“I think the church is on the wrong side of the gospel on this, and the wrong side of history. We claim that our purpose is to make disciples of Jesus Christ and therefore to transform the world. I’m saying, `Transform the world’? By excluding a whole group of people? Who are we kidding? That’s just myopic, blindness.” – Reverend William McElvaney
Once I was in a co-op of families that had been together for several years. Some big things happened and families began to quit, one after another. One of the women in charge said, “You can’t stop an avalanche.” It was true. No matter what the leadership tried — and they did try — the group was done. I admired her wisdom in stating that one thing: The co-op was done.
I’ve thought of this many times throughout this LGBTQ debate. Times are moving. No one is going back on this. Marriage equality will happen despite whatever roadblocks people fling in the way. No kidding — it’s going to happen.
So here’s the question. How do you want to go into this? Because you can go in kicking and screaming, fighting every step, and making everyone hate you, and your church, and your God. All “In the name of Jesus.”
Or, we can go with it. With joy. Maybe even humbly enough to see that God, perhaps, is doing something we may not have anticipated.
Perhaps this is a time like when slavery ended, biracial marriage was accepted, and women gained status. Maybe it’s a time like when we finally believed the earth was not the center of the universe. All things that most of the church fought against, quoting scripture with Bible in hand. If this is a time like that, do we really want to be fighting it? Be fighting something God may be doing?
God has not changed the orientation of those who have prayed for it. If he’s not changing it, why are we so concerned about it? Are we really doing what he wants us to do?
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is of Gamaliel, when the apostles teach about Jesus in the temple, and the authorities pull them in to question them — and to tell them to stop preaching. They say, “No, we can’t. We have to do what God told us to do.” The authorities want to punish them, lock them up. But Gamaliel, and learned religious leader, take the other leaders and says, basically, uprisings have come and gone. Leaders rise, are killed and their people scatter. There is nothing to worry about. “So my advice is,” Gamaliel says,” leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
When has “stamping out the uprisings” ever worked throughout history? Witch trials? Slavery? Prohibition? Of course there were Christians on both sides of these issues, both sides doing what they believed to be right. But the side helping these “uprisings” fought on the side of truth, love, acceptance, freedom and justice. Those fighting against were fighting an avalanche. And you can’t stop an avalanche. To try only leaves you in rubble.
I implore those Christians who are bent out of shape about the LGBTQ presence, about marriage equality, let it go. Stop harassing people to enforce what you are sure is God’s will when that is not our job. (We’re to love and to be salt and light, remember?)
If this is not of God, it will fall. We don’t need to worry about it. But if it is of God, then the church is making a horrible mistake, and devastating people and lives in the process. Far, far be it from anyone to do that, especially in the name of Jesus.