A Blessing in Disguise?

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Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that DOMA is (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional. As I followed my Twitter and Facebook feeds, the pro-gay activists couldn’t help but post their excitement and enthusiasm continuously throughout the day. The others, however, were silent.

More silent than I thought, in fact. Many posts were about people going on with their lives as though nothing has changed. And maybe, in a way, nothing has changed except that the Supreme Court acknowledged what most of the country has been yelling and shouting about for the last couple of months – or rather, the last several years.

Were Christians and Conservatives on my social media feeds just not surprised? Was yesterday’s decision just one more inevitable step toward an inevitable future? Or have they surrendered altogether?

Or, maybe they’re quiet because they don’t want to look like bigots, or become even more socially ostracized than they already are.

Personally, my stance on the whole subject tends to be: “We’ve accepted fornication and domestic partnership, so why not this?”

I’m not saying this is the right attitude and that we should throw in the towel on the subject. No, I’m saying we must dig our feet deeper into our faith because of the direction we’re going. I’m not going to influence the Supreme Court to change its mind. Dr. Albert Mohler isn’t going to convince the masses that their thinking and way of life is fanning the fires of Hell. John Piper isn’t going to convince the president that he is a wolf rallying and leading the lost to the slaughter. (He’s never made such a statement, so don’t quote him on that.)

In fact, here’s the hard truth we all must face: There is no moral argument that we can make against homosexuality outside the Gospel of Christ.

I confess, the question I ask myself repeatedly is this: “How can we effectively argue our case against homosexuality without bringing up Jesus?”

It doesn’t take much explaining to show someone that stealing is wrong. Why? Because it hurts others.

People generally understand that adultery is wrong. Why? Because it hurts others.

Murder? Yeah, that’s pretty bad. It hurts others.

Abortion, even, can be argued without stepping into religious realms.

Homosexuality, on the surface, doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s seen as progressive, and brings happiness and inspires parades.

Just like you can’t convince a non-Christian to stop cursing because it’s wrong, we can’t convince people that homosexuality is wrong. They’ll want to know by who’s standards.

We can’t effectively have a discussion about homosexuality without addressing who’s standards we’re living by. 

I do not agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday, but I do believe it could be a blessing in disguise. Feigning a neutral stance on the topic is less an option today than it was Tuesday night. We can no longer hide behind the safety and conventionality of an anti-gay culture. 

Here’s the blessing: When it comes up – and I assure you, it will – that you do not support gay marriage or transgender lifestyles, you can give absolutely no other reason than “because God is against it.”

You receive either a cold shoulder, a punch in the face, or an invitation to share the Gospel.

And actually, according to God, any of those is good, simply because you stood firm.

The Best Post on SSM

red-equal-symbolWith all the commotion and argument exploding around the country, and specifically in our nation’s capitol, over same-sex marriage, it’s difficult for either side to get a word in edge-wise.

(I appreciate you O’Riley, but just shush for a moment.)

And honestly, I’ve been scare to even speak up myself. For two reasons (and I’m being very vulnerable here):

1. I feel like it’s a lost cause.

2. I feel like we Christians have no other leg to stand on other than “God says so.” (Though my wife provided many other facts and statistics against SSM, thus proving that my little fear in null.)

In this long debate, feathers have been ruffled, feelings have been hurt, and neither side, as a general rule, can really claim that they’ve shut up and let the other side talk.

I ran across this blog post by a woman, Lindy Keffer, my wife and I highly respect from our days at the Focus on the Family Leadership Institute where we met.

I’m humbled that I didn’t write this post myself, but thankful that I found it. Lindy sums up everything I just couldn’t – or wouldn’t – write down and publicize myself. It’s a tad lengthy, but very much worth the read, no matter which “side” you’re on.

I’ve spent the past week thinking that social media is not the place to discuss the issue of same-sex marriage (SSM) because it perpetuates one of my biggest pet peeves: civil discourse being reduced to two opposing sides lobbing soundbites (or red equal signs, as the case may be) at each other, without actually havingany productive discussion.

