Sunday, August 12, 2012

Two Cases of Misguided Response

Over the past few weeks there have been a couple of things in the news that actually got my attention.  I know that seems like a strange thing to say, but the truth of the matter is that I have grown somewhat immune to the news.  It is almost formulaic and highly predictable.

Two events however, have stood out to me recently.  The first was what I will call the "Chick-Fil-A Debacle" and the second was the naming of Paul Ryan as running mate for Mitt Romney.

The "Chick-Fil-A Debacle" was actually about freedom of speech.  However, it turned into a Christians bashing Gays vs. Gays bashing Christians and the media piling on.  I was actually gratified to see the support given to Chick-Fil-A in the form of a day to eat there.  I was disappointed that it became a Gay vs. Christian event.

The choice of Paul Ryan as running mate for Romney is interesting to me for a similar reason.  Ryan is seen by many as representing the values which are closely identified with the Tea Party movement.  Tea Party is really a misnomer because it isn't actually a political party, but it is a movement of people with similar values which are closely aligned with what many deem are Christian values.

This morning at church it was mentioned by someone who will remain unnamed that we Christians must stand up and confront the non-Christian values being pushed upon this Christian nation.  I have several problems with that.  1)  We are not a Christian nation.  Only an individual can be Christian.  Christianity is a relationship between the individual and God through the mediation of Jesus.  2)  Confrontation is not the answer.  How can the love of Jesus be shared through confrontation?  3)  Non-Christian values are pushed by non-Christians.  If you are a Christian and reading this, pay close attention;  you cannot expect non-Christians to have Christian values. 

So, how does the preceding paragraph align with the two newsworthy events?  I think the first one should be obvious.  The owner of Chick-Fil-A exercised his first amendment right in answering a straightforward question that was likely meant to entrap him for political reasons.  He answered the question just as he should -- according to his deeply held beliefs.  The problem lies in the Christian response.  If it was solidarity over the exercise of freedom of speech, it was a correct response.  If it was solidarity in opposition to homosexuality it was misguided.  Homosexuality is condemned by the Bible.  If you profess to be Christian it should have no part in your life -- just as you should seek to eliminate all other sin from your life.  The fact is that as long as we live on this earth, sin of some form or another will be part of our daily life.

Now, to the selection of Paul Ryan.  I think he is probably the best candidate in the field for the highest office in the land.  But, why was he selected and why is he a polarizing candidate?  I think he was selected because Romney needed to appeal to the Christian right and those non-Christians who identify with the Tea Party movement.  Evangelical Christians do not see Mormons as Christians.  I agree with that position.  Many Christians see Paul Ryan as one who will confront the anti-Christian agenda in Washington.  Again, it is a position of Christians confronting non-Christians.

Now, I ask the much abused question, "What would Jesus do?"

I think Jesus would tell us to do exactly what He told us to do over 2,000 years ago. 

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” __ Matthew 28:18-20

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