Saturday, March 10, 2007
The Church of the Future is going to have to reckon with certain issues if it is going to have anything to do with the redemptive work of which it claims it is a part. A big one is what it will do concerning homosexuality. I’m not implying that it needs to decide if it is right or wrong. What I am saying is that the Church of the Future will need to know how to contend with the issue, because it’s not going away anytime soon. If you are a sports fan and listen to talk radio like I do, you probably heard the week-long topic of discussion of John Amaechi and Tim Hardaway. For those out of the loop, Haradway, a former NBA player, made some very strong, hateful comments toward Amaechi, after he announced he was gay. Amaechi wrote a book about his NBA career and what it was like being a homosexual in the sport. Hardaway in these words said, “I hate gay people.” One of the myriad of talking personalities during the week commented on how statements like these only serve to further the cause of the person being attacked. Amaechi comes out looking better and sells more books, while Hardaway creates a stain on his image that probably won’t ever buff out. This is a deeply polarizing issue for the Church As We Know It. But I propose that the Church of the Future not take an “us versus them” stance. Like it or not, the condition is going to be with us for a while. It will only continue to gain mainstream support, and the Church As We Know will either be backed into a corner by it, or it will learn how to be kind, compassionate and gracious, thereby proving its faith is something worth having. In the faith tradition I grew up in, there seemed to be an unwritten rule that to have compassion on someone who disagrees with your morals is to somehow compromise your own personal morality. One guy I knew wouldn’t give any help to street people because he said it wouldn’t do any good, and that it was probably their wrong choices that got them into that situation, so to give them money would just reinforce those poor decisions. He could use the Bible to reinforce his position, too.