Jesus and Mo walked into a bar…A Mirror and the Law.
A post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.
I remember teaching conformation classes…(woops, sorry…little spelling mistake there)…confIrmation classes and talking about the Law of God to the rapt attention of a dozen or so people in their young teens. (By rapt attention, I mean to say that, if their mothers hadn’t dragged them in by their ears and tied them to the chairs…they prolly wouldn’t have been there.)
Like many pastors/ teachers, I used the image of a mirror to describe the way God’s Law is supposed to work. We don’t know how well we have shaved or applied our makeup until we look into a mirror coz the mirror reflects the real you back at yourself. God’s law is a way of examining ourselves. Have I REALLY loved my neighbour as myself? hmmmm, Neil, maybe you should be a bit more careful in shaving your prickly bits off…seems you missed some spots. Or that “Love” makeup you quickly smeared on…that aint convincing anyone you know…You might have to look a bit deeper, Neil!
Anyway, the Mirror…its a useful image. Like, my kids are a mirror to me sometimes. Especially when they do things that REALLY irritate me and i realize that it irritates me because they learnt it off of me! It’s ME that I’m irritated by. I hate the mirror they are holding up. I gotta either look away or do something about what I see.
I had a couple of interesting “Mirror” experiences over the last few days. The first one happened today. Someone sent me this cartoon. Jesus and Mo walk into a bar. The barmaid speaks…
Well, I got a bit offended. How dare she say that my religious beliefs cannot be rationally justified to the satisfaction of most!
How dare she put those words…”Nope, still strident” on Jesus lips.
Then it occurred to me. This was one of those mirror things happening. The cartoonist is exactly right. My faith cant be rationally explained to the satisfaction of most. It’s about faith, not rational explanation. And Jesus and Mo digging their heels in, with a whole “dont go gettin all up on your high heels questioning ME …girly” tone. That is precisely the Jesus that we-the-church have presented to the world for generation after generation.
Her question is valid. Why should we impose our tenets of faith on the rest of the population and force them to follow them through legislative means and restrictions?
But, Neil! Surely we-the-church don’t do THAT!
No? Then what about marriage equlity? Why do we so, stridently and, yes, even militantly dig our heels in and oppose the inevitable social change that society itself is demanding. Why do we-the-church campaign against it as if our very lives depended on it. I dont think that is what Jesus would do, but it is what we-the-church are doing. And we-the-church get REALLY upset if anyone dare question our actions.
What is so sad is that we-the-church are supposed to represent Jesus, we are supposed to be the mouthpeice of Jesus!
So, the mirror was held up and I got offended…I didnt like what i saw. Coz I saw ME!
The barmaid continues…
So, the church uses existing legislative frameworks to demand that Gay people not be allowed to marry. But, when it comes to legislation that protects the rights of marginalised groups in society, we-the-church, wash our hands and say “count me out”. My religion doesn’t allow me to follow those anti discimination laws or basic international justice documents like the Declaration of Human Rights. As ridiculous at that sounds, that the church of Jesus, the church of LOVE, should wash its hands of its responsibility to act justly to the people under its care, we do just that.
The church is a powerful political lobby group. Don’t believe for a moment the idea that the church is some oppressed group on the brink of martyrdom. We have sheilded ourselves from our responsibilities to not discriminate against the gay people in our church’s employ, by demanding that we be excluded from anti discrimination laws on religious grounds. And so powerful is the church’s voice, and so frightened are the politicians of the political power from the pews, that this insanely unjust demand is agreed to.
Yup..I see the mirror… and I dont like it. I see we-the-church and I see our hard hearted, stubborn and unloving attitudes put into the mouth of Jesus. And it makes me embarrased and upset and even a little angry. I just have to remember who it is that I should be angry at. Don’t you think?…we-the-church?
My second mirror story involved someone else. It seems that 2 people in commenting on my last post got a bit hot under the collar. Lets call them B1 and B2. B1 talked about original sin in defense of the traditional church view opposing homosexuality and declaring it sin. As a small part of his comment he stated that some original sin defects can be “fixed”. B2 got offended on behalf of the LGBT community and said the following…
“Would you like me to point out in how many ways your sexuality is warped and twisted, you as a heterosexual don’t automatically meet God’s original plan for marriage. In many many many ways you fall way out of God’s original specifications for sex and marriage. Perhaps Mr. heterosexual fix it man you had better abstain from sexual activity, including masturbation until you have been fixed. ”
Then B1 got offended by that comment and demanded that the comment, indeed, the entire thread, be removed.
What is interesting is that the things that B2 said to B1 are exactly the things that we-the-church say consistently to the LGBT community. We-the-church indeed declare their sexuality warped and twisted and outside of God’s plan for marriage and God’s original specifications for sex and marriage. We-the-church indeed demand that they follow a law induced celibacy until they are “fixed”.
And the mirror was held up and B1 didnt like what he saw. And he was angry! In his complaint, B1 said…
Well, Neil, it is now clear to me that YOU DON”T GET IT!
Well, B1, you are right. All too often i get confused. But I’m trying to get it. The bigger worry however is that we-the-church are not getting it. And, MAN O MAN, we are doing some serious damage to the name of Jesus in the mean time!