We’re changing as a culture, that’s for sure. The fruit that’s been ripening on the cultural tree over the last few months looks markedly different from any fruit that same tree has borne during our lifetimes. As a culture-watcher, I have to admit that my head is spinning simply over the rate and speed of change. It’s happened fast.
Over the course of the last few days I’ve been trying to sort things out. For me, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the SCOTUS decision, while significant and important for sure, is not the primary issue. There are some deeper and more foundational shifts that are taking place and even have taken place in the church long before last Friday. I certainly don’t claim to have them all figured out, but I’m at a point where I’m going to “think out loud” and hope that this might make some sense, both to me and to others. Bear with me. . .
As I’ve engaged in and followed so many of the conversations taking place on social media since last Friday, I’ve seen and heard some common response threads and themes among those who confess to follow Jesus Christ. And because I’m a part of the Body of Christ, I think I need to come to terms with the deeper issues that these responses reveal both about me and the larger family of faith. And then, under the guidance of God’s revelation of Himself in the Scriptures, I need to be constantly asking God’s Spirit to answer this plea: “Lord, please help me (us) see your will and get this right.”
Specifically, there are some words that are appearing over and over again in our conversations that, I fear, we’ve allowed to lose their meaning. We’ve redefined these words to the point where they are hardly recognizable in terms of how we should understand and live them. God’s revelation of Himself both in the Incarnate Word (Jesus Christ) and the written Word (the Scriptures) offers us benchmark definitions of each of these words. For those of us who are older (parents, pastors, youth workers, etc.), I don’t think we’ve offered the emerging generations through our words, practices, and deeds an accurate and balanced definition of any of these terms. But I do grieve the loss of an accurate and balanced understanding of each of these words because each of them matters, and the definition we choose to embrace and live will always have individual and corporate consequences.
Think about these words. Go to the Scriptures. . . Genesis to Revelation. . . and look for how they are defined by our Maker. Read and interpret Scripture correctly by allowing the Scripture to interpret itself in light of itself. Ask yourself these questions: Where am I holding and living skewed and imbalanced definitions? What can I do to teach those around me and under my care proper and balanced definitions?
Here are the words. . .
In several of the conversations I’ve had I’ve heard people say things like, “I’ve never really read the Bible” or “I don’t know the Bible that well. . . but I think God _______.” We can’t do that. . . knowingly or unknowingly. So, perhaps the real issue here is that the bride has failed (over time) to really listen to her Groom, and we don’t know Him, His will, or His way very well.
Love does not allow all things. It is a non-negotiable for the followers of Jesus.
Hate is not a synonym for disagreement. It is not a posture option for the followers of Jesus as we engage with those who may disagree with us.
Judgment is something unavoidable. We all make judgments every day. To tell someone to “stop judging” is a judgment in and of itself. Judgment done humbly, gracefully and right is always a part of loving accountability. Judgment done right leads to human flourishing. Love judges for the benefit of the judged. And, of course, God’s eternal judgment is God’s judgment. . . not ours.
Marriage is a creation institution ordained by God as the covenantal, monogamous, lifetime union between one man and one woman.
Perhaps the real issue is that we all must humbly return to our roots to rediscover His will, His way, and the counter-cultural manner in which we are called and expected to live. I include myself. . . first and foremost. . . in that number.