The Gospel and Chick-Fil-A

If you have kept up with the news lately, you may have heard of the recent sticky controversy between Chick-fil-a and same-sex marriage advocates. During this time, many boycotted the company while others munched on chicken as a statement of their support. What was lost amidst the chaos of the controversy was that standing your ground and sticking to your beliefs does not mean standing in opposition against others. In the recently published article by Shane l. Windmeyer, we learn that as Dan Cathy, president and COO of the company, reached out to him, two worlds came together not to “abandon their own, but to expand it.”

I know many of you are reading this with preconceived notions of the famous chicken sandwich and all that comes to mind when spoken of it, but I’m asking that for a moment, you will put all biased opinions aside.

I have never met Dan Cathy and have never heard his theological views. However, I can tell you that his recent actions towards a man no one would have expected him to reach out to, demonstrate his understanding of the gospel and a true desire to live it out. His controversial actions were unexpected, and were very much appreciated by Shane. I think there is a lot to be learned from Mr. Cathy. He sought to understand Shane before attempting to be understood, demonstrating compassion and love. After learning that the company’s actions had impacted many negatively, he offered a sincere apology; not a change of views, but a way of demonstrating deep love for his neighbor. I love that. I love it because this shocking relationship is a reflection of what Christ came to do. He stepped down, humbled himself, and became friends with those who the Pharisees looked down on. He loved on the least lovable, forgave the least forgivable and healed those who were too sick to be healed. He turned everything upside down. Love came down and grace was poured out on the undeserving– us!!

He shared meals with sinners and imputed His righteousness on us. When God looks at us he doesn’t see all our junk! Praise Him for that!! He loves us despite us and saves us by His loving grace and mercy. Shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we demonstrate that grace towards others despite their beliefs? Loving on others does not take our salvation from us any more than hanging around “church goers” add to our salvation. We can get so caught up on what others may think if we hang around someone who has opposing views as us. We are so easy to judge, so easy to look down on others, and so quick to forget that it was our sin that held Christ on the Cross. So quickly do we forget who we are in the gospel story: not the Savior but the one in need of one. When we realize how messed up and horrible we are, we can admire the grace of Christ even more! This admiration produces love for God and in return, love for others. A love for others regardless of how different our views are, the color of our skin, or the money in our wallet. We can begin sharing meals with them, whether chicken or not, and showing them love because God loved them first.

Let the love of Christ rule in your hearts as you extend the grace that was given to you!

 

(Again, find Shane’s article here.)

Coffee Shop Talk: When God is Missing, Video Games, and Chick-fil-A

[box_light]Ed. note: This is B. She’s our weekly Q&A writer and will be answering questions from a female perspective (naturally). You can find her subsection under “Faith.” Do you have a question or comment? Send it to us on FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_light]

[box_light]Double ed. note: Thanks for your patience. We’re on the 2012 Quarterlife Ultimate #RoadTrip12 and we got a little carried away yesterday. Enjoy the Friday version of Coffee Shop Talk![/box_light]

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What do you do when it seems like God is missing?

I wish I had a step by step answer for this question. Honestly, God’s grace saves me every time it seems like He is missing. A lot of times when I feel this way in my life, I tend to shut down. I am thankful I have a group of friends that won’t let me push back and completely give up. They fight for me and give me the kick in the butt I need to fight for myself.

Prayer definitely helps. Most times I can’t say much more than, “God–––I just need to feel you. I need more of You.” I praise Him that He is a God who draws near to us when we draw near to Him. I just need to take a step in His direction and He will come running.

A lot of times, I have to push myself. I force myself to show up at church, to pray, to worship, to read the Word. And those are all great things, but can we all get honest with ourselves for a hot second? We have all most likely gone through seasons when walking away seemed a lot easier and more appealing than fighting for someone who seemed to be missing. BUT God in His goodness and grace promises that NOTHING can take me from His hand. Not even my stubborn, selfish, lazy self. I have to press on and continue to be around people who will keep me accountable; people who genuinely love me and will listen without judgement but will also be the voice of reason I so often need.

