Thursday, January 31, 2008

When Religion Becomes Disturbing

This week in the series, Life's Toughest Questions, I will be addressing human sexuality and its effect on our relationship with God and with others. I am nervous about dealing with these issues because their is so much emotion wrapped up on both sides of the discussion. To me, the concept of sexual morality is far deeper than homosexuality, yet that is inevitably what is brought up during any conversation involving human sexuality.

One of the reasons there is so much emotion regarding this issue is because of the negative way the church has portrayed itself to the world as it speaks about this issue. For some reason, the dominant theme that people hear from the church is one of condemnation and sometimes hate. That is incredibly wrong coming from a community of faith. Take this story as an example.

Basically, an extreme group picketed Heath Ledger's memorial service because of his role on Brokeback Mountain. These are the same people who picket the funerals of returning soldiers holding signs that say, "You deserved it." Incredible callousness and honestly, evil. Regardless of your feelings about that movie, I hope that we all see that such activity only spreads a message of hate that is destructive to people. Click on that link, search for the church name on Google, then look at the web address. Is that the message that is intended to be sent to a broken world? This is what happens when people use religion as a weapon to hurt and destroy.

Does God hate people who disagree with him? I don't think so. 1 Peter says that God is patient with all of us because He doesn't want anyone to be lost. Ezekiel 18 tells us that God finds no pleasure in the punishment of even the worst people. Of course, the famous verse John 3:16 tells us that God's driving motivation in sending Jesus was his love for everyone. Everyone!

That tells me that we have an incredibly important responsibility as the church here on earth. We are to be ambassadors for God, sharing the good news about the love and compassion of God. If you are reading this, chances are good that I have no clue about your beliefs on sexual morality. I want you to know that I do have beliefs regarding what is pure sexual behavior, and I will share those on Sunday at Higher Calling and here as well. If you are a follower of Christ, know that truth and compassion CAN exist together. Being right does not mean you lose compassion, and being right is not the highest goal in faith. The highest goal, as always, is love. Without love, all of the knowledge, passion, intellect, and faith in the world is meaningless.

I feel fortunate to be a part of a community of faith that realizes you can believe in the truth and yet show compassion for everyone. I hope to see you on Sunday!


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Such hatred. What are people thinking? I have never read anything about God hating people in the bible. And what about not judging? I think those signs are very judgemental.

Zac said...

What are people thinking? I don't know. A lot of people are motivated by spite and hate, and unfortunately, a lot of people get an image of God in their minds from this type of talk.

God certainly challenges His people and the world to a higher standard. He is the Judge, and we as people begin to take on his role, bad things can happen.

Our reaction to sinful humanity should always be the All too often though, we as people get an idea in our heads that we are the ones who tell the world they are wrong.

Eh, I have a lot of thoughts on this. I know other people do as well. I hope everyone is there to hear the final product on Sunday.

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