Culture Wars, Homophobic Chickens and a Net Loss of Yards

So as I continue to struggle to find the path of authentic Christianity in today’s culture, my mind often bounces from point to point within postmodernity.  Why are Evangelicals largely in favor of “big military” and even military preemption, but ardently against abortion?  Why are evangelicals largely against wealth redistribution?  If the evangelical church lives in the grace of the new covenant, why are they largely in favor of carte blanche support of Israel?  What percentage of mega church budgets are allocated towards missions relative to facility maintenance and upkeep? Why is there an Evangelical outcry against homosexuality, but hardly anything said on the divorce rates within their own community or children born out of wedlock?  How has the Republican political party actually served the Evangelical community relative to the advancement of Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension? Where is the compassion of Christ within Evangelical politics?

I try to avoid politics in the media these days, but I get enough incidental news to know what the Evangelical community is against.  What I seem to be missing are the talking points on what the Evangelical community politically supports.  And what I wish I saw was an evangelical community offering a better way of life and living through the redemptive atonement of Jesus’s death and resurrection.  Here’s my simple observation.  To the extent that the evangelical community allows others to define the rhetoric within our culture,  that is the extent to which the Evangelical movement will be ineffective.  And in some cases, the Evangelical community loads their own gun and extends it to the secular world for target practice—business end aimed at the targets tattooed on our own Pharisetical foreheads.

So let’s use homophobic chickens as exhibit A.  Was that whole ordeal a “win” relative to the case for Christ?  And if so, how?  I think we can all agree, at the very least, that the entire incident was an opportunity.  But to be honest, I’m failing to see how any yardage was gained.  On the Evangelical side of the fence, there was an unprecedented show of support and solidarity for a chicken sandwich that unapologetically defined marriage per  scripture.  As for the secular side, the rhetoric was often defined with the following logic: “If you don’t agree with us, you’re electing to limit our freedom.  If you elect to limit our freedom, you must hate us; if you hate us, you are homophobic.”  The battlefield was created: sanctity of scripture vs. marital equality.  And everything that followed was about as effective as an internet flame war.

The Evangelical community was given an excellent opportunity to demonstrate truth with grace and love; but such a result is impossible to execute when there is a failure to “listen, listen, love, love.”  So what did we learn?

Mistake #1: We did not listen.

Does the Evangelical community even appreciate the rationale why the gay community is seeking marriage?  Do our claims that gay marriage will “legitimize the sin” or our claims that it will lead to a “slippery slope before men start marrying trees” argument truly advance the cause of Christ?  How can the evangelical community reconcile the following reality:

(a) Issues of inheritance, property deeds and general financial security of those in the homosexual community.  If the greater income earner dies first, the lesser income earner may have some tough challenges ahead, as there is no direct mechanism of property inheritance or property transfer (i.e., dual ownership relative to property deeding).  Does the evangelical community feel comfortable ignoring this reality?

(b) Hospital Visitation.  It is my understanding that laws are such that hospital visitation may be limited or disallowed amongst gay couples.  Does the evangelical community feel comfortable ignoring this reality?

It is my opinion that both of these concerns are exceedingly valid, and that the all-too-common reaction of “enjoy the consequences of your sin” may not be all that beneficial either to the cause of Christ or those to which we ought minister. Bear in mind, even as you consider what I just said, that there are other examples of oft-overlooked civil issues that are beyond the scope of this posting.   So ask yourself, is the evangelical community aware of and appreciative of the civil consequences that are indirectly associated with the intersection between legal and religious marriage?  Have we listened?

Mistake #2: We lost our priorities.

Can someone please explain to me how a “Chic fil A Appreciation Day” advances the cause of Christ?  Rather than reach out to the world that (we claim to profess) needs Christ, we reached out to our own with a national pep-rally, yielding an unprecedented outpouring of homophobic chicken profit.  Loss of yards, folks.  In this case, it’s my opinion that Huckabee played right into a scheme of the Evil One.  Far better would it have been if he have proposed a “Make a Friend, Give a Sandwich” campaign as a means to take command of the rhetoric and express truth, love and grace to the world.  We could have disarmed the world with our love and the message of a better way.  Instead, we armed them with clearly defined battle lines, clear rhetoric, and ownership of some issues that an intellectually honest evangelical cannot easily answer.  So we moved the political agenda at the expense of what?

Mistake #3: We did not love.

We did not listen to the cry of others.  We chose to prioritize our own over the lives of others.  And we chose not to invest in the lives of others.  All that homophobic chicken money…where did it go?  Since the day of our national pep rally, have we spent an ounce of effort to listen, love, and share the truth of Christ with those that we functionally ignore?  Who did we honor?  The Father who sent his Son to die in our stead, or the golden calf of partisanship.

As for myself, I am a sinner who is in grave need of my savior.  I have a visceral understanding that sin separates us from our Father, and that the consequence of sin is suffering.  I also know that Jesus Christ provided me with a better way of life, and to the extent that I die to myself, I can live as an effective tool of the Most High.  And while I do not pretend to be as well versed as I should in areas in which I profess to believe, I can point to scripture where: (a) Jesus defined the boundaries; (b) Jesus commanded the rhetoric; and (c) Jesus fought with love.  So I’m just sitting here wondering if the evangelical community is attempting to do the same.

So what sayeth you?  Did you bunker down with a mega church mentality—which just may serve “gay Starbucks coffee” and has a self-sustaining nature that is only a few assault rifles short of a compound?  Or do you believe there is a better (dare I say more authentic) way to serve God and share the message of Christ?  Who are we listening to?  Who are we prioritizing?  Who are we loving?

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About G Snyder

Child of the most High. Earthly father to two. Professor.
This entry was posted in Church and Culture, Evangelism and Culture, Missional Church, Politics and Culture, Sexuality and Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Culture Wars, Homophobic Chickens and a Net Loss of Yards

  1. Ryan M. Mahoney says:

    Yo G,

    I chuckled when you posted only with your first initial (isome attempt to be more street?). What is interesting is that I remember my few encounters with you at Wheaton in the mid-90s, and I recall a much more fire-breathing conservative, as I was as well. I have not, nor do I think you have, left a generally conservative disposition relative to political culture, but what I find interesting is that we have grown beyond or through our conservative Weltanschauung.

    Let me play devil’s advocate (an actual role played in Medieval ecclesial courts). Should not Christians be against legal abortions? Are utilizing political means inappropriate for preserving life? Should not Christians be against the legal sanctioning of marriage between members of the same sex because of the normalization or institutionalization of that relationship for our posterity (i.e…could we care for civil right you mentioned through others means)? Given the legal/politic character of the present debate, can we avoid our political involvement? Or, are you merely envisioning a “gentler, kinder” type of engagement?