Sitting in the silence and just getting desperate for God to move and break through helps. So often we run away. We search through life for a break or just break down. We need to seek the break through. God is waiting and constantly fighting for us. Jesus fights for me everyday. He fought for me all the way to the Cross and didn’t stop there. He fought death and won for me. Am I going to fight for Him?

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Do women really hate that men play video games?

I definitely cannot speak for all women on this because there are some hardcore “gamers” out there that represent for the female race, [Power on girls! *fist pump*] but if we were to generalize, I would have to say that it’s a love/hate relationship. It’s not that we hate that you play video games; we just don’t really want to hear about it.

It’s a lot like how men don’t like sitting around listening to our problems and our friends’ problems and the friends of our friends’ problems and so on. I can’t really say I know a lot of women (I don’t think I could even name three), who genuinely care what level you’re on in Halo or what guy in your Xbox chat time thing was talking trash (clearly, I don’t know the lingo).

It’s one of those things–––go ahead and play. Burn off steam. Have time with the guys. Go nuts. We ask for one simple thing: pause it when we talk to you. We will work on giving you your time and respecting the game, but when we are trying to talk just pause it and acknowledge our presence to indicate that you see us and hear us.

Also: every so often, ask us to play. We will most likely say ‘no’, but once in a blue moon, we will feel adventurous and say ‘yes’. And then ask you to show us how to move the head and body of the little blue guys at the same time while moving forward, while also pressing all the buttons to make the weapons appear and reappear. Seriously. That’s hard stuff right there.

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What’s your opinion on the Chick-fil-A controversy?

To be completely honest, if you were to ask me about 30 minutes ago what this was all about, I would have said “it’s something about chicken sandwiches and gay marriage.” I just finished reading a few articles to try and figure out what all the commotion is about and honestly–––it’s all completely heart breaking to me.

On one side, there is a man who is trying to be a light and a godly leader in this society, living his life based upon biblical truths and on the other side, there are gay men and women who are feeling broken down by both the company and the customers over comments made and implied (whether they happen to work for Chick-fil-A or not). In every article I read, it is clear to see that there are so many little battles that are being brought up in one major argument, even though they all need to be addressed separately.

I am proud of a fellow brother for standing behind the Word of God and living in a way that is honoring to the covenant of marriage and how God has intended it to be. In the process of how this issue has been addressed, though, so many people are being broken down and pushed further from the Truth. The world we live in today will never understand why we can’t just see and edify them in their “love” for each other and the choices they make.

We are living in a time when sin is thrown in the face of Christians and we are expected to accept it. No where does God tell us to accept the sin… but we are to LOVE His people. We need to love them as He loves them. See them as souls to be won for the Kingdom, not homosexuals to be converted. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion by both sides. I can’t really say I have a strong opinion on this alone. I have strong opinions on a lot of the smaller battles trying to be fought, but those are for another time.

All I can say is I have no problem eating an order of waffle fries no matter who serves them to me.

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until our next chat,

B.

[box_success]Send us your questions! You can do so via FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_success]

Chick-fil-A Debate About Economics, Not Gay Marriage

[box_light]Ed. note: Today we have a guest post from Debbie G. McKay. Enjoy the article and let us know your thoughts in the comments.[/box_light]

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After Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy said his company was “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family,” ordering a grilled chicken sandwich has become a political act.

Cathy unintentionally ignited a media firestorm across the country after espousing his Biblical worldview to the Baptist Press.

Media giant CNN was the first to pick up the interview and twist the original transcript to fit their agenda that painted Cathy into a corner as an intolerant, Christian bigot who was hurling anti-homosexual epithets around like waffle fries.

On the heels of CNN, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the rallying cry against Chick-fil-A saying that he intends to block the chain from opening a second location in Chicago. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino also waded into the controversy, issuing a letter deriding Cathy for his recent “prejudiced statements,” and urging the fast food titan to “back out” of Boston.

