Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The G-word

And the L-word.  And B-word.  And the T-word.

I think it's odd the LGBT culture incites such explosions within the Church, that homosexuality and everything else we associate with it is one of the leading hot topics in Christianity.  To be honest, I'm actually blown away by the number of things that we could substitute for that cleanly that would not affect the point of what I'm about to say.

The topic of homosexuality reportedly only crossed Jesus' lips a debatable one or two times.  Now, I know this is the start of an argument with which you're probably familiar, but I'm not going down that road.  What I mean to say is this:

I'm not saying Jesus does or doesn't approve of LGBT people.  I'm saying that Jesus had other things He wanted us to deal with before we ever began that debate.

When you think about how many times Jesus mentions orphans or children, how many times He mentions feeding the hungry, how many times He mentions caring for widows and the elderly, how many times He mentions lust, how many times He mentions selflessness... Suddenly, we realize that there is an entirely different picture in play.

Have you ever noticed how our favorite pass times involve pointing out what we deem to be flaws in others?  It's a lot easier than turning inward and working on ourselves.  In fact, in my own way, I'm doing it right now.  We love to say our piece.  We hate it when that piece is aimed at us.  But that doesn't mean it's right.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 : Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now, imagine this:
Picture a Church where each member of the body delved into the scriptures, focusing solely on the message G-d had for him or her that day, and, rather than going and talking about the amazing "word G-d had given" that day, put it into practice and let the word speak for itself.  Can you imagine how this Church would change the world?  Can you imagine how the Church would unite?

I think we're missing a critical part of G-d by being so focused on slashing fallacies out of our brothers and sisters.  Very few are called to be surgeons, and those who are never approach a person with a sword to do their work.  The rest of us are called to wait anxiously in the waiting room, praying and pacing, hoping and supporting each other in body, the patient in spirit.  Before we open our mouths, perhaps we should ask ourselves: What role have I been called to play?  What role am I trying to play with my words?

I see no record of Christ calling us to focus more on what other people are doing wrong than what we are doing wrong.  We're called to be constantly improving ourselves, constantly growing closer to Him, constantly focusing on Him.  If we start nit picking at someone else's life, we divert our attention; we're no longer gazing solely at G-d, we're staring intensely at another person.  How much do we sabotage ourselves in the name of "helping" others?

I would be thrilled if we could set aside this debate in favor of something more productive.  Let's focus on doing the things that Christ made painstakingly clear.  Let's make sure that we ourselves are aligned with Him, before we start trying to mold others into our own images.  Yes, we are called to make disciples, but we are called to make HIS disciples, not our own.  This means that there are going to be times when the people we helped to bring to Christ are going to act in ways that would be different than our inclinations.  We can point this out to them, lovingly, but, in the end, the most we can do for them is point them back to G-d and pray.  The key here is that it all hinges on relationships.  A stranger cannot permeate your  beliefs and opinions, cannot change your actions.  Only a personal, loving relationship can introduce someone to a personal, loving relationship with G-d, which will then induce change.  So, if you truly wanted someone to change and weren't just in it for the sport of bullying people, wouldn't you make a point of seeking out the people with whom you disagreed and attempting to build a relationship with them?  I know Christ did...

Just some thoughts that have been bothering me lately.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. -Matthew 7:3-5

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