Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bankrupt Without Love

So don’t worry about me, or about the rough week Eugene Peterson had. Do worry about those LGBTQ Christian kids who continue to experience stigma, rejection, and even contempt in their own Christian homes, churches and schools. Worry about what the events of last week taught them.
--David Gushee (Religious News Service)

A sad story here, about fear and homophobia in evangelical Christian circles.  When a reporter asked Eugene Peterson (translator of The Message and prominent evangelical) about his 2017 views on marriage and marriage equality, Peterson indicated his willingness to celebrate a marriage between committed same-sex partners.  This marked a significant shift for him, and offered some encouragement to other evangelicals tired of the old line and eager for fresh practice and inclusive sacrament.

Then the backlash.  Publishers threatening to blacklist Peterson's books.  Other evangelicals condemning their onetime hero for embracing weakness, heresy and worse.

So, he backed off.  He retracted the original statement.  

David Gushee writes that the real victims here, always the victims in this kind of thing, are the kids who "experience stigma, rejection, and even contempt" in their homes, churches and schools.  Is this the best Christians can do?  Heaping contempt on kids?

Clearly it's not.  Because I see it every day, every week in my ministry, and in my church.  I see same-sex couples raising loving kids.  I see all kinds of kids growing up in a culture of profound respect, reverence for difference and affirmation.  And I see LGBTQ Christians--of all ages, from all cultures--discovering deep reservoirs of kindness and courage in Christian faith and practice.  (By the way, the same-sex weddings I've officiated have ROCKED MY WORLD!)

So, from The Message, 1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, 
I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, 
revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day,
and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, 
but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor 
and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, 
but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. 
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, 
I’m bankrupt without love.