I got a phone call from a friend the other day. “I have decided to perform a same-sex wedding in defiance of the denomination,” she said. I congratulated her for her courage and encouraged her to come out publicly with her decision. “I can’t do that. I will end up with no job, no insurance and no pension. I want you to write about this to encourage others…just please don’t use my name or denomination,” she replied.
I need to first say that I am proud of my friend. She is performing a ceremony that most ministers I know in similar situations would not. I am also disappointed in my friend for not standing publicly with the couple she is marrying.
I believe it is a half step to stand with a couple privately and refuse to do so publicly. There is no doubt that a job, insurance and a pension is nice…but such things are incomparable to the beauty of courageously following Jesus.
The situation that many modern religious people find their selves in echoes of a former time that has so much relevance for today. Jesus encountered a ruler with means…the text calls the ruler rich…but I guess I will let you be the judge of that. Jesus asks the ruler to abandon everything and follow him. The ruler is unable to follow Jesus because he has so much. Our modern religious structures have made it very difficult to follow Jesus…not because we are declining…but because we still have so much.
The infrastructures, buildings, jobs, insurance policies, pensions and on and on have confused us. You see we have arrived at a place where we think that this is why we have been called to this work. We forget that Jesus has called us to follow him and give our lives in courageous acts of service to others. Just like the rich young ruler…our comfort has taken away our ability to actually see.
The call of Jesus is to courage not comfort.
The question for the rich young rulers who lead our churches is stark.
Will you stand with comfort or courage?
Future generations will not hold back judgment for those who do not take courageous stands at this moment in time.
Jesus may forgive you but history will not.