It was quite the week for the LGBT community, and my emotionally charged newsfeed informed me of the reactions from both affirming and extremely unaffirming crowds. One post boasted a gay couple kissing with their marriage license in hand, while the next offered a detailed list of the signs of the end times and reminded us, time and again, that “the King is still on the throne” (because we all wondered if He’d stepped out for a smoke break).
Friends, the King did take a break from the throne at one point, and it was to become a servant. He stepped into human skin and established the kingdom of Heaven through meals in homes, chats by wells, and long journeys with naysayers on dusty paths. At no point did Christ have a full blown meltdown because of public policies, and at no point did He encourage His followers to express “love” for their neighbors via political conquest.
He talked about a mustard seed: the smallest of seeds that sprouts into a giant tree with large branches, where birds of the air can find rest. Christianity was never intended to be a mass movement that mandated a particular flavor of morality on the world around them. Gay people will be together; straight people will continue to have poor marriages; single people will feel the burden of loneliness—everyone longs for a refuge at some point and the laws of the land have no power to heal the soul. I yearn for the Church to assume our role as a refuge for those seeking a safe place to land. Let’s “take a stand for truth” by inviting our neighbors to home-cooked meals that bleed into late night sharing. Our time would be better spent coming alongside people in the midst of their marriages rather than opposing them ’til our voices turn raspy.
If you’re worried about your children growing up in a community where two fathers walk hand in hand with babies in slings, then consider ways to have conversations about marriages and families with your children. Shunning gay couples, hiding them, acting like they’re invisible because they make you uncomfortable will rob you of a relationship with them and ultimately send a message to your children that gay people are the bad ones and straight ones (however dysfunctional their marriages) are good. Wouldn’t we want to send a message that all of us are both fractured by the fall and infinitely loved by God, and that God is pursuing a man who’s married to a man just as much as a man who’s married to a woman? That means we should pursue a relationship with that man rather than searching for ways to make him invisible. Because the hope of Christ is that He regenerates our hearts and rescues us from the sin that entangles all of us. The hope of Christ isn’t that we’ll live in a society where men only hold hands with women and where gay people are denied hospital visitation rights.
When we fuse our faith with our politics, and evangelize the world via our political alliances, we minimize the beauty of a mustard seed movement that serves as a safe place to comfort the hurting. We only inflict more hurt with our unkind words and lose the opportunity to speak into the lives of real people with the hope of Christ. When gay people (or straight people who listen to you rant) hit rough spots in their marriage, will they see you as someone they can come to for solace? Will you have a voice in the lives of these human beings loved by God, or will you have lost it due to your wide sweeping statements about those people taking over the world with their agendas?
I don’t know what God thinks about the relationship between church and state, but I know what He thinks about the relationship between Christians and our neighbors: I believe it would involve a glass of champagne rather than sighs of remorse, regardless of your convictions. American laws will perish; the institute of marriage will pass away. We would be wise to invest our energy in the lives of people who hold eternity within their hearts.