One of my campus ministers did something very brave last night. Having come to Tuesday without a topic for his talk, he decided to deliver a talk on the current controversy surrounding Prop 8 and DOMA.
Now, I, at least, was a little nervous when I saw the title slide to his talk. My church, and my college group, is usually very good about recognizing that Christians can have different political viewpoints, and that that’s legitimate. I have an immense amount of respect for my campus minister, but I was a little curious as to how he was going to speak on this without stirring up more controversy.
But his message was not about who was right, and I think he made some points that really need to heard.
One thing he pointed out, which really stuck with me, was that this is not an us-versus-them kind of fight–it’s become an us-versus-us fight. If you’re not a Christian, don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone in the church has the same opinion on this issue. Quite the contrary, just as you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone in the church is in the same political party. And, recently, it’s become pretty visible who’s who on Facebook. My campus minister actually made reference to that fact, about how he’s seen the posts and profile pictures of many of us on his newsfeed.
His point–that we’ve turned this into an us-versus-us battle–is an interesting one. Have you noticed that, in many ways, this fight has become the end-all-be-all label for everyone? If you’re pro-gay marriage, you’re either a superhero or a heretic, depending. If you’re anti-gay marriage, you’re either the perfect Christian or a hateful bigot. And this is among people who are supposed to be in the same family, mind you. People’s whose greatest identity is not supposed to be earthly, but heavenly.
My campus minister’s best point, I believe, was to point out that in this debate, someone is right. Some of my readers may not agree with this one, but if you’re a Christian, there is Truth.
The plain facts are that we are broken people who cannot see the whole truth. In every theological and ideological debate–infant or adult baptism, Calvinism or Arminianism–there is a right answer (even if no one has the whole thing right). But that’s just it. We often don’t have the whole thing right. So to let this drive us apart the way it has is simply ridiculous.
I’m not saying there isn’t real weight in this issue. There is. But we should not be letting it drive a wedge into the church. We are always going to disagree because we’re finite and we’re human, but we have to learn to work together out of love as brothers and sisters in the same family. What’s more important, your political affiliation or your siblings, even if they have different political affiliations? If you said your political affiliation, then I’m very sad for you, my friend.
Now, I’m studying politics, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about this or debate about this or take a stand for what we think is right. Maybe at some point I’ll actually post what I think about this debate. But let’s keep first things first. Let’s love each other like the family we are and reach out to draw other people in, people who are no more and no less broken than we are. Let’s stop treating this as the end-all-be-all. Because besides the Gospel, there’s not much we can claim to be 100% sure about. Just God’s holiness, God’s love, God’s redemption, God’s restoration, and our need for all of it.
Very thoughtful post. You’re right about there being Truth. It’s not subjective, since God is the ultimate Authority, it is quite objective. Communicating this fact with compassion–genuine, Christlike compassion–is the challenge.