At the risk of being stoned in the parking lot….

This past weekend I gave a presentation in my Philosophy and Christian Ethics class on the topic of human sexuality. I made several comments about homosexuality and marriage that could possibly get me stoned in the communities I frequent.

One of the statements I made
was surrounding the topic of marriage itself. I said that the church no longer has the authority to mandate the legality of marriage. When the government began to issue marriage licenses, when it became the authority to approve or disapprove marriages, the church relinquished it’s authority and accepted the governmental authority by recognizing marriages performed outside of the church (by judges instead of clergy).

Does the church still have the authority to mandate the morality of marriage? “Mandate” may be the wrong word…perhaps, “speak to the morality of,” or “advise on the morality of,” would be better phrasing? Yes. But that authority is only within its own communities and upon its own platforms: in the social strata but not in the political arena or on governmental platforms.

This is mirrored, in my view, in the issue of whether or not homosexual couples can adopt. Again, the church has no authority to mandate the legality of that. It can certainly advise on and speak to what they deem is best for the child. However, when the church allowed the government to become responsible for tending to the widows and orphans, they relinquished that authority. The system has had to repeatedly pick up the slack for an American church that has been more occupied with building projects and politics than in being the church that Christ called us to be.

I’m sure there will be plenty of people still attempting to shout at the system, attempting to impose one morality (evangelicals would say “the only morality”) upon a nation filled with multiple religions and a large contingency of unbelievers. But where has that gotten us? Has it done more damage than good? Obviously, I’d say yes to that last question.

The system that we allowed to come into existence is here to stay. The utopia of sinlessness that most Christians want to see happen on earth will not happen. The best thing we can do is speak well from the platforms where we still have a voice and an audience. We must speak the truth in love instead of forcefully with a tone of condemnation and denunciation. We must stop trying to impose our views on others and instead show the love of Christ to all – even those who do not share our views.

Is any of this even possible?

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2 thoughts on “At the risk of being stoned in the parking lot….

  1. I don’t disagree at all…but I don’t think you’ve said anything new in this post…the church doesnt argue for right to mandate the legality or the illegality of anything… It argues that gay marriage is morally wrong thus should not be allowed in a society who is interested in the well being of its citizens….we have been given the right by the government to prounce a couple legally married though …the morality of anything is the churches opinion and everyone has a right to one of those…but some people don’t want us have that same right they want afforded to them…..the church also has the right to say what goes on inside her communities….

    As far as not trying to impose our views on others….that’s impossible…everyone does that….by you telling me to not impose my views on others….you are imposing your view on me….the church is ordained by God to impose her views on others….I impose my understanding of Gods word on 500 people every Sunday.

  2. The church in the past has argued against many things that it later regretted. It argued against mixed marriage, freedom for slaves, integration in schools, and it has endorsed various forms of discrimination throughout it’s history. And it was wrong, wrong, wrong. And I believe we are once again in error, but I have to believe that just as God has raised up strong, courageous, and bold Christians to challenge us and bring us to the realization that we have been in error and done great harm to our fellow brothers and sisters in the name of religion, He will do it again. What we must do is pray and pray and trust that God will bring us to truth. The truth that He loves us and cares for us all, regardless of race or sexual orientation.

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