We are to speak the TRUTH in LOVE. When people see lots of TRUTH with little love, they perceive judgmentalism. Lots of LOVE with little truth, they perceive enabling of bad behavior. This is true of all issues, not just sexual ones.
My main point from the outset of blogging has been that we have fixated on one sexual issue while ignoring all others. (Read the free download.) This has created the highly charged and polarized atmosphere around this one issue. The Duck Commander and defrocked dad have only fueled the fire.
The last blog piqued the interest of many moderates. Some took to Facebook with ideas. Others have called me, emailed or posted comments. A recurring question has been, “Will focusing on other issues of sexual brokenness really make any difference?”
Back in the 80’s Dr. Bob Lyon, one of my seminary professors, asked his classes, “Who is the most powerful person in Calcutta, India?” The answer was not a military officer, a government official or a crime figure. It was Mother Teresa. No one dared lay a hand on her.
As you may remember, in 1994 she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. Because of the bi-partisan atmosphere, speakers of the past avoided the controversial. Not so the Calcutta sister. She preached a scorching pro-life message on abortion. Noting the obvious displeasure of the Clintons, a reporter asked the President what he thought of her talk. His reply? “How can anyone argue with a life so well-lived?”
Through her years of selfless and grace-filled service among the poorest of the poor, the nun had earned enough street cred to declare a prophetic word to the most powerful people in the world. That same credibility, in fact, later led to cooperation with the Clintons. The nun and the First Lady joined hands to establish an adoption house in DC.
The Church generally lacks street cred. Our bickering over this one issue merely mirrors the division in the culture at large. They perceive we hate the sinner about as much as we hate the sin. It is also obvious to many that heterosexual brokenness abounds in the pews. Seeing the hypocrisy, some in the Church cry out, “Injustice!” Instead of mirroring our culture, we must model unity in the midst of our diversity, joining hands in compassionate ministry to the abused, addicted and averse, while holding in tension our unresolved differences.
In The Good Book, author Peter Gomes foresees continued strife and division over this one issue. Slavery, he states, was decided not by biblical exegesis, but by gunpowder and cannonballs. Really? Slug it out and winner takes all? Is that the only option?
There is a better way. Truth and love is the the way of the Gospel.
OK, I hear you. “Liberals and conservatives combining efforts on sexual issues? Is that even possible?” Yeah, I know. Crazy. About as crazy as a nun and a pro-choice politician working together.
More on the power of love to turn this boat around in the next blog. But for now, what do ya think? Can this approach work? What are the obstacles ahead?