SCOTUS’s (Supreme Court of the United States) decision to federally legalize gay marriage has radically changed everything. The response to it from Christians (evangelicals primarily, my tribe) has been mixed. The mixed response is somewhat understandable given the gravitas of this situation, and what it means for humankind (not an overstatement I don’t think). It is this response that I want to reflect on throughout the remainder of this post.
The primary response I have been seeing on social media, in particular, is somewhat disappointing to me. Personally I am an in an utter state of shock still; I think the ramifications of what just happened were a tipping point of biblical proportions. And yet the response I have seen from many evangelicals has been to simply take it in stride as if we all should have saw this coming. I find this response to be disappointing because it reflects an attitude of conditioning; conditioning by the culture in which we live, and it is this kind of attitude that I would say culturally has contributed to the culture we live in today in the USA. It is an attitude of indifference, defeatism, and really one, as I see it, of attempting to cope with the reality on the ground. So this is one response, and I think it is wrong!
Another response can be typified by Christianity Today’s response to it. Again, this is similar to the first response I just noted; there seems to be a desire to cope with the reality on the ground, but not a desire to confront it. What I gathered from the Christianity Today article on this was that they believe we live in a pluralistic society and so the best way for us to cope with that is to learn how to co-exist with others in a respectful manner. I do agree that we need to be respectful of others, and that we shouldn’t elevate homosexual sin to a level that makes it different than other sins (which was also part of the CT’s piece and point in their article). But I found CT’s response all too typical of the kind of bland vanilla response (in tone) that I have become all too used to as an evangelical Christian in North America.
I think the response should be one of shock! It is okay to be shocked at sin. I think we need to be that frog who jumped out of the kettle through looking to Jesus Christ and his Word, and understand that we are not of this world; we are for it in Christ, but indeed, in Christ. And I think this is really the problem; not the ‘in Christ’ part, but the part where the evangelical church has been conditioned so much, and learned how to cope so much, that things like the legalization of gay marriage simply become something we weren’t shocked by, or something that we need to learn how to co-exist with. Neither of these things are true! We are to be light in the world, exposing the darkness through our witness to Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4). True, we don’t want to elevate particular sins to an elevated level, but when a particular sin becomes a systemic reality (like homosexuality), then we ought to, as Christians, as light, articulate how and why this is incommensurate with the way the LORD ordered his reality, his creation.
The basic point I am wanting to get across is that it is okay to be shocked! Who cares if you saw this coming, who cares about coping with it; we don’t want to blunt God’s holiness, and when we simply nod our heads at stuff going on in society (like because we feel defeated), we are not reflecting the actual reality. The actual reality is that Jesus has overcome this world, he appeared to destroy the works of the flesh and the devil, and we must resist then these demonic attitudes that have us simply wanting to cope or coexist with the way of the culture. We are part of a Kingdom that is unmovable, unshakeable; if so, it is okay to be shocked at a culture that is on the move, and moving at a pace (away from God) that is quickly heading to destruction (or in fact is living from it).