    American Christianity, especially evangelicalism, is such a hybrid form of Christianity. It has bits of Reformed and bits of Anabaptist notions in its theology, assuming a single, evangelical theology can be defined. So, how do we balance on the one hand our Kuyperian/Reformed impulse of Christ over culture and our anabaptist impulse to create our own culture (the new polis) in a move of Christ against culture? Where’s the line?

    • G Snyder says:

      Hey Man,

      I think my original username was ‘gregsnyder’, so I changed it. Didn’t mean for it to be less personal 🙂

      Certainly–listening to Timothy Keller didn’t help my non-two-party political development. But I think what might be greater is my understanding that there’s a direct link between personal negativity and a judgmental spirit. And that’s been a conviction of mine, as I want neither. Further, the deeper my understanding of scripture grows, the more shallow, vapid, and one-note the main stream religious right felt to me. It’s also a matter of personal idolatry; they’ll do the Lord’s will whether He likes it or not. What’s funny to me is that I’ll get people explaining how conservatism is “right”. I’ll then reply with, “yes, I used to think exactly what you’re saying.” But this is lost on them, so I just leave them alone.

      I never suggested that Christians be apathetic on cultural issues; it just seems that the Christian community really struggles with divorcing themselves from their own self will. And this concept, divorcing from self-will, is one that I’m still rather obsessed over. (This is what the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous does really, really well. And it’s what the church is seemingly ignorant of.)

      So of course we ought stand against abortion. And what bugs me is how we’ve allowed the rhetoric to be controlled by the other side; I’ll even tell people that I’m “pro-choice”, followed by the statement, “I think we can all agree rape is bad”. It seems that we are failing to create our own rhetoric and world view; but rather, we react to what is given. And on that–we an never succeed. So when the church stands against abortion, it often fails to take the next step and invest in the lives of others to offer a better way. Our response seems to be, “Abortion is sin, sin is bad, don’t sin.” Yes. I agree. But my recent conviction of Mark 2:17 (“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”) leads me to re-prioritize. And if a Christian believes that they are healthy, then I honestly doubt their salvation. The Armenian will dislike abortion because it is sin, but can also rationalize that the fetus is heaven bound. The Calvinist will dislike abortion because it is sin, but can also rationalize that the fetus’ eternity is already scripted. (While both sides can agree that perhaps the greater issue is the cultural impact that sanctioned mass murder will produce, as opposed to the salvation of the fetal souls?)

      And regarding the gay marriage deal.. My stance on that is simple. Marriage is not my institution to give. I cannot give (redefine or reallocate) what is not mine. So in that, I have discovered that absolute morality actually allows for true compassion–as opposed to relative morality, which ultimately will reduce to a “you vs. me”, and thus will invariably evolve into judgment. However, I had a friend spell it out to me–what (gay) marriage meant to him. The areas of sanctity and sin are not mine to negotiate; but the areas of humanity are open to compassion. (And we both know that liberalism is likely more incompassionate than conservatism, but for various reasons, they own that issue.)

      More and more, what I am coming to see is that it’s all about a personal relationship with God. That’s where it starts, and that’s where it ends. Everything in between ought point in that direction. Who was that traveling revival minister who would go from town to town with chalk? Simply draw a circle on the ground and pray, “Lord, let it begin with me.”

      • I wonder if the line we draw on socio-political engagement should in some way be governed by what a failure to engage might yield. So take the subject of abortion, as an example. Failure to engage means we tacitly condone injustice in the lives of unborn children. In that case, our failure actually causes us to deny part of our own identity, which should entail bringing justice to those that cannot defend themselves.

        As for the case of various marriage protection acts, what would our absence lead to? A further violation of God’s sexual ethic for creation. True. But as per the teachings of the New Testament, both lust and divorce do that as well. And from sociology, we know that the impact of divorce and lust is far greater and more destructive on society as a whole than the impact of homosexual relations. By virtue of raw numbers alone, no one could argue otherwise. So the question is: what happens when we attempt to enforce one aspect of God’s sexual ethics, but fail to enforce the other His other commands related to sexuality? We come across as hypocritical.

        • G Snyder says:

          I knew this was coming, and I left the post purposefully ambiguous on the subject. Never am I advocating that we fail to engage. That would be to succumb to the sin of passivity–which I think plagues men in the church. Kind of like what I expressed to Ryan somewhere on here…I think there is a way to engage these issues, but do so in a loving matter–where we define the rhetoric to re-frame the issue. We both know that an abortion kills a fetus and damages the soul of the mother; to suggest otherwise is an intellectual fallacy.

          So in a sense, I think our whole identity is off. We should have the courage to simply speak God’s truth, but the compassion to know that sin creates hurt. And hurt people hurt people. And they cannot stop the hurt; we cannot stop the hurt. But if we authentically believe what we profess to believe, then we can offer a better solution. We should be the salt and light–the beacons of hope and joy. But somewhere along the line, our self-will defiles all that.

          So again–please note that I never suggested that we just walk away from the marriage issue. Again–marriage isn’t an institution in which I or you give, change, or redefine. It ultimately comes down to an issue of absolute vs. relative morality. And that absolute morality gives us the freedom to love with grace, truth and compassion. It’s not our truth; it’s God’s. And God has never been proven wrong. (And when has man been proven “right”?) So when it comes to the marital equality issue–that’s my stance. The institution of marriage isn’t mine to tinker. However, the laws (as written) are seemingly discriminatory. So if I had a gay friend who was disallowed to visit his dying (insert whatever you want here–husband, wife, partner, etc)–I’d do whatever it took to afford them that opportunity. But all along the way–I’d continue to do my absolute best to listen, love, and offer (what I know to be) a better way to peace, love and joy through Christ. The church really seems to be forgetting this latter point.

          Thus–I’m not sure if we agree on this, in it’s entirely. We do asymmetrically try to “enforce” one definition of “sin” more than another. And this will come off as hypocritical–because it *is* hypocritical. So in that sense, we’ve got some serious soul searching to do… It all boils down to each one of our relationships with God. When we find ourselves policing sin in others, without a doubt we’ll find our own self-will (and self-denial) in the mix. When we get our minds around our own depravity–then our world view will change. And that’s what I’m after. A personal revival, starting from within the church.

          • Ryan and I were talking about this last night, and I think part of the issue comes down to how people envision the interplay between the Christian community and the culture as a whole. I take very seriously the fact that Paul claims to be a “citizen of heaven,” not of this world. For many within the Calvinist-Kuyperian tradition, we see a Christian’s goal as being the reclamation of all “spheres” that belong to God. These “spheres” include: the church, culture, the family, etc… For other Christians that traditionally come from a more Anabaptist perspective, the emphasis is on creating a new “polis” or “city” within the existing culture. So instead of trying to “reclaim” the greater culture for God, a separate culture is crafted in which the values of God are put into practice.

