I have deliberately refrained from posting here for the past several weeks. It’s not that I forgot or neglected it…I just didn’t feel that I had anything substantial to say. I do not want this to become like my other blog attempts. It is easy to re-post videos or stories that I see on other blogs…it is also lazy. I would rather go without posts than to post other people’s thoughts and ideas. My eventual goal is to compose and post every day of the week…but for now…I’m taking baby steps.
The band I mentioned in an earlier post is now playing shows. We have done one coffee shop gig that was packed wall to wall. We also led worship at a local church. We are leading worship for the “Back To School” chapel service at North Carolina Wesleyan College this weekend. I am really excited about that. We are getting out and making contacts in many different circles. We are playing the coffee shop again in September and are leading worship at a couple of different churches. The opportunities are starting to present themselves and we are amazed at how quickly God has blessed this little group. Our goal is to use this as a springboard for an alternative service that reaches out to those who feel alienated from the church. We are trying to be patient and let God move in His own time…but it is hard not to get excited.
I have been pondering a couple of issues that have become hot button topics over the last week or so. The first one is the proposed Islamic activity center and mosque that is being planned for a spot two blocks away from “Ground Zero” in New York City. I have been watching both sides debate this and as much as some people may disagree…I believe the correct thing to do is to allow it. The property is legally owned by the group and (as far as I can tell) it is zoned for such a building. The argument against the center is that it is somehow disrespectful and/or distasteful to those who lost loved ones in the attack on the World Trade Center. The other side argues (quite successfully I might add) that this is a matter of freedom of religion…an ideal that America was built upon. Needless to say…the rhetoric back and forth between the two sides had been heated and animated.
Here is where I stand on the issue. As a Christian…I am disturbed spiritually by the advance of any religion that contradicts the truth of the Gospel. However…as an American…I am thankful that I have the freedom to believe and worship where, when and how I please. If I believe that I am owed that right (and I do)…then other American citizens with opposing beliefs are owed it as well. I can see absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to build this activity center. It is a community building that will house a gym, a pool, classrooms and a chapel for those who choose to use it. I wouldn’t want the city government ignore zoning and building codes and refuse my legal right to construct a building used for Christian outreach. Shouldn’t every one be given that same right?
The other issue has been going on for much longer and (in my opinion) is a much more serious issue. The debate for (and against) homosexual marriage has recently heated up again. California’s Proposition 8 was struck down by a judge as unconstitutional. This was supposedly going to clear the way for legal homosexual marriages to begin. Well…now a judge has placed a stay on the ruling that would allow gay couple to get married in California. Both sides are in a tizzy (is that a real word?) as the drama unfolds. I won’t even begin to get into all of the issues concerning state’s rights versus the federal government. I want to address what I see is the basic issue.
As a Christian I truly believe that homosexuality is wrong. I recognize that there are some biological factors that come into play…but if we’re honest…all of us are born with biological factors that lead us into sin. Also…I believe that in God’s eyes…there is no such thing as marriage outside of the boundaries He has set for it. This debate isn’t about “redefining” marriage. That can’t be done. I know a lot of well meaning Christians who have jumped into this fight with their arms swinging. Here is my opinion. We shouldn’t be surprised that a worldly government is going to do things that are contrary to the word of God. We shouldn’t be surprised when lost people act like lost people. We shouldn’t be hateful, judgmental and vengeful against them. After all…we are all in the same boat they are in. All sin is offensive to God. All sin put Jesus on the cross. Homosexuality is not ranked higher than lying or cheating or overeating.
I believe it is time for the Church to separate itself from the government. The judge who struck down Proposition 8 made it clear that he wasn’t taking away the Church’s right to define “religious” marriage. This is about civil unions and the benefits that government provides for them. Too much of the debate is focusing in issues other than that. If the government sanctions gay unions…why should that surprise us? It sanctions other unions that are not accepted in Scripture. There are benefits for heterosexual couples who are not married. There are benefits for heterosexual couples married outside of God’s will. This is the same thing. No one can make the Church recognize them as biblical unions. I think it is time that we draw a very distinct line between legal marriage and spiritual marriage. I think it is time for the Church to cut all ties with the government…but that is totally different issue that I make take on later.
So…that’s my two cents worth.