i’m still reeling from last week.
my inboxes have been flooded, my text messages continuous and my face to face conversations with members of both the LGBT and conservative communities have been seemingly endless – and emotionally charged.
one friend said he was saddened by the fact that his (gay) community has been marginalized yet again and treated as not only ‘Other’ but unworthy – another friend used the term ‘useless’ after acknowledging he is a gay christian.
I know you don’t think my money is useless, especially if you’re one of my charities of choice. It’s just me that’s useless. If only I were a gossip, a glutton, a cheater, an alcoholic, a thief, lustful, full of anger, slothful, full of pride and vain, I’d be fit for some type of service. But no, I am useless because I am gay. That is the defining issue. That is where we draw the line. Because of people like me you are willing to let kids starve, and worse. And then we can’t figure out why the world is so turned off by Christians. We can make what we profess to be so amazing, very unattractive.
another friend wrote on my facebook wall ::
Speaking for myself–and at least for the time being–I have lost all interest in engaging the evangelical tradition, even though I still believe the Good News is worth sharing. I am not sure how I will go about disowning almost 40 years of my affiliation there, but after last week I see no place for me in it now nor for the foreseeable future.
yet another wrote here this on his blog ::
I no longer hold the hope of reconciliation. It has been suffocated under the mass of hate-filled words. If I believe in Jesus, I must believe God can resurrect this hope in me; but I know that it has died and I fear it will never return.
Right now, I feel very far away from the cross and from God. That saddens me deeply. I desperately want to find my way back, but I’m at a loss. I’m bewildered and disoriented.
The future of my faith has something to do with being able to see Jesus in the faces of those who wish me harm. I have to find a way to love my enemies. If I’m unable to do that, I don’t think I’d be able to call myself a Christian anymore.
Which would make evangelicals very happy.
and that’s where this comes in ::
two posts in particular do a great job of speaking to the damage done last week to any cultural credibility and relevance evangelicals had left in an increasingly progressive culture- one, from my friend zack hunt, is featured on Red Letter Christians this morning. read it.
he talks about jesus and drinking and wineskins and said,
Broadly speaking, the problem with evangelicalism is that it has become a culture unto itself with central values and concerns that are not actually central to the gospel, despite claims to the contrary. These central commitments are not to the way of Jesus, but to a fetishized list of beliefs.
rachel held evans added her two cents by asking some important and provocative questions ::
So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?
Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?
Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?
Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?
i suspect the damage done by the broader evangelical response to world vision last week will be soon seen as a last-ditch-effort attempt by an increasingly fringe group of people to exercise control through extortion – using money, power and influence (some might even suggest ‘religious and financial manipulation’ or self-serving efforts at maintaining control). but for now, the damage has been done.
as i said in a previous post, using the lives of starving children as pawns in your political chess match isn’t something jesus wants you to do. it turns out even those who don’t claim to know him know this – and are therefore forced to either believe that they’ve got jesus all wrong and his church really doesn’t want ‘their kind’, or to believe that these who profess to speak on God’s behalf are playing the same role as the religious leaders of jesus’ day.
their words to the religious elite in our own culture echo the words of christ’s in his own ::
‘you are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.’ – john 8:44
i also suspect no amount of attempted ‘damage control’ can bring back credibility in these spaces… at least not for some time.
regardless of how we choose to identify and label ourselves (evangelical or otherwise) how will we – as people who claim to follow christ – respond?
what do you think?