August 7, 2012

Really, People?

We want to get our collective drawers in a wad about the opinion of a chicken magnate and some politicians that disagree with him?

We want to choose up sides about how Caesar should be using the wages of our labor to do God's work?

Puh-leeze, we need to get over our self-centeredness on these kinds of issues.

We want to conflate our Christianity with our polity, and the result is that we make both ineffective and useless.

You want to make the Chick-fil-A issue a political issue? Fine, but if you really care about the Kingdom of Christ, then please try to keep the two issues separate. Otherwise, the rest of us can easily see that your vision of the Kingdom is to keep yourself separate from those who are "different" (and make sure that you understand that 'different' only means those who sin in a different way than you.)

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's"

Both sides of this issue want to mix the two together, and then cry 'foul' at the other side when they don't get their wishes. Here's an idea: Keep your Church out of my State, and I'll keep my State out of your Church. If you can't get a grip on that idea, then you have no understanding of early 20th Century history.

Here's my political opinion: no one in this country has any good political reason to deny the benefits of state-sanctioned marriage to gay couples. Period.

You want to make gay marriage an issue in your church? Fine, that is your right as an independent religion. You want to force your idea of theology on the rest of the nation? Not fine; keep your church out of the State, lest you be a hypocrite that cannot separate Caesar and God.

It's just far too easy to take up sides and argue about the issue of gay marriage rights, and how the Church should enforce legalism against 'sinners.' It takes physical and spiritual work to deal with the real issues that we are commanded to address.

"Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13  Mercy, not sacrifice. Think hard before you go and exclude someone from Christ's grace just because they sin differently from you.

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.’ Matthew 25: 34-40

When you can tell me, or anyone else, that all the widows, orphans, hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and prisoners in your community have been ministered to, then you might have removed enough of the log in your own eyes to see the splinter in the eyes of others. Until then, your preaching against those 'sinners' is nothing more than the filthy rags of human self-righteousness.

Until that time, the rest of the nation would be better served if we, as Christians, simply went about practicing "Mercy, not Sacrifice."

We should render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God, what is God's. We glorify neither God nor Caesar when we mix the two.

Doing the work of God transcends our emotions about those who sin differently than we do. God's work is about bringing us together to help all those who are less fortunate than us.

Until we, as those who call ourselves 'Christian', on either side of the issue of homosexuality, can take care of the suffering people that are the basics of what we are commanded, we are nothing but hypocritical clanging gongs.

And that means we must see to the needs of every single person that is widowed, orphaned, hungry, thirsty, foreign, sick, and imprisoned, before we can cast our stones at those 'sinners' that might defile our altar of self-righteousness.

Mercy, not sacrifice...

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