            Although much of my theology tends lean in the direction of the Magisterial Reformation, when it comes to culture and politics, I am more of a blend of Kuyper and the Anabaptists. And in the case of civil, homosexual unions, I don’t see how Evangelicals desire to utilize politicized power to enforce morality advances the Kingdom of God.

    • G Snyder says:

      Crud–forgot to mention this. What I really want to see is the church change it’s focus to begin to invest more into the lives of the individual person. (A spirit of willingness.) Let’s take Birmingham AL, for example. There is a consortium of churches that has stepped forward and has committed to taking in *all* the foster kids in that region. Or what about that Episcopal church that I attended back in college? Those guys had a legitimate ministry that served the homosexual community. I am not suggesting that all have big white teeth and try to make people feel good about themselves; I’m just trying to suggest that the Church with a political agenda without the willingness to get dirty from the consequences of sin is…for lack of a better word… hollow.

      Jesus commanded the rhetoric and had such mastery such that He could flip everything back into a proper perspective. We’re not doing that.

      So we don’t stop standing for truth. But we stand for truth with the compassion of personal investment in others who are suffering. So in short, I believe we can create our own culture which changes the secular world.

  2. Bill says:

    Is this really what passes for cogent thinking? It is so full of carnards, straw men and non sequiturs I would have to spend the rest of the day dissecting it. And I just don’t have time for that. Very disappointing effort.

    • G Snyder says:

      You meant canard?

      I used to attend my church of intellectualism. It didn’t turn out too well, at least in my life. Since then, I’ve discovered more about personal idolatry. I care not about impressing others; I just want my Father to be proud.

      So now, my pursuit is simple. I ask God to direct my thinking, and divorce me from my own self-will, dishonesty (i.e,. denial), selfishness, and self-pity. And though this re-birthed identity in Christ, life has become much more clear. And with greater clarity comes greater disenfranchisement with mainstream mentality.

    • Bill …

      As Greg is a “big boy,” I will let him handle his own defense (if he so chooses). But when I read your comment, I couldn’t help but wonder why you wrote what you did. One does not need to agree with what Greg has written. But to toss out the standard “straw man” objection that many seem to raise when they don’t want to engage and then to simply dismiss the piece as a “very disappointing effort” is less than helpful. We strive for a conversation on this site, regardless of the angle that people are coming from. So in the future, if you take issue with what Greg (or any of us) has written, may I ask you to help us understand why. Thanks, friend.

      • G Snyder says:

        Did I ever tell you that I was in the ‘slow kids’ section of reading as a kid? Chalk it up to my genes.

        I’m happy to claim Matthew 7:1-6 and let my international scholastic work speak for itself.

  3. Carrot says:

    Good article. Especially the “Make a friend, give a sandwich” part.

    • G Snyder says:

      Thanks… It just hurts my heart that we squandered such an opportunity to redefine who we are and what we’re about.

  4. Here are some points from a liberal pro-choice non-Christian.

    On Abortion:
    1. Being pro-choice does NOT mean that I am all for people just willy-nilly having abortions. There are so many factors that go into that very very personal decision, that you cannot paint them all with the same brush. I am all for there being fewer and FEWER abortions. How does that come about? By comprehensive education, access to birth control, and awareness. Also, there are many many medical factors that come into play with terminating a pregnancy. It is not just a black and white issue. The life or health of the mother seems to have no value. All that comes ACROSS, from Pro-life ads, is the life of the fetus. But yet, once born, usually to poorer income mothers, there is no infant care, no day-care, no job training. Nothing. As Sister Joan Chittister was quoted saying: You aren’t pro-life. You’re really just pro-birth.

    On gay marriage:
    When the same arguments against gay marriage were used to prohibit mixed-race couples from marrying, it just doesn’t stand up. Ok. YOU say that the Bible says it’s a sin. For some people, so is drinking, sex before marriage, and a whole slew of other things, that are socially acceptable, and legal. The human species is not endanger of not having enough children. We don’t need to worry about “go forth and multiply”. Not to mention, that something being against your faith is not enough reason to make it illegal. There are many faiths in this country.

    As for Chik-fil-A’s president and the idea of “Free Speech”, for those whose civil rights are being taken away, it is NOT about Free Speech. When said person gives money to organizations that (specifically in Africa) are linked to KILLING homosexuals, that is not ok. I will point you to a well written argument on this: http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=288

    The idea that 1 man + 1 woman is the traditional idea of marriage in the Bible is false. In the old testament there was polygamy all OVER the place. The church didn’t even really get involved in marriages until much later in its history.

    You want to protect the sanctity of marriage? How about making it harder to GET married, and also encouraging counseling,etc. Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh make a mockery of the sanctity of marriage. As do Kim Kardashian and Brittney Spears, and countless others I can name. THAT should be the sin. Not two people who love each other and want the same legal rights as heteroseuxal couples.

    If you are against “Gay Marriage” then don’t marry them in your church. Personally, I’m of the opinion that it should ALL be Civil Unions legally. And that the religious part of it should be kept in the respective houses of worship, whichever they be.

    • G Snyder says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Kendra! You put yourself out there, and I respect that.

      I guess my thoughts on abortion is that it’s a choice that we’ve given ourselves…but it’s a choice that we never should have had in the first place.

      So if a stance is “I don’t like abortions, and I think we should have less of them” … then my question would be, “How much less? 20%? 30%? 50%? 80%? 90%?” Because the statement allows an admission that it’s wrong, but a lack of courage or conviction to stand up for it. If fewer abortions is better, then no abortions is best…by your logic. So let’s just not settle for mediocrity then…

      The liberal perspective will cite education and birth control. (I’m going to lump awareness into education.) But then the question becomes “what type of education?” Back when I lived in Takoma Park, they had 5th graders putting condoms on cucumbers. That’s wrong on so many different levels that I can hardly begin. (1) Talk about unrealistic expectations…author withstanding. (2) There is a progression of comfort and a desensitization to shame that is a precursor to all sin. And what the liberal education agenda attempts to do is: (a) increase comfort with the concept, and (2) make the act shameless. Sorry–that’s just wrong on both accounts. Discomfort, guilt, and shame serve a purpose and are the reflection of an intact conscience. The searing of a social conscience has huge cultural consequences. Further, if you look at even the psychological data, girls that are sexually active prior to marriage (and especially when younger) have a much higher rate of depression, poorer school performance, lower self-esteem, etc.

