out sometime @ http://ravishedbyhim.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

thank you.
renee (iphy)

MommyT said...

Amen!! I am having a really hard time with this election. I am a new and still seeking/skeptical Christian who is also a democrat. I disagree with those who say that you need to be republican to be a "real Christian". What if these moral values are not the only values I am trying to uphold in the election? What about the economy? What about little kids and innocent people being killed in Iraq? What about single moms in THIS country that don't have decent child care? How about decent health care? It's all a moot point now because the president has been chosen, but THESE are the issues average Americans are struggling with. I am sad to say that the "moral issues" of this election are probably what has decided the election. I find it sad that more people didn't vote ALL of their values instead of just a few. I am going to trust God, though, and our country will continue to march on. Hopefully all of those people who voted so emphatically on the "moral issues" will also be PRAYING emphatically for the underprivileged people of this country.

Rick said...

Brother,

Wow. That was great. Thank you. That was really, really good.

peace,
Rick