Menino argued that it would be an insult to gay couples who came to Boston City Hall to get married if there was a Chick-fil-A across the street from that spot.

To Mayor Menino I say this: what’s insulting is your assault on free market capitalism and your emotional manipulation of the people you serve.

Through heated, demonstrative rhetoric that preys on the sensitivities of the people of Boston, Menino, Emanuel, and others who have jumped on the anti-Chick-Fil-a bandwagon have unwittingly fostered the very hate speech that they condemned Cathy for.

And it’s easy. My closest friend of twenty years is a lesbian. A kind, hardworking, introspective thinker who has always been there for me selflessly. A sensitive soul who works in a field that is devoted to helping the most helpless of people. The thought of her being denied any legal right that I am afforded or being looked down upon, shunned, judged, or forced to listen to someone’s anti-homosexual rant makes my stomach do somersaults and offends me to my core. (I can feel the bile now).

But when you take a step back from the heated emotions that surround any argument about gay marriage or traditional values you see the truth: Cathy was merely defending his worldview and exercising his First Amendment right. In fact, he wasn’t even deriding anyone!

The government does not have the power to punish someone for their words. Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois broke it down into simple terms: “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”

The ACLU “strongly supports” same-sex marriage, Schwartz said, but astutely noted that if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage – and that is the core of the issue.

The arrogant, misguided calls of two Mayors and their backers threaten the very framework of our constitution as set down by the Founding Fathers.

If a state starts a precedent of punishing companies for the views of their executives, what’s to say that a company that supports same sex marriage, or a company with an executive that is pro-choice, won’t be added to this exclusionary list?

The Chick-fil-A debate isn’t about gay marriage – not even close. And the longer that politicians and people in power can keep us thinking that it is, the more latitude they have to trample on our First Amendment freedoms.

If we are free only to say that which others want to hear, we are living in servitude.

[box_help]Sound Off: Do you agree with our writer? Will you eat at Chick-fil-A? Are our First Amendment freedoms in jeopardy… or is this just a case of righting inequality? Let us know in the comments.[/box_help]

The Table: Gay Marriage (Adam McGregor)

The Table

This is a huge subject to cover, especially when talking about it through a Christian perspective. Where to start and where to end is very complicated.

First and foremost, as Christians, we cannot approach this subject as if being homosexual, lesbian, etc. is any worse or more unforgivable to God than any other sin. Simply put, sin is sin. Now, sexual sin in general (and in any form–––including pornography, infidelity, and the like), certainly can be seen as one of the most destructive, if not the most destructive of sins compared to some. Nevertheless, sin is sin and we will all be held accountable on the day of Judgement. Only with the blood of Christ covering us shall any human being be given an abundance of grace by receiving eternal life. In our personal lives, we must love everyone deeply as Christ loved, but we cannot agree or support the gay lifestyle. We must love the person and lead them to the Gospel, but we cannot condone the lifestyle.

Personally, I have no idea why the federal government is getting their noses into this topic. President Obama has every right to believe the way he does and I do appreciate him not making it an issue (to the point that he feels there needs to be a constitutional amendment for it). I also appreciate the fact that he is allowing state sovereignty on this issue.

What is sad about this whole issue is that it reveals the moral degradation of our culture. No matter what way the issue falls or how the government (whether federal or state) decides to go with it, it does not really matter on a grand scale. Only through the power of Gospel and working of the Holy Spirit on an individual’s life can someone truly change their lifestyle or change the way one thinks, especially with this issue. Our culture needs Christ, not government making laws.

With that said, some states do allow for civil unions to take place, but even that is not enough. I believe this issue is not about what technical rights someone may have, but this is about a group of people wanting to be accepted into the culture as normal and natural.

Similar to abortion, when an issue is made into law, there typically is a culture shift in opinions on the issue. Since abortion was made legal, it seems, especially over time, more and more people tend to think abortion is simply a necessary (and at times unfortunate) right of women. If gay marriage were to pass, particularly on a federal level, I believe the same type of culture shift would occur. I do not personally support gay marriage, but I could see an argument to be made for allowing civil unions when it comes to benefits and the like. Again, that will never be enough for most–––this argument has been made into an equality argument, as if gay rights are equal to the civil rights movement of the 60s.