      The reality is that sex in the wrong situations hurts us. God knows this. He’s suggested that we do otherwise. But we (humans) have a fallen rebellious nature. So we try to reject absolute morality and create our own rules that allow us to do what we want without sinning. This act of relative morality is an act of idolatry which tries to remove the harm in stupid actions. But the reality is–reality is reality. So until there’s any lick of evidence that suggests that sex outside of a marital institution is legitimately good for people, then what are we debating? In essence, it’s the debate of the merits of sin and rebellion. And the reality is that sin and rebellion hurt people. And hurt people hurt people. And our culture tries to redefine sin and rebellion to justify our actions; but it’s of shallow comfort–as the reality is that sin and rebellion hurts people.

      Another issue is this: Life is pretty simple; people complicate it. Stated differently, the evil one is the author of lies, deceit and confusion. So when people feign enlightenment by citing complexity, I often reject such notions. The “termination” (or murder) of a fetus is to quantify a value on life. So if a woman is raped and against the odds actually gets pregnant, let’s right that wrong by killing the fetus? What’s that solving? If a mother can’t afford another baby, shall we simply dispose of it out of convenience? I’ll be honest with you–there are cultures (and there were times) when people such as myself would have been scarified on the alter of eugenics. Every life has value; and the value of life trumps the value of convenience and selfishness.

      Your statements on gay marriage come from a standpoint of relative morality. I don’t say the bible says stuff. I just let the bible say stuff. And much of what the bible speaks is pretty darn tough to swallow sometimes. And I would hope this would be the case, as the author of the bible is infinitely more wise than I. So we can discuss the merits of relative vs absolute morality if you’d like. It’s been my experience relative morality collapses under the weight of itself in no time flat.

      Other arguments simply try to confuse an issue that ‘s spelled out quite clearly. So I just choose not to engage them. (i.e., in the past, people did X, Y, and Z. Other people are hypocritical, so I’m going to reject it all.) The reality is that all lines in life will end at death, and death will lead to judgment. And judgment leads to justice. I’ve done enough in my life, so I’m trying to slow down on the list that I’ve already made for myself.

      I’ve also heard the homophobic chicken / free speech / political activist argument. And I’m just not seeing it, as financial contributions are an action of free speech. And I’ve yet to see a single lick of compelling arguments that the charitable contributions made by CFA are killing people in Africa. Blogs saying that they heard this doesn’t count. But even if it is true–do you really think that any reasonable person would support that? The better action, for you as a humanitarian, would be to educate the CFA people that they’re supporting murder.

      As far as your points on the hypocrisy of marriage. I won’t even argue that. You’re right. Which was a point of my whole post.

      • Carrot says:

        To nutshell both sides of this –

        I don’t think anyone is asking people to give up personal beliefs, but the expectation of secular law to be written in accordance to the spiritual beliefs of only a segment of the population is forcing spiritual doctrine on people who don’t follow that path of spirituality.

        To wit – Congress isn’t banning bacon in deference to our Biblically inclined citizenship (one more rule we apparently don’t enforce).

        To touch on marriage. For fun and games I pulled out my marriage certificate. David Orr’s name is at the top, being the County Clerk for Cook County at the time. He authorized my license number, recorded the application date, the place, the person performing the ceremony (noting that it was a religious ceremony), and his official title. It could have been Grand Pooh-bah of the Dino Lodge for all Mr. Orr would have cared. There’s nothing on here that demands that I be bound to anyone within the confines of a specific faith. My sister’s is almost identical, save for hers reads a civil ceremony. My religion is not recorded. My political party is not recorded. Our race is not recorded. The only indication to gender is bride/groom. Since this license is not a Christian document, I don’t know why Christian laws apply to it. No one is asking for Holy Name Cathedral to open its doors to same sex marriage, it is protected by law to not have any government interference into matters of faith. Having Holy Name Cathedral bar the doors of the Cook County Courthouse, which serves the legal needs of more than just Catholics, is unfair, unjust, and is forcing faith upon those that do not subscribe to it.

        • I LOVE Bacon!!! and I love you too Sister Carrie! 🙂

        • Bob says:

          This is full of ignorant fallacies commonly repeated that I’ve never heard an adequate answer to.

          First, why would you say that laws pertaining to sexual ethics must necessarily be religious? Do you think that bestiality and incest should be legalized? Those are ethical prohibitions and have no necessary connection to religion. You cannot simply assert that ethics you do not agree with are supported by some religion, and therefore they are “religious” in nature. By the same logic, Jeff Dahmer could cite “Thou shalt not murder” as a justification for legalizing murder. See the problem? You’ve got to do better than that.

          Children are the natural result of sex between men and women, and children do best in an environment in which they are raised by the biological parents.

          Newsflash: that is not religion, that is simple biology.

          Here is an excellent argument by Greg Koukl that outlines specific fallacies in the attempt to arbitrarily redefine marriage, and argues why it should not be redefined, without reference to religion:

          http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6553

  5. Ray George says:

    I have to say that the recent posts, by those I would consider to be a part of the evangelical intellectual elite, has been disappointing and disturbing regarding homosexual marriage. For starters, the premise of your arguments has been predicated on this notion that evangelical efforts to thwart homosexual marriage, is homophobic and unloving. To clarify, myself, as well as many of my evangelical contemporaries, do not actually fear homosexuality, or those that practice this debauchery. What we do fear and fight against is the influence that this community has on our culture at large. Thus the more accurate portion of the title of your post “culture wars”. Indeed, I, as well as many of my contemporaries, love the people, not the practice. Your admonishment I feel is ungrounded and riddled with logical fallacy, men marrying trees, evangelical generalization, and the like.

    You have asked a lot of questions in this post, of which there is no time or space to address them all. Let me instead respond by focusing my thoughts on some specific points. First, is this notion that marriage is a right. I know of no law enumerating marriage as a fundamental human right. Subsequently, I can think of no circumstance whereby having governmental support of people who base their fundamental identity in their sexual preference is of benefit to our culture. Marriage licenses, much like drivers licenses, are afforded to those that qualify under some very specific criteria, criteria of which is debated and written into law by elected officials. I can tell you that when I engage in the political process, my goal is not to “win” in relation to the case for Christ. As one who I have profound respect for has stated, we do not have, nor are we called to fight for, a theocracy. What I fight for is a culture, albeit Christian in nature, but a culture none the less. In terms of culture, what are the benefits to society by having governmental entities recognize and support homosexual marriage? I understand your point that a small percentage of our nation is affected by our legal system, but, isn’t there always someone who does not get a “fair deal” regarding our laws. Does this need to allow homosexual couples the same benefits of heterosexual couples outweigh the effects on our culture? Have you actually considered what the unintended consequences are, regarding the legitimization of this union? I would ask you to look at the exponentially degrading culture in California and the ultra-liberal social engineering going on there as a proverbial crystal ball. Does this sound unloving and is it unloving to consider the protection of the many at the expense of the few? I suppose in some circumstances it is, but I don’t buy that argument here.

