Beyond Holy Week

While I was on my spring blogging break, I checked the feed during Holy Week to discover the internet was in shambles.  

window bride

window bride

Lines were drawn in the sands across America. The days leading up to Easter saw pundits throw off their gloves to strangle each other in hand-to-hand combat. Facebook profiles hemorrhaged red equal signs matched by a flow of crosses. Twitter burned with the carnage of our civil discourse about gay marriage.

People ridiculed the Bible and took cheap shots at my faith. Folks in some religious circles seemed to suggest Christians just sit this one out. Political strategists advocated surrender, declaring the issue a lost cause in a zero-sum game. Do we want to be right or win elections? 

Scant little was said about how we might address the actual issue: Can we as a nation find a way to extend legal protections to long-term, monogamous gay couples while at the same time protect the religious liberty of those whose faith prohibits homosexuality? I could have missed it, but I haven’t heard much from either side about an equal-but-different, civil-union-type solution.

Maybe we don’t want a solution as much as we want a fight and a Supreme Court verdict like Roe v. Wade. Forty years later, we all know how well that settled the abortion debate.

My sweet father-in-law served two terms as a county commissioner. During his first campaign in 2000, we discussed Roe v. Wade. He expressed to me the frustration of pro-life Christians who felt blindsided by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling. “It happened,” he said, “and we did nothing.”

I naively thought this marked his generation’s legacy with silence and inaction. After Holy Week this year, I think I understand a little more of how he feels.

Proponents of gay marriage think they’re right and that this is a question of equality. If you express a different opinion, you’re labeled a bigot. On the other hand, many Christians think gay marriage is a threat to First Amendment freedoms and that this as a question of religious liberty. If our federal government “redefines” marriage to legally include both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, where does that leave the church? Where does that leave religious schools and institutions?

Will there be exceptions? Or will the state cross the line and require all churches to perform same-sex marriages, hire homosexual staff, and censor the first chapter of Romans or face prosecution for discrimination and hate crimes? Think it could never happen? Private sector examples like Hobby Lobby, Sweet Cakes Bakery, and Arlene’s Flowers show how eagerly religious liberty is being challenged. Is this too a zero-sum game?

The tidal wave of little equal signs and crosses on Facebook and the tumult of mainstream media bias during Holy Week chilled the dialogue of regular citizens. This debate has instilled fear in people to voice their convictions.

But bullying the opposition into silence isn’t progress.

rick warren quote

image from Pure Purpose on Facebook

Some of us are straight. Some of us are gay. All of us defy GodWe’re all guilty; that’s why we’re all in need of Christ. No one is in a position to condemn. But what does it say about my faith if I’m scared silent to speak what I believe?

EstherShadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel are in the Bible for a reason. So is the account of Jesus before Pilate. There is Truth that stands alone and isn’t relative to our whims, preferences, culture, courts, or circumstances. 

flag in Reagan National

flag in Reagan National

I disagree with the idea that engaging in the political process and conversation means you’ve traded faith in Christ for faith in government. God has blessed American believers the gifts of freedom of speech and religion, among the many other gifts of our Constitution. We are called to be good stewards of those gifts as much as we are called to be good stewards of all the resources God has given us. Use it or lose it.

No one enjoys being the object of ridicule, spite, and retaliation. We hope bullying doesn’t happen and we answer it with grace as best we can when it does. Christ promised that people would hate Christians the same way they hated Him. In all this, God is sovereign; His plans will be accomplished.

Americans may never unanimously agree on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. But I hold out hope we can find ways to live alongside each other in peace, with respect for our different beliefs, and under the protection of our Constitution. 

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. John 18:36-38 NIV

How are you processing the events of Holy Week?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

8 Comments

Filed under America, faith

8 Responses to Beyond Holy Week

  1. Aimee,

    I love your quote from Rick Warren. Those words are so true. I also like your words at the end of the post, “But I hold out hope we can find ways to live alongside each other in peace, with respect for our different beliefs, and under the protection of our Constitution.”

    I think that those both of these poignant quotes are critical for the team work and respect that we must build for each other in order to be a sustainable and thriving nation.

    Anne

    • Thanks, Anne. I’ve struggled with this, as I imagine most Americans have in the past weeks. If you could see the number of times I rewrote or edited this post, you’d probably laugh! It’s a power drain on WordPress. Social issues like gay marriage and abortion are so difficult and I don’t know if anyone will change their minds. But if we can’t choose either-or, then can we find a way to do both, or at least talk with civility about the possibilities?

  2. Another brilliant piece here Aimee. I absolutely love Rick Warren’s quote- perfect. Your insights and observations of this culture and the mess that it is are sadly accurate, but God’s plan always prevails.

    • Chris, thank you for your kind words. We hold to the Truth that God is sovereign. He knows what He’s doing even if we don’t understand.

  3. Great post :) I have thought many of the same things and have conversations with friends about these issues. God knows what is going on and he has a plan I believe to use it for his glory… God does prevail I agree with Chris. And if we think of it and read our bibles you see it is predicted and we should expect many to fall from God for the world and others to fall into God with full trust. Good job :)

    • Thank you. This was a difficult post for me to write. Not because I don’t know what I think, but because this is such a delicate topic and I don’t want to hurt the people involved. The God of the Bible is holy, just, and loving all at the same time. I hope we can find ways to be that way, too.

      • I agree. I try to avoid topics due to the same fear you have and I value that you are brave enough to post about this :)

        • The fear’s not unfounded. Some bully and try to discredit people and business owners who have a different belief than they do.