As Christians, I do not believe we should support the government in their efforts to change the definition and meaning of marriage, but again, our main focus should not be on specific laws. We should look to challenge the notion out there that homosexuality is equal to race, but we have to do it through the Gospel, or honestly, it does not matter. It is not our opinion that is being espoused, but it is the command and values of our Heavenly Father through the revealing of His truth through Scripture. I do not believe this issue will affect the election very much, seeing as most people who adamantly support gay marriage are typically progressives (and vice versa).

President Obama, in my opinion, is simply using gay marriage as an election tool. I think the most pivotal issues will be about the economy including taxes, gas prices, stimulus packages and the like. The wars we are in and will potentially enter into will also be large I am sure. The big moral issues that will come about will be in regards to social justice with the economy, especially in Christian circles.

The Table: Gay Marriage and the Christian Implication

The Table

Welcome to The Table.

Here’s How It Works: Periodically, we pose a thought or question to our staff of writers, and it’s usually tough. Our writers respond, we publish their thoughts, you decide.

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Today’s Thought: Gay Marriage. What is the Christian’s role in all of this?

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Aliza Rosen

Key Thought: “Why should Christians require non-Christians to adhere to a set of beliefs they don’t believe in?”

Excerpt: “Culturally, we are failing as Christians with reference to exhibiting Christ’s love to all, though. To be effective, we must initially look to the heart and not the action. To soften the heart and teach those who do not believe in Christ about his love is the only true method of conversation regardless of an individual’s choice sins. Christ’s love is attractive, and we shouldn’t make it unattractive by misrepresenting Christ because of our discomfort and prideful agendas. People have been abused, hurt, lost, and turned to negative coping mechanisms, including homosexuality. These people need love, restoration, acceptance and truth to feel vulnerable enough to listen and be heard. Accusation only causes defensiveness, and leaves no room for love.”

Read more from Aliza here.[/box_light]

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Adrian Wilcox

Key Thought: “Many argue that by supporting same sex marriage, Christians are “enabling” the sinful act. I think that supporting or opposing same sex marriage are equally enabling.”

Excerpt: “I think to legislate moral behavior is counter productive, and often leads to more radical resolves. Outlawing alcohol only gave rise to speakeasies and illegal smuggling. By legislating faith and moral conscience, many European countries only succeeded in removing conscious moral resolve from the public square entirely. Instead, as good Christians, we should strive to win the heart and souls of the lost, including our homosexual brothers and sisters, despite the moral confusion of the masses when it comes to the nature and consequences of all sinful acts, not just the ones we choose to hate more than others.”

Read more from Adrian here.[/box_light]

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Austin Gentry

Key Thought: “While I am over my head with this topic, I would infer from Scripture that God will help those overcome the struggle with his power as he/she repents and wants to change into God’s design with a humble heart–––realizing that the condition of sin can take you further than you wanted to go without you knowing it.”

Excerpt: “Homosexuals should never feel that they are too far gone, or that they are naturally out of luck. This is not true, for God can save someone and drastically change a depraved heart of egocentricity into the image of His Son. Likewise, though we are born in sin, God gives us Jesus, as a substitute for our sin, so that the world might have the capacity to choose righteousness in Christ. Christians can do nothing but humbly point others to where they have graciously been guided to the cistern that more than satisfied their parched and empty soul.”

Read more from Austin here.[/box_light]

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Cory Copeland

Key Thought: “The act of marriage was born in the Church, but no longer is that the only place it’s practiced. Since society as a whole sees marriage as the ultimate goal of a relationship, it’s up to us as God-fearing people to assure that we show love and equality to each and every one of God’s creations … ”

Excerpt: “My Christianity and way of life is not threatened by someone who doesn’t practice my same beliefs. So why then would two gay people marrying each other affect anyone else’s marriage? It wouldn’t. Because we Christians are steadfast in our Biblical beliefs, we assume that marriage and its rights should be reserved for those who only fit the Biblical mold of what a marriage should be. But since the separation of Church and State, the Church no longer has a say on what should and should not be allowed in our states. There shouldn’t be a debate as to if homosexuality is a sin or not; the Bible clearly states that it is. But the subject of gay marriage shouldn’t be about religion versus homosexuality, but rather equality versus bigotry.”

