Choosing Acceptable and Unacceptable Lifestyles

There’s a lifestyle choice that has grown in popularity over the years that I feel I must finally speak to directly. Hollywood glamorizes it, making TV shows and movies that prominently feature people living in this unbiblical, sinful way of life.  Some of the most popular actors and actresses live this way. As a Christian it’s always bothered me, but I ignored it until I became a father. Now the problem seems inescapable as I see the subtle messages of a lifestyle my children can choose later in life planted in their tiny brains against my will. A lifestyle I firmly don’t believe in. It feels like it’s creeping in and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I can’t send them to a private Christian school because they have friends in their classes whose families compose this lifestyle.

I can’t send them to church, because there are “couples” parading around throwing it in our face.

It seems like nowhere is safe. I don’t want my boys to grow up thinking this is an option for them. I don’t want them to believe that this desecration to the institution of marriage is acceptable for good Christian people who obey God’s laws. Nowhere in the Bible is it condoned. It’s a sin.

Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. It’s a covenant entered into in God’s presence. That definition should not be undone.

Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify what I’m talking about so we’re all on the same page. I want to make sure we all know I’m talking about divorce.

You thought it was that other thing didn’t you?

I have quite a few friends who are on their second marriage. For whatever reason their first attempt at happiness didn’t work out. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision and I can’t imagine going through that. I don’t want to sound flippant or callous by not understanding all the agony they went through while I sit in judgment. So I don’t.  And I hope by writing this I don’t lose them. If I lose them, it will be as tragic to me as the friends and family I have lost because of their homosexuality.   Those whom I may never cross paths with again because they don’t feel I, or more appropriately my church, will accept them without condemnation.

It’s amazing to me how the same rhetoric that’s applied to homosexuality can be applied to another area that the Bible speaks about directly and no one bats an eye. I remember growing up in the church and how big the issue of divorce was. Good Christian people didn’t get divorced. If you did, you were frowned upon. Your social status plummeted. After all, the Bible was (is) very clear that divorce was wrong. Any pastor who got divorced immediately lost their position.  I have family members who 30 years ago were kicked out of the church because they got divorced.  Today however, is a different story.  We don’t see any difference in the divorce rate among Christians and non-Christians. That crazy number of “50% of marriages end in divorce” applies to everyone. Yet, our churches doors are wide open and full of beautifully divorced and remarried individuals.

But this is the last argument I have in making my point on acceptable “lifestyles” within the church.  I’m tired of the fight that has overwhelmed Christianity.  It seems to have reached a frenzy of late.  I felt I needed to use this context in response to the broader discussions that are occurring all around us.  And to me it seems the most appropriate. No one sits around and says “I hope when my kid grows up, finds a horrible spouse, settles down, and after 3 years gets divorced.”  But when it happens we have grown as church communities to no longer alienate and condemn.

And that’s the only point I’ve ever tried to make.  To reach a moment where church communities can just openly love and support all people.  For me it’s not about identifying sin; casting judgment and blame to alienate others from hearing the gospel. Again this week I had an individual comment to me that “individuals need to be held accountable for their sin.  They must repent and seek salvation”.  But who do they repent to?  And who offers salvation?  Is it you?  Is it me?  Is it Billy Graham or Joel Osteen or TD Jakes or whoever your “holy man” on earth is?  No, there is only one from whom judgment and salvation can come, and we are nothing in comparison to His infinite wisdom.

We look past many things in our churches that are still considered sins.  But we’ve become better for not kicking teen mothers out of church for having premarital sex.  We’ve become better for not disfellowshipping divorcees.  For thousands of “Christians” to withdraw their support to sponsor children in need because of their opinion on “lifestyle choices” shows just how far we still have to come.  To withhold love and justice from those who are desperately seeking Christian community to me is sinful.  Seeking it with more heartfelt honesty than millions of Christians who walk through the doors of churches every week out of habit.

 

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