We are a nation who worships controversy and conflict, and I wish that wasn’t the case. More often than not our tendency to categorize people, places, or things as good or evil hinders any sort of meaningful dialogue that could be had. It happens in politics, sports, and religion, which funnily enough are three things that are unwise to bring up in polite conversation, due to the likelihood of offending or angering someone. The most recent debate, Chick-fil-a vs. same-sex marriage is turning out to be more than a passing blurb on the internet, and is instead blossoming into . . . well . . . a situation.
Armies have been assembled on both sides, and lines have been drawn. Evangelicals from all over the country are registering on Facebook, declaring their intent to attend the “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day.” Here in metro Atlanta, the drive thru lines are filling up with cars sporting all manner of ichthus decals and “honk if you love Jesus” bumper stickers, while Midtown and college campuses are grumbling at the anti-homosexual sentiments emanating from Truett Cathy’s minions. But it doesn’t stop there. Elsewhere, Muppets are angry, and the mayors of Boston and Chicago are using the bully-pulpit to dissuade the restaurant from attempting to set-up any locations in their cities, preventing their citizens from enjoying the lightly-breaded goodness. The board is set and the pieces have begun to move. We only have to wait for the game to play out.
“How we, the Church, play this game, directly influences how non-Christians see Jesus . . . “
Most people are going to have some sort of opinion on same-sex marriage. Chances are, yours is going to anger someone else, which is fine. That’s the nature of opinions, especially those regarding politics and religion. My take on the whole thing might be a little more blasé than some, which will probably anger or disappoint a few people who believe Christians should take a more pointed stance. I suppose my opinion can be boiled down to the idea that I would rather err on the side of grace. Whether or not I believe homosexuality is a sin should have no bearing on how I treat that person, because why should I take an aggressive stance against someone else, or a community, simply because they sin differently than I do? Maybe that’s riding the fence. I’d like to think that I’m not a bad Christian because I choose to engage people with the Gospel rather than stones.
This is bigger than a chicken sandwich or a wedding cake with two grooms on top. How we, the Church, play this game, directly influences how non-Christians see Jesus, because if we are the Body of Christ as scripture says we are, our actions represent Christ. That means our actions should be congruent to his ideals. Jesus, who talked with Samaritan women and prostitutes, who dared to look lepers in the eye. It’s the same Jesus who ate with tax collectors and sinners, and who chose to not speak out against the decadent and perverse Roman culture. This is nothing like the Church today. By and large we segregate ourselves from society until we see something so heinous that we have to speak out, even if what is going on has no influence on our lives. We need to decide what is most important: forcing culture to fit within our own understanding of what a Christian nation looks like, or simply loving God, and loving people in their own culture and context.
What are your thoughts? How can the church effectively engage this rapidly changing culture in a way that still effectively communicates the gospel? Also, if you haven’t yet, please like the SemiTheologian Facebook page with the button on the sidebar.