    As far as our (Christians in general) missing an opportunity. I don’t believe we will ever have what you have called for, which is a strong voice in the debate. I don’t think it is possible for two reasons. One, it does not sell. The 24/7 news cycle is there for one purpose. To make money. Second, Luke 13:23-24 suggests that few will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I am convinced that the majority of those who are outspoken or given the opportunity to be the voice for Christianity are not actually brothers and sisters in Christ. I realize this fails what Paul commands in Rom 10:6 “But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)”, but by pure statistical probability one has to consider it, especially in light of passages like Luke 13.

    I am not suggesting we lay down and let the conversation be controlled by the political establishment without some fight, but the realist in me knows that the best way for me to have any influence on the world is to share the love of Christ with my sphere of influence, which does not include those that I can reach on social media. Everyone has beliefs and those beliefs shape one’s political, cultural, and social opinions. Is it really wrong to want to preserve that?

    • G Snyder says:

      Ray–I really do love your comments. And I think you’ll find that my personality will emerge in time, as much of what I write is often self-amusement more than anything else.

      So you’re exactly right–we don’t fear homosexuality…which is the intended definition of homophobia. However, the definition has been altered to now infer ‘if you don’t agree with the agenda’. (Seriously! Go to wikipedia and check it out!) So my repeated use of the word homophobia is really a mockery of the rhetoric more than anything else. I was amusing myself, and Scott let it slip. Let’s blame him.

      But in the gay community’s defense–which was very painfully spelled out to me by a friend whom I both admire and respect–just a few of the issues (property transfer, hospital visitation, and others) are being denied to them because they don’t fit the legal mold. So for them, it very quickly devolves into an “us vs. them” mentality, because (in essence) it is an “us vs. them” issue relative to some of these basic common sense rights that everyone ought be eligible. (I mean–hospital visitation? Seriously? Even Verizon let’s you define who your “friends & family” are.) And those within the church who make a mockery out of (heterosexual) marriage aren’t helping either.

      So in short–you’re spot on. The authentic Christian is not homophobic. We are not unloving. We do care about the painful trickle down consequences of sin in our culture. However, while the church teaches “love the sinner, hate the sin”, the church is painfully absent with a willingness to act and demonstrate our love of the sinner. (Which, in reality, is all of us–particularly me, chief of sinners. We’re all convicts, some of us are just recognized by our culture as such.)

      I get your ‘marriage isn’t a right’ argument. It looks good on paper. But it will not translate in real life. If you look at the Barna statistics, divorce rates in the church are not significantly different from that of the secular world. So we’ve lost that moral authority entirely. So our only other option is to thump on a bible, which has no (and potentially negative) weight in the secular world. (At least for now, until every knee will bow.) Please note that I am never suggesting that we compromise a biblical mandate–because it’s not ours to compromise. I just want to live my life in such a way that I make God look good. And this is done by loving God with my heart, soul and mind; while loving my neighbor as myself. So wherever that leads me, I want to go.

      So there are options other than compromising scripture in this situation. Should the church support repealing stupid laws that limit or disallow hospital visitation? Or perhaps that of property transfer? I humbly suggest yes. We cannot give what is not ours (i.e., marriage); but we can stand with others in suffering. And through standing, we build relationships, and through relationships evolve opportunities. And if we’re smart enough to die to our own self-will, maybe we can be used as an effective tool by the Most High. And I’m going to be honest–if I have a gay friend call me in distress relative to such a silly law as this (let’s take hospital visitation, for example), I will support him. If that means me running interference, I’ll do it. If I have to sit in with civil disobedience, I’ll get arrested. I do not agree with the decisions that created the situation, but I do agree with helping those where they are, when they are. We all pay stupid tax relative to our own sin, and we ought not discriminate our compassion based on the merit of the sin creating it.

      So I think we are likely in complete agreement. We change the world one sphere at a time. And your citation of Rom 10:6 is particularly germane, as it references Duet 30:11-19. Which is *exactly* what I’m talking about. Moses spells it all out in versus 15-17. God has never been proven wrong. If we do it this way, good things will happen. If we rebel and do it that way, bad things will happen. My love and compassion for you, and my personal testimony of how God has changed my life, compels me to walk with you and show you (what I have found to be) a better way… Conversely, screaming and partisanship does not achieve this result.

  6. rainbowmn says:

    What the heck, guys.
    Are you serious with all this?
    Get real.

    • G Snyder says:

      I know! I was shocked to learn of the potential limitation / disallowing hospital visitation as well! Similarly, the property rights and inheritance issues came as a shock as well.

      Should the church passively and silently stand on such issues surrounding that of suffering?

      I think you may have made my point, so I thank you. Never once did I suggest that biblical principles be compromised. The point was how partisanship pushes those in which we ought minister away, and that the church has lost a vision of ministering to the needs of the individual. And this latter process starts with: (1) Willingness, (2) Listening, (3) Loving, (4) Sharing.

  7. Ideally, no abortions would be best, but in the real world, that doesn’t happen. What does happen, when it is made illegal, is back alley abortions by uncertified practitioners. Is that what you want to happen? Because that is what will happen. Also, again, there are medical reasons at times, to terminate a pregnancy. The fetus is severely deformed, has no heartbeat, brain is outside the body, etc. Also it can be that there are such complications that carrying to term would severely risk the life/health of the mother. Is her life not valid? There are a myriad of reasons that it should stay legal.

    As for education, you are slicing and dicing to extremes. No, I do not think a 5th grader should know how to put on a condom. However, they SHOULD know how their own bodies work. I got my period in 4th grade. Do you not think that as kids grow into adolescents they dont’ freak out about the changes in their bodies?

    And this shame thing…I am noticing you have only mentioned girls and their experience with sex. So sex for boys is not shameful? Umm…who do you think the girls would be having sex with? HINT: Unless they are lesbians, it’s BOYS.

    As for gay marriage. There is a legal precedent. These truth to be self-evident: All men are created equal…not to mention the Pursuit of Happiness. There is nothing in there stating that homosexual people should be separate from this.

    And as for what anti-gay charities Dan Cathy or Chick-Fil-A have given to – Here is a quote from the Huffington Post. Here are five reasons why Chick-fil-A isn’t what you think:

    “1) Chick-fil-A has donated at least $5 million to organizations (including a certified hate group) that, among other things, depict gay people as pedophiles, want to make “gay behavior” illegal, and even say gay people should be “exported” out of America.

    Even if you oppose same-sex marriage, do you really want to support a company that advocates putting gay people in jail, or “exporting” them, just because they’re gay?”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/chick-fil-a-anti-gay-group-donations-_n_1644609.html

    So tell me please, how does that explain Christ’s directions to love your neighbor?

    • G Snyder says:

      You’re back, Kendra!

      Yeah–I’m still not buying your logic. At all. As I think I may have said before–life is simple; people complicate it. If the argument for legalized abortions is to reduce black-market abortions, then why can’t we just extend your logic to other areas of life and living? We all know that sexual slavery exists–and these sex slaves will be particularly abused when they are underground. So let’s do a favor to the sex-slaves by legitimizing the practice. We’re also protecting the men who use these women for their service by controlling and regulating the health of the women. So while no sex slaves would be best, we have to tolerate it because we can’t stop it in all cases.

      The logic is relativistic, and it just will not work out.

      Regarding your medical reasons–again, I question the logic. A life has value, and a life is a life is a life. So the relativist perspective places a qualified value on life–this life is worth more than that one. Reminds me of when slaves were worth 3/5’s of a person. Moreover, I know a girl who’s heart was formed outside of her chest. She was not aborted, and she’s now a healthy normal child. And if I can remind you, BY YOUR RELATIVISTIC STANDARDS, I WOULD HAVE BEEN SACRIFICED IN THE NAME OF EUGENICS IN MANY A CULTURE DURING MANY A TIME PERIOD. And yet, my life seems to have value to our Creator, and at least to some people. So if you feel comfortable playing the role of a god and assigning the relative value to a life, be my guest. Those are huge shoes to fill.

      What stands out to me is that you’re trying to complicate a simple issue. Is it a life or isn’t it? Does life have value? Are you qualified to be the judge on the value of life? And even in these extreme, mostly fictional, cases–is it justification to open the floodgates to millions of deaths a year. What I hear you saying is that the lives of millions of babies are worth less than the life of a handful of mothers. Again–the slave/fetus is only worth 3/5 of a person.

      Relative morality just does not work. It will collapse under its own weight.

      But I appreciate you taking time to talk to us. And if things are clear to you–then so be it. But it seems that as your story has shifted over the past few posts, things may be less than clear. And I’ll just opine, again, that the author of confusion is the evil one. And the author of Truth is our loving Creator. And that there is, indeed, a better way. And for me, that way was divorcing myself from my own self will. The less I take ownership in my own life, the greater God can use me as an effective tool for His service. And in this same process, the greater clarity and peace I have on issues such as these.

      Secondly–you seem to be backing off from your “comprehensive education & birth control” stance, saying that it’s really more about responsible personal medical knowledge of the body. And that’s great–we agree.

      Regarding shame–you read into that. Sex, in the wrong confines, hurts everyone. It will take on different forms in different genders at different times–but the cost of the soul will still occur. I simply used girls as an example, because I am a father of two daughters and my college students are primarily women–so this is the population that I deal with the most. But make no mistake about it–the exploitation of sexuality in our culture is just as damaging to boys as it is to girls.

      I don’t think I can beat the gay marriage horse any more than I have. There are civil rights that gays don’t have, and I have come out publicly saying that I don’t agree with it. I also know that marriage, which is a religious covenant long predating our republic, is not mine in which to tinker.

      The Huffington Post has certified a hate group? That doesn’t sound a little biased, does it? Is there a sanctioning body somewhere that I need to know about? What are the criteria of hate that makes it necessary and sufficient to call such a group a hate group. I’m a university professor who teaches science and research. Such arguments to me are trivial; just because a blog says it doesn’t mean it’s true. Have you ever been to a WinShape camp? Do you really think that the publication “The Advocate” is a refereed and peer-reviewed source? Exodus International is a hate group? The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is anti-gay? Do you even know what you’re talking about? Have you ever attended any of these functions? Please read my post that defines how “hate” and “homophobia” is defined. Just as they don’t call “Pro-Choice” “Pro-Abortion”, advocates of a point are defining the rhetoric to create the story. The bolsheviks did the same thing. I believe you to be smarter than this, and I charge you to make up your own mind after you do your own due diligence, as opposed to reading a biased post that is citing biased sourced which defines things by their own definitions.

  8. Bob says:

    “Why are evangelicals largely against wealth redistribution?”

    So according to you, Biblical charity involves stealing from someone else, and giving it to big government.

    Seems you have a few hidden assumptions there that not everyone would agree with. Care to flesh that out? Perhaps you just repeated what you’ve read on HuffPo and haven’t really thought about it much?

    • G Snyder says:

      Thanks for your comments, Bob. I think you’re making my point, exactly.

      Who’s money is it? Yours or God’s? I’ll let you answer that question rhetorically.

      These are some of life’s tough realities that challenge our faith and our ability to check our self-will at the door. I don’t expect much of the world to get this, because much of the world hasn’t experienced what God has allowed in my life–which I now know was a blessing. If you are a slave to your own self-will, it’s your money; if it’s your money, then you’ll despise the idea of wealth redistribution. (Not all that dissimilar to a toddler throwing a tantrum when an adult takes a lolipop away.) But if you have freedom from your own self-will, you’ll view it as God’s money. And when it’s not our own in the first place, then it will matters to us little. I never suggested that the practice seemed “right” or “fair”, but for that of the authentic Christian who keeps his eyes set on the eternal, obam-economics simply does not matter. Possessions in this life simply do not matter, and they distract us from issues of eternal consequence.

      I’ll let you worry about $3,000 a year (or whatever your number may be). I’ll set my mind on other things.

      “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
      ~Jim Elliot

      Matthew 9:35-38
      35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

  9. Jennifer says:

    I started reading this blog because I thought it was focused on problems within the evangelical church (with a particular emphasis on Harvest Bible Chapel). I found good information here that was truthful and fair. I am confused by this post- has this become a poilitcal forum?

    I don’t agree with everything that the Republican party promotes, but I will say a few things about the same-sex marriage debate. I work in an ultra liberal environment that has many gay people (by the way, they prefer to be called gay, not homosexual). I love these gay men and I have even gotten to share the gospel with a few of them. I never bring up the same-sex issue, but they usually do. Why? I believe it’s their God given conscience and that deep down, they know that it’s wrong. When a conversation like that opens up, it would be unloving of me to not tell them that Jesus Christ came to set them free from every sin, and that he is the master of changing lives.

    I hate to do anything that would make my gay friends think I didn’t love them, but I did go to chik-fil-a that day. Why? Because the level of hate that was leveled at a man for stating his Christian beliefs. I would never agree with a Christian having a harsh, unloving attitude towards gays, but I also don’t believe that Christians should be ashamed of their beliefs. God is the one who said that it’s a sin. That doesn’t mean we need to go around picketing (please no!), but if God said it, we can loving say that we agree.