Read more from Cory here.[/box_light]

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Matt Wells

Key Thought: “Perhaps the fight for the sanctity of marriage needs to begin with fighting to keep our own marriages sacred.”

Excerpt: “Marriage is holy and sacred, and yet divorce is just as prevalent among the church going as it is within the rest of society.  Christians are equally as guilty of forgetting how holy marriage is. We are just as guilty of treating marriage as expendable. It’s easy to shift the focus onto what we see wrong in others, so as to remove the focus from the issues which are blatantly apparent within our own lives.”

Read more from Matt here.[/box_light]

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Adam McGregor

Key Thought: “Our culture needs Christ, not government making laws.”

Excerpt: “As Christians, I do not believe we should support the government in their efforts to change the definition and meaning of marriage, but again, our main focus should not be on specific laws. We should look to challenge the notion out there that homosexuality is equal to race, but we have to do it through the Gospel, or honestly, it does not matter. It is not our opinion that is being espoused, but it is the command and values of our Heavenly Father through the revealing of His truth through Scripture.”

Read more from Adam here.[/box_light]

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What Are Your Thoughts?

Let us know in the comments below. For now, think about what’s been shared today and formulate your opinions. As Christians, it’s not enough to have opinions about the world–––we have to defend them. If your comments on the website, or Facebook/Twitter are thought-provoking, funny, or good, we’ll include them in a future post.

The Table: Gay Marriage (Matt Wells)

The Table

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 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 7:1-5 (NIV)

“The Sanctity of Marriage”

I hear this term thrown around a lot in light of the debate over Gay Marriage. We are continually reminded that we must fight to protect the sanctity of marriage. Yet, I feel that, as Christians, we need to take a step back from the argument surrounding gay marriage, and really examine what the “sanctity” of marriage means.

Marriage is holy and sacred, and yet divorce is just as prevalent among the church going as it is within the rest of society.  Christians are equally as guilty of forgetting how holy marriage is. We are just as guilty of treating marriage as expendable. It’s easy to shift the focus onto what we see wrong in others, so as to remove the focus from the issues which are blatantly apparent within our own lives.

Perhaps it’s time we begin paying attention to the plank that is protruding from our own eye (instead of nocking people in the head with it), while we make a show of the sawdust in the eyes of others.

Perhaps the fight for the sanctity of marriage needs to begin with fighting to keep our own marriages sacred.

The Table: Gay Marriage (Cory Copeland)

The Table

Much has been said about gay marriage over the past week. Anger, resentment, and foul words have been yelled, typed, tweeted, and felt. And right in the middle of all of it has been we Christians. Because of our deep dedication to the Church and its ways, most of our saints have taken gay marriage as a personal affront to them and their faith. They’re intentions are good—they want to keep this world on the straight and narrow—but the way they handle the situation is something to be questioned.

Most Christians believe that if the United States allows homosexuals to get married, then the very fabric this country was built on will become tarnished and worthless. And while I understand where their line of thinking originates, I can’t help but disagree.

My Christianity and way of life is not threatened by someone who doesn’t practice my same beliefs. So why then would two gay people marrying each other affect anyone else’s marriage? It wouldn’t. Because we Christians are steadfast in our Biblical beliefs, we assume that marriage and its rights should be reserved for those who only fit the Biblical mold of what a marriage should be. But since the separation of Church and State, the Church no longer has a say on what should and should not be allowed in our states. There shouldn’t be a debate as to if homosexuality is a sin or not; the Bible clearly states that it is. But the subject of gay marriage shouldn’t be about religion versus homosexuality, but rather equality versus bigotry.

