I was browsing the internet today and I came upon a blog that was centered around California’s Supreme Court ruling to overturn a ban on same-sex marriage. Needless to say, there were a number of posts that condemned homosexuals and the society that affirms them. There were, of course, no legal reasons given for why homosexuals shouldn’t marry. But there was an overflow of religious rhetoric from Sodom and Gommorah to the Pauline letters. After I read all that I could stomach, I wrote a response that you can read below:

I find it interesting how people cling to the Bible and accuse others that they are choosing to distort the Word of God, yet they don’t adhere to the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If one is going to be a literalist, then one must take EVERY scripture literally. If one believes that homosexuality is an abomination and should be avoided like the plague because of scripture then one must also adhere entirely to these scriptures:

And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you (Lev. 11:10)

The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean (Lev. 11:26)

Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD (Lev. 19:27)

Ye shall keep my statutes… thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee (Lev. 19:19)

And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. (Lev. 14:16)

These are a FEW of the laws in Leviticus alone that are no longer taken literally today. For those non-King James readers, basically it is an abomination to eat shellfish, unclean to eat pork and beef, a sin to shave and get tattoos and punishable by death to curse. There are hundreds of other laws in the Bible that I could pull out that society no longer views as relevant.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion concerning homosexuality. However, in order for one’s opinion to have any validity, there must be consistency. If you believe in the Law, follow it. It becomes disrespectful to God, not to mention the Jewish community, to use the law for the purpose of condemnation. Even Jesus said,

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matt. 23:13)

God did not create humankind to see if we could follow a rulebook. God sent us to perpetuate the very existence of God: Love. While we are sitting in the comfort of our homes debating on whether my lifestyle is right or wrong, there are children dying. There are homeless people in our own neighborhoods. The ultimate commandment is to love the LORD our God with all are heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is not our place to say what is desirable in the sight of God. It is our place to love unconditionally.

If you’re a literalist, praise God for you. If not, praise God for you. The important thing is to remain consistent with your belief and to always remember why Christ came and suffered. Not for us to argue about who’s right and who’s wrong, but to love without condition.

God’s Peace…

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Along with the rest of America, I am deeply saddened by the horrifying events that took place at Virginia Tech. It would be quite difficult for one to not feel such an abrupt and tremendous loss. As a college student, as an American and, most importantly, as a Christian, there are several things that disturbed me about this massacre.

As a student, I am very concerned about the safety of our campuses. I don’t understand how it was possible for one man to be able to kill so many people and no one stopped him. He shouldn’t have been able to make it on the campus with those weapons in the first place. During my time at Morehouse College, I heard far too many stories of robberies, shootings and killings in the Atlanta University Center area. Just a few weeks ago there was an incident at Xavier University in Louisiana in which a campus security officer pulled a gun out on a student and one of the deans advised some students who reported it to “forget what they saw.” There has been a ridiculous history of bashings, hate crimes and irrational acts of violence on our college campuses. We need to stand up and demand more security at our schools. Our primary focus should be our education. We shouldn’t have to worry about the risk of losing our lives by simply going to class, or to a study session or even to a friend’s dorm room. We need to question our administrations and challenge them to come up with better standards for our security.

As an American, I am disappointed in our media. I do understand the necessity to keep the American people knowledgeable of the most recent information about this tragedy. However, this “around-the-clock” coverage seems to be more about capturing ratings than providing pertinent information. I have seen countless interviews of people who were in no way related to the incident, but are in some way considered “experts.” This insensitive form of capitalism is not what those who were victimized deserve. This over-sensationalism is desensitizing the American people. The more we are fed this “breaking news” or “exclusive coverage,” the less we are focused on the lives lost and the families hurt. We are becoming too intrigued by the “untold story” and the “never before seen footage.” This happens all too often when America is faced with tragedy. If we continue in this pattern, soon we will be unfazed by stories such as this and that eventuality is frightening.

As a Christian, specifically as a follower of the Christ Principle of unconditional love, I am saddened by the neglect we exhibit to one another. This travesty could have possibly been avoided if we spent more time loving one another and expressing genuine concern for each other. It has become too common for one to respond to another person’s concerns by giving their own problems and concerns, as if theirs are more valid or important. We have this idea that we are the only person in the world with struggle and we ignore the struggle of others. Interestingly enough, we all hate to be ignored. This selfishness is not the example we were called to follow. Never once did Jesus say, “Well, I have my own problems. I’m facing death on a cross, so I don’t know what to tell you, blind man.” He unselfishly looked into the hearts of others and became an exemplary inspiration for the disenfranchised. When we shun the broken-spirited, they will need some way to express their pain. Unfortunately, these expressions are usually hurtful and harmful. It is our responsibility as spreaders of the Good News to live into the example set for us by Christ. We must show compassion and love for one another. We need to be cognizant when one of our fellow humans are in distress and aid them whenever and however we can. When we show compassion to others, they will be inclined to express that same compassion to those that come to them in need. If we continue in this cycle of compassion then we would have far less to fear or worry about.

As you continue on your life journey, remember that you are not alone. There are others here to build you up, and you have the same responsibility to build them up. We must be there for one another and do our best to preserve the safety of our communities. We must be more sympathetic of the grief that comes from tragedy. Prayerfully, there will be a time when we won’t have to suffer these types of losses, but not before we come together in unity with the spirit of love.

God’s Peace…

Br. Ashton J. Reynolds, OPC