Head Colds and Culture Wars
I was going to write this super interesting blog today, but the cold in my head, that moved to my throat, that moved to my chest, has now moved to my eye and it is swollen shut (conjunctivitis). My head, that has felt like exploding, found a release valve and is oozing out my eye. What once seemed clear is discolored and dimmed through a thin layer of mucus. Having only one eye to see through gives a different perspective on life. Things once clear are out of focus and hazy.
The Apostle Paul said "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
It frustrates me to no end the moral clarity with which people declare the great issues of our time. The more I grow in Christ the less certain I am in my dogma. Not that there are no moral certitudes or absolute truths, but rather my inadequacies to apply what is clear in the Scripture to the shifting landscape of cultural evolution.
Living in a secular society the Christian has to balance the truth of Scripture and the tensions that arise when those truths come in conflict with the beliefs of others. It has been my experience that Christians, in general, have been tolerant with those who have different lifestyles and mores. Their tolerance isn't tacit acceptance of the lifestyles but they chose to live in the tension and love others, even though creates confusion.
What happens then when two constitutional rights come into conflict? We are increasingly seeing the freedom of faith challenged by those who believe their freedoms are being discriminated against in the market place. Gays vs Christians. Should a photographer, baker, tent and chair rental company whose owners are religiously opposed to gay marriage, be compelled by the government to render service? Is this the discrimination of one group of people against another group of people? And which is really being discriminated against?
Is commerce blind? If I sell a product or service to one, should it be available to all, no matter what the circumstance? Is there a difference between services that are more personal, i.e, a photographer, verses a store front? And if the business is personal should the person be compelled to participate in an event that is morally offensive to them?
Some people of faith have chosen to close their business instead of capitulating their moral beliefs. Homosexuals see this as a victory, but it's not. They have done nothing for their cause but shown themselves as bullies against small business owners trying to live out their faith.
The Christian is caught between a rock and hard place. Castigated by the left (secular and religious) for being intolerant and bigoted, they either stand for what they believe or surrender to the world. Even if the Christian acts lovingly while standing for truth, they are branded as loveless racist homophobes. *sigh*
The Apostle Peter's admonition is the best,
"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil."
If Christians act in good conscience, stand on truth, express themselves in the love of Christ, give reason for their hope, then let the world bring it on. We may lose earthly rights, worldly power, and fleeting riches, but what we gain is so much more. I'm just saying.