Just because the Supreme Court has spoken…


supreme-court-545534_1280

The country has burst into rhetorical flames after last week’s Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  Some are wringing their hands.  Some are clapping their hands.  And at Seneca Creek, there are opinions from one end of the spectrum to the other.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that in our country, marriage is not simply a religious/faith ceremony. It is also a civil union, with legal, financial, and other implications. The church has historically partnered with the state in this arrangement. The nature of that partnership has now shifted. But we must realize that the church’s beliefs and interests in marriage are different from that of the state. Both the church and the state use the word “marriage.”  But it means different things to each of them.

It’s also helpful to keep in mind…

  • Just because the Supreme Court decides something doesn’t mean it’s consistent with God’s design. (Case in point: Plessy v. Ferguson)
  • Just because someone disagrees with my position doesn’t mean they’re an evil person, or a bigoted person. (click to tweet this)
  • Just because someone wants to live without discrimination and persecution doesn’t mean their choices and beliefs have to match my own.
  • Just because I look to God’s revelation (in the Bible and in Jesus) for my life purpose and plan doesn’t mean everyone else will.
  • Just because I want the Bible to support my position doesn’t mean that it actually does.
  • Just because I know someone’s position on this issue doesn’t mean I know their story.
  • Just because someone has same-sex attraction doesn’t mean they are any less valuable in God’s eyes than anyone else.
  • Just because we’re made in the image of God doesn’t mean that we’re accurately reflecting that image in our sexual lives.

The truth is, Jesus’ kingdom begins and ends with love. Jesus’ followers are commanded to love. It takes courage to love those who disagree with me, and who think poorly of me. Jesus is our model here.

  • May it be said of our church that we welcome everyone to begin and continue their journey of faith.
  • May it be said of our church that you can come as you are…that’s how God meets each of us.
  • May it be said of our church that we live out the command to love God and love our neighbors.
  • May it be said of our church that the HOPE of Christ is offered to everyone.
  • May it be said of our church that we search the Scriptures to understand God’s plans and purposes for our lives.

If you want to hear my most recent sermon on this topic, and why Genesis 1 & 2 are the model for God’s design for marriage, click here.

If you want to read an excellent article on how the church should respond, check out Carey Nieuwhof’s piece here.  (He writes from Canada, which has a decade of experience with this issue already.)  In case you don’t have time to read it, he offers the following five observations:

  1. The church has always been counter-cultural.
  2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values.
  3. We’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time.
  4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance.
  5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship.

Finally, when you’re tempted to blast your ideas on social media, it might be worth pausing and praying about the issue instead.  And pray for those with whom you disagree.  And pray for God to guard your own heart in this matter.  And then remember Jesus’ words:

By this everyone will know you’re my disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:35

Pastor Mark

Posted on July 3, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective. I know members are casting around for direction and leadership, and as always, you have wise words.

    I read the article by Carey Nieuwhof-it was fantastic, and followed some trains of thought I’ve had recently myself, particularly comparing the church of today and the church of the first century, and how our problems and issues pale in comparison.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  2. That is absolutely awesome. Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

  3. Excellent post, now can you just share it on social media for social media! LOL

  4. Thanks for a great post on this sensitive subject. I plan on sharing it with others.

  5. Thanks so much, Mark.

  6. Great post Mark. The Carey Nieuwhof article you referenced is a good read too.

    Niewhof’s point about “judging” – “Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship.” Brings up questions for me though.

    The basic point I gout out of your sermon last year was … homosexuality is not God’s plan for anyone’s life (correct me on that if I’m wrong).

    I know people that would listen to your sermon and, no matter how sensitively you presented it, they would say you were judging them.

    Question: Were you judging them??????

    Put another way…. Does NOT AFFIRMING == JUDGING?

    • Randy,
      Thanks for your reply. I think the term “judge” has become mostly a useless epithet in our culture. There have been far too many judgmental attitudes from both sides without bothering to understand the other person and to understand what God really desires for each person.

      Ironically, the scriptures routinely call on people to make wise decision, and to exercise good judgement. (See 1 Corinthians 5 & 6 for example, and Jesus’ instructions to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.) But we’ve lost most of that ability lately.

      Any type of truth claim has the potential to sound to someone like they’re being judged if they don’t agree with or align with that truth claim. Sometimes the problem lies with the truth-bearer…sometimes it lies with the truth-hearer…sometimes with both. So I suppose someone could listen to that sermon and misunderstand my motives. But hopefully not.

      As for “not affirming” being tantamount to judging, I would suggest that Jesus’ model in John 8 with the woman caught in adultery is a great place to start. He neither affirmed her lifestyle choices, nor did he condemn her. Instead he urged her to live a life that would reflect the image of God and his design for her.

      Hope this helps. Keep wrestling.
      -Pastor Mark

Add your comment or question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: