This past week Washington State legalized same-sex marriage. While this social shift grows across the nation the Church has been left with the question “how shall we respond?” In deed much of the turmoil and schism that exists today appears to be largely related to the issue of sexuality. Some have been adamant that we who profess Jesus must follow his lead by embracing all people and accepting others just as they are and permit them equal access to all leadership positions. Others have lamented out loud at the “loss of morals” in our nation and seek to define themselves as a people who stand firmly against that which the bible calls sin saying that we are a people set apart from secular culture as God’s people. Of course, there are also those who are caught in the middle and try to weigh all these things carefully, but are tired of the battle so they withdraw into their respective communities choosing not to speak about anything controversial citing that God is love and that feel conflict is the absence of that love. While all of this is going on our neighbors sit outside, watching us, and shake their heads. Why?
People are looking for hope. They thought that education could help them reach their goal of a brighter tomorrow, but it has resulted in more people with PhD’s than there are jobs. People thought that a political party can and will help us achieve a better nation where equality and justice flow like a river, but it has resulted in a greater sense of disillusionment. People believe that if they get that promotion or make the next pay grade they will finally be able to rest easy about the future, but have discovered to their horror that the market is a fickle mistress who will make you feel invincible one day and bury you the next in a mountain of debt. There appears to be a shortage of everything (compassion, time, money, food, natural resources, good will) and many are asking where is the hope.
So it should come as no surprise to those of us in the Church that people take one look at our squabbles over music, property, sexuality, and say “no thank you.” The Church must be clear on what it is for and not just what it is against. If we devote most of our time, money, prayer, and energy to ensuring that our stance against something is felt in the culture then we are wasting that which God has given us to use for His glory. We do live in a time that is very broken, but it is no more broken than all the ages that have passed before this one. There is no going back to a better time, because such a thing never existed. All that we have is today. How will we share the one thing that we have to share with the world, the core message that the Church should be about, Hope in Christ! There is HOPE for all in Christ, and we need to emphasize that HOPE today.