I have two podcasts / blogs that each come from my perspective of a Christian parent of four boys and are aimed toward other Christ-following, Bible-believing people who have a spare ten minutes in their day to hear what I (and often my dad) have to say.
But lately, judging by many of the comments that I have received, it appears that my audience has expanded to people whom I hadn’t originally intended. It seems like a lot of people who abhor the term “Evangelical”, people who view Christians as judgmental hypocrites, and many individuals who disagree with most everything I have to say… especially when I say I don’t hate them have become part of my audience.
So, this week’s offering is for them. For you. For the “Bizarro-me’s” out there who come at life from the exact opposite perspective that I approach it.
Because I have a burning question that has stumped me for years: If my dad is a Steelers fan and I am a Chiefs fan, can we still love one another as a devoted father and son? Worse yet, what if my son grows up to root for the Chargers? In what ways would these allegiances affect our loving relationships, spanning across three generations?
A silly question, I know.
So, taking it out of football, if my dad were a registered Republican, and out of rebellion I voted Democrat, then out of rebellion from me, my son grew into a staunch Libertarian… could we still love one another?
You see, the real question that has been spinning around my mind and heart over the years is this: at what point can two people disagree about something and then their love for one another turns to hatred?
In other words, would you consider it at least possible for me to disagree with what you stand for, yet still care for you so immensely that it goes beyond your understanding (as a father does his son)?
So, just because I understand the Bible as being very clear that homosexuality is a sin – just like anger, murder, theft, lying, gossiping, gluttony, envy, etc. – and you understand the Bible having a different approach regarding the subject, or even that the Bible is irrelevant, could it be possible that I don’t hate you?
And could you find it in your heart to not hate me?
Likewise, if I hold the conviction that transexualism is an affront to God – a bold “in your face” to the Almighty Creator – where the person transitioning takes his or her own gender, their biological identity, the image that they were created in, and says, “God, you got it wrong… I’m taking charge now.” If I believe this and you believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, why is it that we necessarily must be adversaries?
I can tell you from many a holiday meal that I can sit across the table from a “Common Core Fangirl”, that is my cousin, and lovingly and respectfully share my contrary feelings toward having the federal government choose my children’s educational curriculum. She and I disagree and still love one another.
So why all the fury and vitriol from you?
It seems to me that there’s a line drawn somewhere – and no one has told me where – that delineates between “disagreeing yet loving” and “disagreeing and hating”.
Where’s the line?
I have sat alongside a dear friend of mine for over ten years at church service after church service. Our kids play together like cousins that have been raised together… all this still happens, even after he and his wife divorced when he came out of the closet. He knows how I feel about his love-life. I know he feels I’m wrong. Yet we still remain friends.
He doesn’t hate me, so why do you?
While we’re on the subject of controversial issues, why is it that if I value a medically viable, 24-week premature baby… just like nearly every maternity ward across this country (my sons were born premature, so I got to see first hand how heroic the medical community can be when it comes to preserving the lives of pre-me’s) – then by definition, if I value babies as much as adults, I must hate women? I’m a father of four kids. I have seen more videos of little babies moving around in their “mommy’s tummies” than I can count… even at 22, 23, and 24 weeks. And I can tell you without hesitation that I love and adore any little baby – even if their birth certificates haven’t been signed yet – as much as I love any pregnant woman. I don’t love the baby more, nor do I love the mother more, no matter what either of their life circumstances may be at that moment. Because I have seen so many lives transformed by Biblical truth, even though they began with the roughest of starts, only to develop into inspirational, amazingly wonderful men and women.
I don’t hate women, I love women… even the 24-week old women.
So, why do you hate me?
You see, I’m old enough to remember when L.A. went crazy during the “Rodney King Riots” in 1992. Over six days, violence, looting and lawlessness spread across the City of Angels. I had seen the footage of Rodney getting beat, just like the rest of America, but I couldn’t get myself to hate all police officers. I saw people rioting, robbing and pummeling one another, but I couldn’t get myself to hate the people living in South Central. And I was incredibly moved when I saw the one person who probably did have the right to hate, Rodney King himself, utter the words, “Can we all get along?”
I’m not suggesting that Rodney was ready to go to a Dodger game on L.A.P.D. night, but I am saying that he saw the need to stop the hatred and rage, and he called us all out to getting along with one another.
My bottom line is this: If I can root for a different sports team than someone, vote for a different candidate than someone, appreciate different art and music than someone, and still not hate them, but in fact love them, is it possible that we could disagree on other issues and not hate one another, but in fact love one another? In other words, is it possible that you can appreciate the fact that I hold a different opinion than you do, but I don’t hate you?
And if this is not a possibility, could someone please tell me where this line is drawn? That way it can be documented as such before the line is moved again and again and again.