If the Civil Rights Movement taught us anything, it’s that each and every person who is a citizen of this country is due equal rights. So why shouldn’t the same mindset be acceptable when addressing gay marriage? If someone is a rightful citizen of this country, they should be allowed the same rights as every other citizen; that, of course, should include being able to marry someone of the same sex.

The act of marriage was born in the Church, but no longer is that the only place it’s practiced. Since society as a whole sees marriage as the ultimate goal of a relationship, it’s up to us as God-fearing people to assure that we show love and equality to each and every one of God’s creations—and that includes those who choose the homosexual lifestyle.

Marriage and gay marriage alike should be about equality, not supremacy. And whether we agree with their lifestyle or not, gay people hold the exact same value as we Christians do. It’s not easy to remember, but nothing has ever been truer.

Follow Cory on Twitter here.
Check out Cory’s brand new novel, “These Were the Nights” here.

The Table: Gay Marriage (Austin Gentry)

The Table

The term “gay marriage” is actually a paradoxical one, particularly because the very definition of ‘marriage’ in the first place is ‘a union between one man and one woman’. Therefore, while ‘marriage’ implies ‘one man and one woman’, a gay marriage instead emphasizes the union aspect, except between two members of the same sex.

But no one really cares about definitions as long as it ties into how it is applied in religious and social spheres, and what the following implications of such an establishment would look like. Essentially, the Christian stands counter to what most of the world stands for when it comes down to gay marriage and homosexuality. The Bible is explicitly clear that homosexuality is an abomination in the Lord’s eyes–––however, one must first discern what homosexuality is to begin with. Does ‘homosexuality’ mean same-sex attraction? Does it mean engaging in homosexual immorality? It would seem that heterosexual lust only leads into heterosexual immorality, and indeed, both are considered adultery in the Lord’s eyes because of the depraved condition of the heart to seek a functional savior in something or someone that is ultimately designed to anchor in the deeps of God’s sufficient love. Yet, heterosexual love between one man and one woman is God’s design.

How does one shift his affections from same-sex to heterosexual? While I am over my head with this topic, I would infer from Scripture that God will help those overcome the struggle with his power as he/she repents and wants to change into God’s design with a humble heart–––realizing that the condition of sin can take you further than you wanted to go without you knowing it. It seems that homosexuality is a manifestation of layered problems and sin that accumulates over time.

In fact, we see this same progression of sin in Romans 1, where people continued to rebel against God–––and the end result of their rebellion was a callous heart that then pursued homosexual acts. However, I am not speaking that this progression only ends with homosexuality. The trend of sin’s progressive dominance in our life leads into further callousness–––indeed, sin does not ever promise to go surface deep–––sin takes us deeper than we ever wanted to go, faster and faster into darker and darker waters. This is true with a little pride, a little greed, a little selfishness. Indeed, we are stained from sin’s curse from birth–––it is naturally encoded into our spiritual DNA, therefore, our inclinations and our heart’s pursuits will take many different directions to find meaning and value in anything but God, since we were born with the stain of Adam and Eve’s rebellion. However, every pursuit and inclination of our heart that is not God is held just as guilty as anything else. Thus, it would be foolish for Christians to think that their sin is not as bad or blameworthy as homosexuality. For they have rejected God as well, just in a different way. Therefore, it is imperative that Christians demonstrate the same grace and understanding to those struggling with homosexuality as with anyone else, because they have realized that they too have been rescued from the grace of God, and that it is given freely to those who want it.

Homosexuals should never feel that they are too far gone, or that they are naturally out of luck. This is not true, for God can save someone and drastically change a depraved heart of egocentricity into the image of His Son. Likewise, though we are born in sin, God gives us Jesus, as a substitute for our sin, so that the world might have the capacity to choose righteousness in Christ. Christians can do nothing but humbly point others to where they have graciously been guided to the cistern that more than satisfied their parched and empty soul.

