Two men walked into Church holding hands the other day... They may have been a joke 30 years ago, but today it is a real life picture all across the world.
We live in a time of dysfunction. Yesterday's normal has become today's abnormality. .Same sex marriage just a few years ago was abnormal. Today there is a push to make this not only normal, but the ruling subject for many years to come. What does the Church have to say on this issue.
As a preacher-pastor, I believe there is a proper separation between Church and state. There was a time in history where the church and the state were bedfellows. I do not long for the return and rule of Christian colonization or any other singular religious rule by government. Tolerance and religious freedoms are the foundations of a great civilization. In that spirit, I agree with the opinion of my friend Reverend Otis B. Moss III pastor in an open letter to clergyman:
"The question I believe we should pose to our congregations is, "Should all Americans have the same civil rights?" This is a radically different question than the one you raised with the ministers, "Does the church have the right to perform or not perform certain religious rites." There is a difference between rights and rites. We should never misconstrue rights designed to protect diverse individuals in a pluralistic society versus religious rites designed by faith communities to communicate a theological or doctrinal perspective. These two questions are answered in two fundamentally different arenas. One is answered in the arena of civic debate where the Constitution is the document of authority. The other is answered in the realm of ecclesiastical councils where theology, conscience and biblical mandates are the guiding ethos. I do not believe ecclesiastical councils are equipped to shape civic legislation nor are civic representatives equipped to shape religious rituals and doctrine."- excepted from Otis B Moss III
I agree with this statement in the sense of "fighting" and voicing from the place of your arena of "rites". I believe we as modern day prophet-priest are anointed to speak words of change and truth. The right word emotionally charged and rooted in truth has the power to not only change the human heart and families but our entire world including the laws of America. We must speak. We must act. We must be the voice of Christ in a dark world!
What is the Church? The Church is the only source able to check and reign in governmental over reach and societal regress as we pray, worship, voice our opinions and move Christians to petition for office. We must speak even if it means being a lone voice in the crowd speaking truth. As I move forward, I applaud my brother in Chicago for taking a position and many others for supporting what they deem to be "right".
Church is a place where bring their opinions and experiences into the melting pot of God. Church is also a place where the single truth of Jesus is the final opinion to which we all aspire. It takes time to appropriate truth in one's life. Do we wait until we get right to come to church? Do we church our real selves at the door and place upon hypocrisy? No We bring who and where we are to Church. It is at Church we hear the voice of God as the great framer of the debate.
The Catholic Church teaches it is wrong for a man in high spiritual office to have a wife. This same Church communicates St. Peter as its revered first Bishop, yet he had a wife. The marginalized extremes of celibacy are wrong just as preaching all "gays" go to hell. I think the Church speaks today, yet in very small marginalized circles. The Church and its clergy must learn to engage today's society.
Unless the spiritual community comes back to the center of discussion, we will lose the "right" to be heard. Embracing from all walks of life is the Christian way. Compassionate embrace is not equated to the condoning of certain actions as right. What is family? Who has the right to have a family? As Jesus was teaching, and in the company of his disciples his familial circle awaited which some expected would produce preference in his spirit and Jesus responded as thus:
But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."- Luke 18:21
This term of Family is a broad term for you and I to explore this week. In this lesson, we address four specific relational families: The Committed Family (marriage), The Contextual Family (Biology), The Church Family (Spiritual Affinity) and The Chosen Family (Friends).
First, you have the right to choose to whom you will be friends. I have those in the LGBT whom are I consider friends. I hope you too chose to reach beyond the lines of your own comfort zone with a spirit of open-mindedness.
Second, the Church is to accept all persons. We will remove a gay couple, yet allow the philandering adulterer to remain? Matthew 7:1 tells us not to judge lest ye be judged. Will one from the LBGT community make it to heaven? It's about Christ being in your life not rightness of behavior in every area of life. Romans 8:11 says there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. Is this a license to sin? No. I simply believe the bible teaches one single regression does not discredit you as a child of God. The bible teaches homosexuality as wrong. That is a fact. The bible teaches many acts and behaviors as wrong- many of which I am guilty. The bible also teaches grace and redemption. I believe the LBGT lifestyle is not supported by the scriptures, yet at the same time I do not believe one single lifestyle act will exclude you from heaven. The Church is to welcome people where they are and with whom they are. I like to say, If you can take my bible based preaching on the subject then surely your presence is welcome. The problem is the church is marginalized in its discussions or is silent altogether.
Third, the biological family is a motley mix of people. This is the arena in which God has placed each of us. We still have a percentage of those whom believe it is a sin to "marry outside your race". There is only one race, the human race. It is difficult to speak out on the LBGT issues, when we fail to educate our congregants on what comprises a "race".
In the simplest of terms. Homosexuality is a sin as the bible teaches. Marriage is exclusively a union of man and woman as the bible teaches. Can people marry? yes. Can same sex couples marry? yes. The Church is not released to condone or sanction these unions from a spiritual perspective. Society authorize any right it deems proper. The Church is charged to speak when society acts in ways that are contrary to the teachings of the bible. We can do this in love and with grace, yet truth remains truth.
In closing, it is not my job as preacher-pastor to go and stand on the steps in the halls of justice or court of congress. It is my job to inspire a people that will undoubtedly lead for Jesus Christ as members of the legislature and in the voting booth.
To Your Success!
- Pastor Sabra
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Life Lessons on the recorded miracles of Jesus Christ taught by Pastor Sabra with free video links, printable messages and downloadable group study guides radically imparting spiritual seeds of success into your life, go to pastorsabrajohnson.com/pastor-sabra-study-guides.html
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