Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's going on here?

God, what are you doing in my life? I'd really like to understand.

First, last weekend, there were the Jehovah's Witnesses you brought to my door. That was interesting. But okay.

Then, there was the lunch where we stumbled onto friends, and joined them, only to find out that the guest of honor at the meal was a Buddhist monk and writer. The "dedication" for the meal was... interesting. But okay.

And then there was last night.

Dinner with family, friend, and friends of friend. Half the folks there were new to me. Fun, eclectic, widely varied conversation. Loved it.

So then I got to asking my brother about the church he's recently been going to. Sounds like a great place. Anglican with a very contemporary styling, from what I understand.

Then we heard a chime in. "Oh, that isn't one of those Anglican churches, is it? The ones with the gay-hating African bishops who think all gay people should be killed?"

Umm... I know the Anglican churches you're talking about. I'm with one. But the African Anglican bishops have never said that. The only bishop I know of who has said that is Kunonga, the bosom buddy of Zimbabwe's dictator Mugabe, and he was defrocked by the other African bishops.

I then got a passionate earful on how hateful and angry my church is, my church leaders are, and I am, for believing that a relationship between two people of the same gender simply can't fit a Biblical definition of the word "marriage".

I was also told that only western culture has the view of masculinity and femininity where a man ought to be a man and a woman ought to be a woman, that "the rest of the world" has a more enlightened view of human nature. (Oh, really? As I recall, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions have very distinct gender roles. And of those cultures, only Korea, which is I think the most western-influenced, has a stellar record on gender equality.)

I was also told that the Bible-based argument against gay marriage is the same as the argument against interracial marriage from a few generations ago. (Umm... No, it's not. I should know. I married a black woman. The arguments against interracial marriage were made by twisting a few verses, and they fell apart under a broader examination of Scripture. Conversely, the arguments for gay marriage are made by twisting a few verses, and they fall apart under a broader examination of Scripture.)

It blew her mind when I asserted that my views are not based on just "my feelings towards gay people", or just my own view of scripture, but that I have made observations of people, and human nature. "You make it sound scientific." Well, yeah, I went to an engineering school. I think that I usually at least try to reason things out in a somewhat scientific way.

It wasn't a discussion I could "win", that much was obvious. Lord, I just hope that I was a decent witness. I hope that I kept my cool. But should I stand quiet when Your servants are maligned for things they never said? How else should I react when I'm told something about Your Word that I know to be untrue?

What do you want me to do, Lord? What do you want me to say? Are You trying to tell me something that I'm missing here? I have only my trust in You.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sadness

I encountered two very sad things this week.

First, there was a woman at the church pot luck (I've seen her there many times) who said that she doesn't believe God has a plan for her life. She has nothing in this life but a litany of sorrows.

I didn't know what to say!How do you answer that?

How sad, to believe that God's love for you is less than perfect! How sad, to believe that God doesn't want you to have life and joy, or to think that somehow His power isn't enough to care for you!

The other sad thing was just a few minutes ago. A trio of Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door, with an invitation to their Easter day service (though JWs aren't allowed to celebrate Easter). I politely told them that we would be quite busy at our own church. But one thing struck me after I had closed the door... They said that they wanted to invite me to a "celebration of the death of Jesus". Now, I will be celebrating Jesus's death... on Good Friday. Easter is for celebrating his resurrection, and the hope and promise of resurrection that is shared by all believers. But a quick search confirmed what I suspected, from an official description of JW beliefs: The Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ.

How sad, again! To believe that Christ did not rise from the dead!
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Cor. 15:14-17)
Lord, heavenly Father, you are the Living God. You are not the God of the dead, but of the living. Lord, call out to your sheep who are lost and wandering. Lord, put words in the lips of your followers, that they may answer the lies and deceptions of the world that steal hope and give sorrow.

Lord, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross for our redemption, and that he lives now. Thank you for your Holy Spirit, to guide us and comfort us.

Amen.