Sometimes the most interesting part of the blog isn’t its articles, but its comments. Recently, I have begun following CNN.com’s ‘Belief Blog’. Look up the blog post called “Sexuality and the Bible”. Scroll through some of the comments. There used to be a picture of a Church of the Nazarene sign that had an interesting assortment of comments as well. I am disappointed with the close-minded comments it has received, but not surprised. I wish people would allow for the possibility that she, and the blog have merit.
I think “Sexuality and the Bible” provides a fresh look at what we’ve forgotten in our Protestant-Evangelical society. It challenges our assumptions we hold about what the Bible says about sexuality. She is supporting her claim with evidence; she is getting peer-reviewed; she is therefore credible.
Whether you are reading the CNN Belief Blog or Nazarene Ally, keep an open mind. I may not change your opinion, but at least hear me out. Try to see things from my perspective, as I will try to see things from yours so we can work together. I encourage you to read other people’s comments as well. You may learn from them, agree/disagree with, but we can keep a dialogue going. Please feel very strongly against me on topics, but let’s turn that passion into something productive.
People don’t like change. I am not making any pretenses here. I am challenging a view that has been held for 40 years in the Church of the Nazarene. I am mixing a black and white issue and making shades of gray. People don’t like that. At the end of the day, I want you do some deep introspection and ask yourself: “Why?”. Why do I believe this, this and this… This blog has helped me do just that. And in turn has helped me work through some of the mental challenges I have had with being a Nazarene pastor and being a homosexual pastor.
I hope this will eventually be a place where people can turn to if they facing bullying, or un-acceptance from home, school, friends, or even the Church. I’m not sure what that looks like, but that would be the goal. And I don’t know if my blog is even capable of being that place/voice, or if it is even reaching the people it needs to reach, but I do know this; it is helped me. There is something therapeutic about writing.
Food for Thought
Here’s another story from CNN’s Belief Blog: “Chick-Fil-A Controversy Shines Light on Restaurants Christian DNA” In summation, Chick-Fil-A made headlines when a store in Pennsylvania gave free sandwiches to an “Anti-Same-Sex Marriage” group. Both sides got up in arms about this action. For me personally it is a call reexamine the line between personal conviction and the actions we take because of those. Here are my two cents on the subject.
Chick-Fil-A is a privately owned business. They can give financially to whatever organization of their choosing. It shouldn’t surprise gay rights groups that a company with strong Christian-values would be inclined to donate to like-minded groups. My problem isn’t in whom they give food or money too, it’s that they remind you every five seconds they are a “Christian company.” When you build yourself a glass house, there better not be any stones around. People are looking for anything to bring it all down. I still have a problem with the phrase “Christian Company”. Call me old-fashioned but I think Jesus came saving people not corporations. Technically corporations are legal-people, so does that make Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby or Mardel a legally Christian person? So will we see a Chick-Fil-A in heaven? (I hope so… bit of full disclosure: I love Chic-Fil-A’s food. I could eat it every day (except Sunday)).
I clearly am in the same-sex marriage camp. But there are those who are so surprised that many people aren’t. Some on this side are calling for boycotts of Chick-Fil-A (edit: and even removal from college campuses). The claim is don’t eat there because money paid for the goods will go to supporting anti-gay organizations. Which puts me in a moral dilemma because I love Chick-Fil-A. I don’t know how long I can go without a #3 meal Value-sized with a Sweet Tea. To them I say just find support elsewhere. We are in America after all and both sides have the right to share their opinion. Edit: I’ve heard that Papa John’s is now on a list of gay-boycotts. I think I’d be hard pressed to find many companies whose owner’s values lined up perfectly with mine. Growing up my mom’s friend told her not to buy Proctor & Gamble because they give money directly to the Church of Satan. I think I have a mental barrier between product I use and CEO’s beliefs because of that.
Okay, I know I said two cents, but hear me out. How people react to events like ‘Sandwich-gate’ show the values we wish to express. Both for good and bad, passion for something is the chief motivator for a call to action. But the types of actions we do determine how the opposite side will react. And event like this can be the perfect platform to show a loving and caring response to those on the other side. Folks on my side need to be careful how to response. Too often we’ll just react the same way our opposing side acts. I’m not sure if boycotts are Christ-like, but if we must boycott, let’s do it Christianly; let’s do it peaceably; let’s do it without shouting. Angry response only begets more anger. And if the shouting match continues we all end up looking like that church in Kansas who likes to protest.
This is a typical case study of America. A typical case study of journalism. A typical case study of the Church. Stories like this will pop up every now and then, be all rage, and then drop off the face of world. But if the Church is too involved it ends up being on the culture’s radar for just enough time to do some damage. ‘Sandwich-gate’ is a perfect example of why the Church of the Nazarene needs to be separating herself from the pop-culture-24/7-news-cycle. It keeps the church from taking a side in “Sandwich-gate”, because there are more important Kingdom issues to be paying attention to.
But since we are Nazarenes, we are uniquely called to eat our sandwiches with the poor, the lonely, the disenfranchised, the outcast, the wanderer, the orphans, and the widow, are we not?