Tag: religion

Obergefell v. Hodges

On June 26, 2015, SCOTUS released their finding in Obergefell v. Hodges; their ruling was that Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. This changed precisely 13 of the 50 states; the rest had already legalized it.

It was, without argument, one of the most devastating blows to the Christian community I have ever seen.

Not for that reason, though – not because boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls, but because what little community still identified as Christian turned decidedly against each other in a hateful attack of unbelievable proportions. It stunned me and as I sat reading the responses, I became completely incensed, shaking in disbelief. The anger. The rage. The hatred. You know, just like Jesus was. Oh wait a second…

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus wasn’t some “anything goes, love is love, free hippy, you do you” kind of guy. He wasn’t. He was stern and did not pull punches when it came to Truth. He was clear about the issues. Jesus was not an “any love is good” kind of guy, but He DID talk a lot about loving each other, and doing it well.

People cite the John 8 passage where Jesus says “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” quite often to say that we aren’t called to judge, but that’s not true. We judge daily, and we have to in order to keep ourselves safe. We judge the distance to the car in front of us, the background of a babysitter to ensure our children will be safe, and what time we need to leave to get somewhere on time. The John 8 passage is coming up for me not because of the part where He says not to judge, but in how He speaks to the woman – “Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.””

He doesn’t pull her aside and tell her all the ways that what she’s doing is furthering the downfall of society. He sets her free, with the instruction to sin no more. And somewhere, we stopped letting the response of our Savior be enough. We didn’t want the Savior that Jesus was; we wanted a King, not a Servant. We want a ruler that will tell people they are wrong and punish, not love them and set them free. We wanted royalty, not someone who rode a mule and washed others’ feet and hung out with murderers and thieves and prostitutes. And despite not getting that Savior, we try to make him one, and this war that started yesterday may be the best example of that.

If allowing people that don’t claim Christianity to have secular rights is ruining marriage, why aren’t we fighting the marriage of Atheists? What about any other religion getting married? If we are desperately trying to save marriage, why aren’t we fighting to abolish no-fault divorces? Do we feel that, if given $500 million, Jesus would have spent it fighting gay marriage instead of feeding the poor, rescuing orphans, caring for widows? If you haven’t fought for the abolishment of marriage licenses to Atheists and all other non-Christians (FYI, I don’t support any of that), or fought to abolish divorce, don’t even start with the Chicken Little scenarios of gay marriage. “Pastors will be forced to marry the gays now!” Yeah, just like how a Catholic church is required by law to marry Muslims, right? Let me nope that.

1 Corinthians 5:12 says For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

There is more dysfunction in the church than outside of it, but why worry about that when we can hyperfocus on this one sin and shout at others that they are weak and wrong and hell-bound. Why worry about the fact that I screamed at my kids this morning until I was red in the face; the real threat to family is that guy in the rainbow pants wanting to hospital visitation rights and health insurance.

I am divorced, so let’s not misunderstand me, but the people I saw that were outraged yesterday were nearly all divorced or had children out of wedlock or some other type of scandal in their background; one that I know they wouldn’t want to be mocked and ridiculed for. We don’t see what WE do as contributing to the downfall of society, though, much like how we demand justice for others and beg mercy for ourselves.

If you are truly the devout Christian you claim to be, you wouldn’t see yesterday as a threat to marriage because you would understand the difference between secular and non-secular marriages, and how that since they didn’t order the rewriting of the Bible, they didn’t change your marriage at all. In fact, you’d understand that the government doesn’t have the ability to define non-secular marriage. They can’t threaten Christianity because they don’t control it. If you think the American government can lessen your God, your God isn’t the same one I have, because mine is MUCH bigger than SCOTUS.

The real problem is that we no longer have to worry about Christianity being torn apart from the ones outside wanting to destroy us. We are being destroyed, absolutely. Unfortunately, we are disassembling it from the inside – ourselves. We, and our ability and lack of ability to love and SHOW the Gospel is what’s killing Christianity. Christianity isn’t dying from homicide, but from suicide.

And that’s the very worst part of all of it.

Putting Christ in Christmas

This keeps weighing on me and I finally have to say something. This phrase, the internet memes, the signs, the biting blogs – they make my heart sink, though likely not for the reasons you may think.

I don’t know about you, but Christ IS in our Christmas. He’s also in our Thanksgiving, our Easter, our Sundays, and every other day of the week. He’s in there because we put Him in there. You see, other people can’t put Christ in our Christmas. You can’t put Him in mine and I can’t put Him in yours. And you know how to ensure that He’s NOT in Christmas?

  • By yelling at people who say Happy Holidays (come on, people, it’s a pleasant greeting, accept that someone took time to wish you something nice and move on).
  • By posting nasty, judgmental memes (seriously, do you feel like that shows the love of Christianity?)
  • By acting trite.

If you want to put Christ back in Christmas, thank people for wishing you well. Donate your time to feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. Counsel those struggling with their faith. Bring a hot meal to someone in need. Read your Bible. Observe Advent. Read Matthew (or any of the rest of the Gospel. Or the New Testament. Or the prophesies in the OT.). Pray. Speak your true testimony to someone that needs to hear it. Forgive the people you haven’t forgiven yet. Extend mercy to the person who cut you off by not hanging out the window yelling. Love others that you deem unworthy of love. Call Social Services and ask if you can sponsor a foster family for Christmas. Examine your heart to see where it is hardened.

Notice that none of these things are things that other people need to do. They are all things that start in our home; things that we need to do. No one is taking Christ out of your Christmas without your permission. If your Christmas is too materialistic, it’s no one’s fault but the one that bought into it by getting all the things (us).

Start new traditions. Carry on old ones. Love others. Care for them. Lift them up. Hand out blessing bags. Offer empty space (or even crowded space) in your home to someone in need. Serve a hot meal. Do Random Acts of Kindness. Go caroling. Be patient.

Yelling that Christ isn’t in Christmas doesn’t bring people to Christ, it pushes them away. Don’t complain about the bad, participate in good.

I genuinely think it’s just that simple.