    Incidently, many states recognise civil unions which does allow among other things, hospital visitations for same sex couples. I have no problem with that, but I can’t agree with redefining marriage.

    • G Snyder says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      That was exactly my point. Attack the sacred cow of evangelical partisanship to expose problems within the evangelical church.

      But it’s deeper than that, as it’s a problem of (our) heart. The use of politics (for me, the author) was a means to an end. (Additionally, I was exposed to the issues from w/in the gay community earlier this month, which I do honestly believe needs consideration. My friend is from NC, where the laws are not as what you cite in your last paragraph.)

      And as far as politics go–I’ve been converted to a Timothy Keller perspective. Authentic Christianity can neither be republican, nor democrat; it can neither be conservative nor liberal. There is a third path… a “mu” so-to-speak, which simply means “unask the question”. Or “the reality of the answer is greater than the scope of the question”. Neither party does a particularly good job at representing authentic Christianity–but that’s just my opinion, and mostly irrelevant in all of this.

      And I do appreciate your account as to how you were able to use the situations that were presented to you as a witnessing opportunity. I think that’s what it’s all about. *That* is the compassionate love that only absolute morality can bring to the table.

      All my best,

    • Kevin W. says:

      Yeah, this blog has taken a sharp turn. But hey, it’s Scott’s blog. The thoughts expressed in this post are nothing new. Heard all this before many, many times. Same arguments, same objections.

      • G Snyder says:

        I’d really love it if someone would actually respond to the (a) property transfer, and (b) hospital visitation issues. The church is silent on it. Everyone on this board is silent on it. So I’m guessing the official Christian position is just to shrug our shoulders and say, “Consequences of your sin?” (Either passively or actively…)

        • Bob says:

          The proper way to deal with these issues is to change policies to allow people to specify who can visit them. No need to redefine marriage. To do otherwise is to allow activists to use a side issue as an excuse in order to bring about something with farther reaching consequences that what they claim to be concerned about.

          For example, if an e-coli infection broke out in beef, and PETA suggested outlawing meat as the solution. Why not address it properly, through, say, more thorough inspections? See the strategy? There are proper ways to address problems, and to simply accept the first one thrown out by someone who is using it as an excuse to implement something unrelated seems short sighted. This reasoning just smacks of bait-and-switch and false dichotomies.

          A similar argument would be “bullying”. Why not act to end all bullying? Whenever homosexuals bring this up, they don’t seem all that concerned with bullying as such (which is a problem, such as with the Irish girl who committed suicide because she was taunted over her nationality), they seem to want to use it as an excuse to indoctrinate children.

          Again, I’m not saying these issues shouldn’t be addressed. I’m saying the “solutions” proposed by the activists seem to have little to do with the problem itself, and are seen as opportunities to advance their own interests.

      • Hi Kevin,

        If you’ve been around for a while (and by a while, I mean since October of last year when I started the blog), you’ll see that it hasn’t really taken a turn. From the beginning, this blog has been dedicated to a discussion of evangelicalism and culture. More specifically, it’s about how these two forces shape one another. So when I’ve written on Harvest Bible Chapel, its been out of an interest to see how cultural values (e.g. the pursuit of power, money, influence, etc…) is shaping the theology of a given church.

        All that to say, this site was never just about Harvest. Its about the bigger issues that confront us as evangelicals and the world around us. So you’ll see stuff on topics ranging as far and as wide as: personal evangelism, sexual identity, political engagement, evangelical commitments, bibliology, The Gospel of Mark, ancient Christian writings, etc…

        And as I have said many times before, you don’t have to agree with everything. But I do think these things are worth thinking about, and I do think they’re worth discussing, especially when we may not always agree on the finer points.

        Blessings.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Everything I’m about to say I have already said in a comment above. But because you cared enough to leave a comment, I wanted to address you personally. You are not incorrect in your assumption that this blog seeks to address problems within the Evangelical church. Nor are you incorrect in your assumption that it takes particular note of problems that have emerged at Harvest Bible Chapel.

      What many of the “newer” participants in this blog may not have caught onto is the fact the scope of this blog is larger than those two concerns. In short, this blog seeks to take a hard look at the culture around us and at evangelicalism. More specifically, it tries to explore how these two forces shape one another. So just as I might write an article on how the use of technology might breed a cult of personality within the church, I might also write about our witness in the world as we partake in events such as that which Greg discussed in this very article.

      So on this website, you will find everything ranging from politics to literature, and from film to philosophy. And hopefully, through it all, you will find questions that seek to understand how Evangelicals engage culture and how culture engages us.

      Does that help to clarify what this site is about? I hope so. Just as I hope that you might continue to engage discussions that are not solely about Harvest, as you did, so helpfully, by leaving your comment above.

      As always, thank you so much for taking the time to engage. I truly believe that these conversations are important for the community that we hold so dear, and I truly appreciate your willingness to participate in the broader discussion.

      P.S. I’m about to start a running series on Timothy Keller’s latest book, Center Church. If you’re not familiar with Keller, he’s a pastor in New York City; and I think you’ll find his observations on Evangelicalism and the church to be truly beneficial.

  10. Marriage has been redefined throughout the centuries. Over and over and over, each culture and each community has their own traditions/definitions on what marriage is. To say it is emphatically X is a falsehood. First, there used to be accepted polygamy. Jacob married two sisters, Leah and Rachel, and Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines I would assume that’s not the definition you want.

    Next, Marriages were arranged by the parents, with the Bride/Groom having NO say. Do you want that to still be the case? Love had nothing to do with it, but it was an economic contract between two families. As a rule, the bridegroom was in his thirties and the bride was a teenager. Then, once married, women were the property of their husbands. Do we want that to be what is traditional now?

    Another change concerned the so-called levirate (i.e., the man’s obligatory marriage to his brother’s widow). This kind of marriage was at times required (Deuteronomy 25:5) and at other times prohibited (Leviticus 20:21). This change was probably related to changing economic conditions. So should we enact this tradition?

    Also, in pre-modern times divorce (although usually only to men) was easily granted.

    Stating that by allowing gay people to get married we are changing the “Definition of Marriage” is only the modern definition. The idea and traditions surrounding marriage have changed again and again over the centuries. And again, it is a secular matter.

    If you are against gay people being married, don’t marry them in your house of worship.

    As for backing down, or “shifting my story”, I didn’t back down at all. You were the one that brought up 5th graders and condoms. While I agree with you that teaching an 11 year old how to put on a condom is not necessary, in knowing how our bodies work, we learn about reproduction. (AKA…SEX) And honestly that’s about the same time that you start to ask the question, where do babies come from? Also, to go back to traditional marriage, in some cultures, as soon as a girl had her first menstruation, that would be when she was considered suitable for marriage.

