On my way to a CTFWS continuing education class, being hosted by my home congregation in Seattle, I heard the news that the SCOTUS had struck down the DOMA. I was not at all surprised by this action of the highest court in the land. The homosexual lobby has been feverishly working to have the DOMA weakened or outright stricken and they won. Nonetheless I wasn’t happy at hearing about this change and I am still not happy and have some thoughts about it.
While thinking about this new “liberation” and establishment of so-called “marriage equality,” I shifted gears in my mind and began thinking about John 15:19 and Romans 12:2. The teaching found in these verses is that we in the Church are in the world, but not part of it. I meditated on the idea of being in the world.
For some, being in the world means bringing the world into the Church. After all, it is argued, if we are going to engage the world we have to do so in a setting familiar to them. I think such is just nonsense and the whole so-called “gay marriage” issue is a good example showing why. No matter what the Church says about “gay marriage” those in favor of it just wasn’t hearing the Church and neither did they care to listen. Those in favor of so-called “marriage equality” for homosexuals want to win their fight. They don’t want to be part of the culture we work in, but they want to change it and shape it into an image suitable for them. Those fighting for “gay marriage” want to change the world and make no mistake about it, they want to change you.
All of us engage the world across several vocations on a daily basis. Indeed, it is absolutely insane to think that we are not a part of the culture we live in. I mean, it is possible to be a monk, but how many of us have removed ourselves from the world to such a great extent? The point being is that each of us have to rub shoulders with pagans daily and we give it no thought at all. The grocery store checkout clerk could be a pagan for all I know. The guy who changes my oil might not be a Christian. The fellow cutting my hair is certainly not a Lutheran, and so on and so forth. I can’t work in my many vocations without doing so amongst the denizens of the world and I doubt you could do so, too. In fact, no matter how much I might want to be left alone, I have to engage someone who is not like me just to get the most rudimentary stuff done, such as paying bills and taking care of my family. This is just so terribly obvious it is painful to write. Yet, some amongst us think we have to spend millions of dollars per year to learn how to engage our culture. These same people tell us we have to have a great Church makeover, or the Church is going to die.
So DOMA is struck down and Church leaders around the country begin the hand wringing. “How are we going to engage the conversation?” they frantically ask us. The answer is that we have been “engaging the conversation” through our vocations and have always been part of it. Why should we be surprised that some of our conversation partners in paganism don’t like what we have to say? When Jesus engaged His conversation partners, some of them plotted on how to best get rid of Him. Eventually their conversation turned into a horrific action of murder as they had Him, an innocent man, put to death on the cross. Jesus tells us that just as they hated Him, so they will hate us for His name’s sake. We’re in the world and involved with it, but we aren’t the world. We’re not even part of it and the pagans know this. We have drawn the pagans into conversation and they don’t like what we are saying about homosexuality and marriage. As far as they’re concerned the Church is on Mars and if you listen to them long enough you will find that they would rather we actually lived on Mars than here on Earth.
It is time for the Church to be the voice crying in the wilderness just as John the Baptizer called upon Israel to repent for the Messiah was coming. We must plainly speak the truth in love. By that I don’t mean we come off as “spiritual therapists” offering carrots and sticks to make people feel better about themselves. Now is the time to stand firm and confess the faith given to us by Jesus Christ. We must obey God rather than men. It is time to let the chips fall as they may. It is time to confess that no matter what the SCOTUS has done, Holy Matrimony is between a man and a woman. We are in the world to confess Christ; not to make the Church look like the world.
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