The Table: Gay Marriage (Adrian Wilcox)

The Table

There are few issues that as Christians we will find as challenging as the issue of same sex marriage. And as it is a difficult area to address, it is as difficult to balance with the tenants of our faith. First we must always look at every issue through the filter of God’s Word, and then we must look at it through the filter of the society we are a part of, only to then filter that through the Word yet again. A complex matter without a doubt.

First, lets look at the social filter, ignoring the moral Christian compass, which hopefully would be difficult for us to do. When looking at marriage as a legal issue, the Supreme Court declared rightly that the issue of gay marriage is something that is not a national legal issue, but a State one. Just as traditional marriage has no definition afforded to it in the United States Constitution, nor should “gay” marriage, or any other marriage for that matter. To do so would in fact be a “special” declaration, and unnecessary in a legal context. Our system is designed to be equal, not special, although much of the modern legislation has gone so far as to create whole classes of “special” people. Once the Supreme Court ruled that it was a State issue, the burden of defining “marriage” fell back on the societies in which those definitions, and the associated benefits would be produced. Benefits of the condition of marriage are largely afforded on the State level, not the national one.

Whether the right to be recognized as a “legitimate” couple has its merits or not is beside the point, since in fact marriage is not a “right” in any sense of the word, but the condition of marriage is granted “privileges” by the State. From a legal standpoint, I think it is erroneous for the government to make any distinction between couples who are married, life partners, co-inhabitants, or even those who choose to remain single. By granting special privilege to those who choose to marry, while denying the same privilege to those who do not is by its very nature a legislated discrimination. And with that, by declaring such privileges for same-sex, or even heterosexual couples, we would be granting license to any untold number of other distortions of “marriage” for the sake of public policy and the make believe notion of “equality”.

If a valid argument for the actual losses suffered by any couple over another class of couple on the national stage can be argued, the jurisdiction of that loss is still rightfully with the States. Each state has the right to declare it’s own rules with regards to socially acceptable conduct, and the greater public moral. Just as some States will support gay marriage, some will not. Not unlike some states outlawing liquor, while others do not. At the end of the day, it is the electorate that will decide if they want to live in a community that has decided against their own consciences or not. If someone in California doesn’t like the public position of North Carolina on the issue of gay marriage, then they are under no obligation to move to North Carolina and subject themselves to the law or laws they don’t agree with. If you don’t like opinions of North Carolinians, don’t move there. Pretty simple really.

Now as to the greater issue of the Christian viewpoint on gay marriage. My bible clearly illustrates marriage as a man and a woman (and in some cases many other women). With that said, as Christians we are instructed to love, not hate. There are many “sins” that are decried in the bible, and acts of homosexuality are clearly among them, however we should not forget that so are things like sex before marriage, swearing, and drunkenness, all which many “Christians” choose to participate in despite the Lords commandment against them. If we as Christians are to chastise anyone for their sin, we must first ask who among us is to throw the first stone. Homosexuality is most definitely admonished in the bible, but not nearly as much as lust and premarital sex. So to ask if one who professes to be a Christian is “anti-Christian” because he or she supports the condition of gay marriage is rather blinded to the truth the bible teaches. Does it make one “anti-Christian” to lust after a woman who is married to another man? Does it make one “anti-Christian” to have a little too much to drink and behave badly? Does it make one “anti-Christian” to have a sexual relationship before marriage, regardless of the disposition? Or are they all examples of our fallen nature for which we must diligently pursue the grace offered freely by God? We must adhere to the belief that all men and women are equally loved by God. So in that, we as Christians are to look at others, even those who have chosen or fallen into a disposition we may not agree with, through the eyes of Christ. Did Christ shun the woman at the well? Should we?