    As for abortion, nothing I can say. You will not change my mine nor will I change yours.

    As for rebellion hurting people? Umm…that’s how the US of A started.

    • G Snyder says:

      The bible is full of murder, infidelity, adultery, and idolatry. It’s not what God knows is best for us. Neither is having 700 wives. God gives us the free will to be stupid. So this argument, challenging the authority of God or the scripture, is one in which I cannot subscribe. But what’s greater is this–what kind of excuse is this? If you believe in a God; and if you believe that God is a just God, then there will be judgment. So when I fall prostrate on the ground during this process, I’m trying to preemptively strip away lame excuses that will carry no water. This is what I am doing in my life, and I know that God has been blessing it. The world has become far more clear during this time of refinement. I can only hope the same for others.

      Your mention of divorce is clearly addressed by Jesus in the scripture. God hates divorce; but God also allows us our own free will to curse ourselves and our offspring.

      Here’s something that may shock you… Somewhere you mentioned about a loveless marriage, and how a marriage served a culture and economy. Here’s a bomb for the modern world. Our ideas of love are pretty much wrong. It’s a deception; a great slight of hand by the evil one. Romantic love is the exact opposite of true agape love. Romantic love is ultimately selfish; it is fundamentally a neurochemical addiction. It is a horrible awful thing in which to base a marriage. And our culture, along with the Church, is doing a terrible job preparing our youth on the true meaning of love and the true covenant of marriage. Instead, we’re letting pop-culture define such things–often beginning in early childhood with such tripe like the Disney princess series. Where helpless young girls go against their parents to “fall in love” with an animal or stranger, only for it to work out perfectly in the end. If this is how we prepare our kids for understanding what a marital covenant really is–it’s no wonder that the divorce rates are as such.

      You may not know this about me–but I’m a college professor. 99% of my students are between 20 and 23 years old. I don’t know you at all, but I’d put you somewhere around your mid-20s, simply based on the logic that you’ve expressed in our exchanges. (And I commend you for ‘staying in the room’, so-to-speak.) And to be honest, I might have parroted much the same sentiments. And I had to do a few laps around the track of suffering before I gave up and sought a better way. I honestly hope that your path doesn’t follow mine; there is a better way.

      Great chatting–now off to my real job!

      (P.S. It’s the rebellion against God that hurts us; not necessarily the rebellion against foreign or national leaders. God has always been shown to be right; us humans–pretty much always wrong. So I’m done doing it my way; it never works out. So I’ve given up in lieu of a better way.)

      • Carrot says:

        I’m a little disappointed you never followed up on my Religious Laws governing a Secular Legal Document. I’m also a little disappointed that your well thought out and surprising call out for the Evangelical community to think about what they’re doing and why regarding the selective rule enforcement of biblical culture ended up simply and stubbornly coming back to the “because the book says so” without actually answering your original question of selective rule practice. The message of going out with Christ’s love is all ringing brass if the end result (and inherent message) is no different from those that go out with hate and homophobic chicken.

        I had forwarded the entry to a number of people (non-Evangelical types) who felt the article itself had very good points and there was interest in hearing why the selective rule choices you pointed out. Why is there no answer?

        • G Snyder says:

          Points well taken…

          I can take greater time with it later, if desired… or perhaps another post (if there’s enough interest).

          But I see it as this… It all comes down to a personal relationship with God. These issues will cease being issues when each person divorces themselves from their own free will, and actively seeks the suffering of the sanctification process. When this happens, God deals with us in such a fashion that we see our own faults more than ever before, which (at least in my life) gives far greater compassion for the sins of others.

          So that was the theme of the whole message…of which I didn’t effectively execute. Love the Lord God with all our (everything), and Love our neighbors as ourselves. (And we give ourselves an insane amount of slack; we can talk ourselves in or out of anything.)

          Jesus didn’t change the culture top-down; he changed it one soul at a time. And I think that’s the call we need to return. When we play with politics, we leave ourselves vastly open to falling slave to our own free-will, our selfish, dishonest, and self-seeking desires. (Can you read the AA Big Book in here?) And thus, the call to Listen, Listen, Love, Love.

          So in essence, the answer is “Mu”. Unask the question. The reality of the answer is bigger than the scope of the question. I really wonder how much of an organized political agenda the church should have, to be honest. It all distracts and detracts us from the person-to-person ministering of the soul.

          I understand the cultural consequences of this view. It’s damning. It’s scary. But my views have evolved into: (a) this time here on earth is nothing compared to eternity; and (b) what is more important than the eternity of a soul. So maybe, my best answer is–a grass roots effort, one soul at a time. And the very first soul we start with is our own. If we get that right, then we will not be rule-selective, as you discussed.

  11. Wow, how much more condescending can you be? Just an FYI, I went to high school with Scott.

    • G Snyder says:

      Sorry–no offense was meant. At all. I just write what I think, and that might be a dumb practice. As evident by this, right now.

      I do sincerely apologize, my judgments were premature and in error.

      • To some degree, this exchange is a bit of a test as to whether this site can generate discussion that is respectful and yet challenging. Kendra, I honestly appreciate your willingness to call Greg out on his remarks. On at least a few points, I agree with you that he crossed a line into condescension. Greg, I also appreciate how quick you were to apologize in specific terms. You don’t see that often in the blogosphere; and I wanted you to know that I appreciated your humility.

        Earlier this morning, Carrot sent me an email (offline) in which see commented upon the fact that she and Kendra were in the minority on this blog. I agree with her assessment. And yet, I truly value Carrot and Kendra, as I believe they will push Evangelicals to think and perhaps, more importantly, to listen. While I may not always agree with their arguments, both of them have played a valuable role in my life as friends; and I value their perspective even when I disagree with it.

        All that to say, thank you to both of you for sticking with the discussion, especially when it gets a bit pointed.

  12. rainbowmn says:

    well, not sure what the point of all this is.
    somewhere along the line, I guess folks decided it was more fun to scratch themselves.
    people, there has to be a better use of our collective time than to wordsmith these discussion on air…

    • Rainbowmn … I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree on your assessment on this site. While I know you tend to be very active on posts related to Harvest Bible Chapel, this website was never intended to be solely dedicated to a discussion of Harvest. This website is about the interface between culture and Evangelicalism, and how these two potent forces shape one another.

      As Harvest is a well-known Evangelical church in this culture (and particularly in the Chicagoland area), a discussion of its actions falls within the boundaries of what this website seeks to discuss. But it was never limited just to Harvest, nor will it ever be limited in that fashion. I’m sorry if you feel this is off base, but I believe these sorts of discussions are beneficial to those that are willing to engage them.

      Blessings.

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