I appreciated one friend who used her Facebook status to encourage folks to talk about these important issues face-to-face instead. That was going to be my sole approach, except tonight I’ve got some things weighing on my mind so heavily that I feel compelled to post them. Compelled, but nervous. Hence the title:

Hurt people hurt people…

click here to read the rest

Two Families, Two World Views

parenthoodThe 90’s was an effort by most major broadcasting networks to take the spotlight away from family-themed television shows that dominated the 80’s and early 90’s. Now that that era is over, some shows are attempting to re-fix the spotlight back on the family – with a few twists.

Two prominent shows are in the spotlight today. NBC’s Parenthood and ABC’s Modern FamilyOn the surface the only stark differences are that one is a half-hour long comedy and the other is an hour-long drama. Both shows consist of mediocre-sized American families where the siblings are grown and trying to figure out adulthood, sometimes guided by the patriarchs of the clans (Parenthood lead by Craig T. Nelson from Coach and Modern Family lead by Ed O’ Neil of Married with Children fame).

Both shows thrive on the flaws of its endearing characters, but only one of them takes the flaws seriously enough to run with them and expose the consequences of the actions that many (if not all) viewers can relate to.

But after watching a few seasons of each show, a bigger difference seems to set them apart.

One show is lead by a man who never quite graduated socially from the seventh grade tv_modern_family01and who makes his son take the fall for looking at porn on the family computer. (More on this type of TV man, here.)The other show is led by a man who is trying to connect with his son who has Asperger’s syndrome, tries to protect his daughter from having premature sex, openly confesses his life to his wife, etc. A model family man.

One show features the patriarchs as working through past mistakes and getting counseling for extramarital affairs, and working at keeping their marriage together, while the other sends a clear message that you can divorce your wife to marry a much younger, more shapely woman to fit your insatiable appetite, with little (if any) consequence.

In NBC’s (and Ron Howard’s)  take on the family institution, the loose bullet of the family commits fornication on many occasions, and in ABC’s version, it is “progressive” to feature a homosexual couple living together, and starting a family by adopting a child.

What I appreciate about both shows is the attempt to reflect many American family situations happening today. (Or or we reflecting them? hmmm…. more about that here.) But Modern Family’s lackadaisical approach to family life is somewhat off-putting. Phil Dumphy’s eagerness to role play a fantasy scenario with his wife by “picking her up” at the bar overrides his ability to mind the well-being of his children. And it’s disgusting – they might as well just have an affair already. Phil’s jokes and slapstick crashes are funny at first, and it keeps the kids interested, but the not-so-subtle messages of the show will begin to cement into their heads.

While Daddy Dumphy is tripping on the stairs for the twelfth time, the younger viewers are getting the message that Grandpa was justified for divorcing Grandma for a younger woman and the gay guys living together is okay because it’s funny and they’re nice.

Modern Family = Funny show (which dies out). No consequences to serious actions. Stupidity, divorce, and homosexuality are all acceptable and without consequences.

Now, Parenthood has not addressed the issue of homosexuality (at least as far as I’ve seen it). Maybe it will come. But it does address very seriously the consequences of extramarital affairs and how that act can change and affect everybody. And although Crosby, the loose bullet, is a fornicator (though, honestly, they probably all were), he at least makes it right by marrying the mother of his child. There is repentance there, not acceptance.

The characters in Parenthood are constantly trying to change themselves for the better, not accepting the mistakes they make, and refuse to turn a blind eye to those who are living in the wrong.

Here’s the irony. Modern Family is intended for kids, and Parenthood has a handful of scenes that could pass for a PG-13 rating if released in theaters. But when you get down to the world views each show is projecting, I’d feel much safer letting my kids watch Parenthood. 

Of the two shows, it’s what my family has chosen to continue to watch.

[Parenthood Image Credit], [Modern Family Image Credit]