Many argue that by supporting same sex marriage, Christians are “enabling” the sinful act. I think that supporting or opposing same sex marriage are equally enabling. I think to legislate moral behavior is counter productive, and often leads to more radical and less desirable resolves. Outlawing alcohol only gave rise to speakeasies and illegal smuggling. By legislating faith and moral conscience, many European countries only succeeded in removing conscious moral resolve from the public square entirely. Legislation of moral behavior in my opinion is an area where Christians should rightfully abstain unless those issues involve the sanctity of life (abortion for example), or direct assaults on religious freedom. By legislating a moral issue at all in this way, we are not drawing same sex couples closer to God, but pushing them further away by fiat, and forced “compliance” to our own moral standard. Jesus didn’t attack the practice of prostitution, but instead made an appeal to the heart of the prostitute. As Christians we should learn from Jesus’ example and understand that the best way to end a societal moral issue is not to legislate against it, but to change the hearts of those who participate in it. When we legislate these types of issues, in large part we simply end up grandstanding on the issue and setting back the causes of moral ground. Legislation should protect us as individuals first and foremost. So the question should be asked of anyone wanting to see a legal addressing of the moral issue, “Are you directly injured by the act you are trying to legislate?” Not society as a whole, or a perceived injury, but you personally being actually injured. If the answer is “yes”, then by all means react and vote as your conscience leads. But if it is “no”, your time will be better spent ministering in love to someone involved in the moral issue you have objection to. We must always point to the “why” in how we view issues of moral concern, and continually point to our own moral shortcomings. If we don’t, we simply look like bullies and hypocrites. As good Christians, we should strive to save the lost, including our homosexual brothers and sisters, despite the moral confusion of the masses when it comes to the nature and consequences of all sinful acts, not just the ones we choose to hate more than others.

As society progresses down a more secular path, undoubtedly Christians are going to see more wedge issues arise. This is a small battle in a much bigger war for the hearts and minds of all of God’s children. We must pick our battles wisely, but when confronted with a choice, we must stand our ground on the principal tenants of our faith, which is to love on another, especially our enemies and those who are lost, but stand firm on our convictions. We must also have Christ-like compassion for our fellow men, and understand that just because we don’t agree with the disposition of some, doesn’t mean that there are not some very real emotional, and psychological issues involved that we should consider before vilifying the ones who disagree with us. To them, their feelings may be very real, and as such must be acknowledged in a Christ-like way. I heard it said once that we should hate the sin, not the sinner. I can recall no issue in my lifetime that it could ring more true than in this one.

The Table: Gay Marriage (Aliza Rosen)

The Table

Christianity is about being Christ-like. Therefore, we look to Jesus to learn how he deals with people and sin.

Collectively, I’ve found Jesus to be quite gentle, loving, forgiving, and honest. He does not compromise his purpose to appease people on earth. On the contrary, he came to earth to appease God and fulfill his ultimate “calling” to save broken, sinful people whom he loves, from their sin. No subject or sin should cause Christians to delineate from this reality. So, the issue of gay marriage, pre-marital sex, adultery, etc. is the same: the aforementioned sins are active lifestyles which oppose God’s perfect design in an ongoing fashion.

However, this is no reason to jump on the offense. Why should Christians require non-Christians to adhere to a set of beliefs they don’t believe in?

Biblically, homosexuality is wrong.

Culturally, we are failing as Christians with reference to exhibiting Christ’s love to all, though. To be effective, we must initially look to the heart and not the action. To soften the heart and teach those who do not believe in Christ about his love is the only true method of conversation regardless of an individual’s choice sins. Christ’s love is attractive, and we shouldn’t make it unattractive by misrepresenting Christ because of our discomfort and prideful agendas. People have been abused, hurt, lost, and turned to negative coping mechanisms, including homosexuality. These people need love, restoration, acceptance and truth to feel vulnerable enough to listen and be heard. Accusation only causes defensiveness, and leaves no room for love.

If we, the church, love on gay individuals and gain credibility in their lives, we will earn the right to speak into their lives in a way that may actually be effective instead of contributing to the blame game. Our goal as the church in reference to evangelism is that we act so irresistibly like Jesus (by loving others) that it would only be logical for non-believers to look further into the Gospel.

Being the church means acting with great courage outside of ourselves to contribute to the good news. Everyone needs a chance to trust Christ because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And for gays. And all of humanity.