I don’t know why, but I read the articles at Christianity Today. It’s helpful to see what the conversation is on that side of the world. Often, they throw out a question to a panel of guests and post their responses. That Christians offer a diverse array of responses isn’t surprising. What stuns me is the fact that the CT folks still feel like these questions are worthy of debates:
The Lord’s Prayer? The one that begins, “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name”? The one that appears in the Bible? We’re debating if that’s Christian?!
How could anyone suggest otherwise?
“You could consider it a prayer for multiple religions, because Jesus is considered to be a rabbi or a great teacher by many of the world’s religions. It was not originally delivered as a Christian prayer; it was simply a teacher teaching his disciples a good way to pray.”
Clayton Schmit, professor, Fuller Theological Seminary
Right… I’m sure Hindus everywhere will begin reciting it immediately.
Then there’s this question:
What?! Let same-sex parents adopt a child?! But if we let that happen, then… then… then the parents will love the child unconditionally just like all other parents.
(For what it’s worth, the issue at hand is whether a Christian adoption agency should be able to discriminate if they get taxpayer money to run their agency.)
But let’s hear how some Christians “hate the sinner and the sin”:
… Christians should not stop their adoption and foster-care programs, but neither should they comply with laws that would force them to place children with same-sex couples. Christians should continue operating their charitable organizations according to their principles, and they should continue serving the least among us until the state coercively shuts them down.They should do this because when Jesus commanded us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and care for the widow and orphan, he meant it. He meant it when he said we should love our neighbor, but he didn’t mean that we love them according to secularist liberal values or the dictates of the state. We should love them as Christ loves them.
— Editor of online publication Public Discourse Ryan T. Anderson
Jesus said love everyone! But those damn liberals think we should love everyone. We know better. Everyone is equal. Some are just more equal than others.
Again, I know there are many Christians who are rolling their eyes as they read those passages, too, but fact remains that these are questions being debated in the Christian community as if there’s a debate to be had.
Why anyone would continue to attend a church where the pastor preaches homophobia, I don’t know. Why anyone would support a church where the pastor just avoids the topic altogether, thus silently supporting bigotry, I don’t know. But the more of them who speak out, the faster the church will weed out the bigots.
Rachel Held Evans is a Christian trying to get the bigots to see the light, by posing the argument in strategic terms:
So my question for those evangelicals leading the charge in the culture wars is this: Is it worth it?
Is a political “victory” really worth losing millions more young people to cynicism regarding the Church?
Is a political “victory” worth further alienating people who identify as LGBT?
Is a political “victory” worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with gays and lesbians?
And is a political “victory” worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks — what if we get this wrong?
Too many Christian leaders seem to think the answer to that question is “yes,” and it’s costing them.
As much as I wish Christians would listen to her, part of me wants them to just stand stubbornly against gay rights and push all those young Christians out of the church. It’d be tough for all those gay Christians, but they’re all better off outside that insidious faith.