Saturday, June 27, 2015

Acceptance and Tolerance

All of my life, I have sought acceptance within various venues and with various people. There have been groups that I wanted to be a part of and there have been people whose friendship I sought. About 80% of the time I was successful. I am not usually a group type person, but there were places like church and work and school where I wanted to belong, and in all these places I have found acceptance and even on my own terms for the most part. There have been people I have pursued as friends. Many wanted to know me better. Some did not. Some found me tolerable, but not acceptable to confide in very deeply. I am much the same way. It takes me awhile to trust as I have mentioned before.

There are others that I have found that did not want to accept me. In most cases, I was not upset with this. I shook the dust from my feet and I moved on. I will be the first to tell you that I am not everyone's cup of tea. It's OK. If you don't like me or approve of me for whatever the reason, that is fine. But you need to tolerate me, my opinions, my personality and who I am.

I do not expect that people be required by law to accept me, love me or even like me. In fact, please feel free to dislike me, hate my point of view and take me to task whenever you feel like it. However, please be tolerant of my continuing existence. I am a work in progress. You may never come to appreciate me as others do, but that's OK. Be tolerant.

That's where I was with tolerance and acceptance yesterday before the SCOTUS decision on Same sex marriage. I can tolerate it's existence. I am one that believes the state should not be involved in anyone's marriage or marriage in general. I do not believe the state should even be involved in licensing marriage.

What is galling, what is irritating,  what is hateful is when the State tells me that mere tolerance is no longer enough. I must accept by force of law that same sex people can marry.

I will not.  I will not abide by such capricious governmental overreach.

This is not to say that I hate those of the same sex who seek marriage. Fine. Get married. Just do not knock on the door of my church to do it. If you are seeking Jesus, come on in. If you are seeking salvation come on in.

But if you are seeking approval for your sinful behavior, my church is not the place to do that. There are places you can go. There are places you will receive acceptance as a gay couple. Please go there. Go with my best wishes. Know that I tolerate your right to do as you please in this regard, but you must cut me the same tolerance. I have a position too. You must make room for that position.

I have read much and studied much in regard to what the church's position should be on same sex marriage and sexual activity. I am still not convinced that this can be tolerated inside a Bible believing church. I have read many arguments from scripture right down to the original Greek. I still cannot get past the fact that our freedom from sin does not give us license to behave as we please; even when that behavior seems natural to those experiencing the desire. It is not. The flesh is bent. It must be controlled. It may seem like a big burden, but if you are a Christian, you know you have to give it up for the Man that really cares about you.

A couple of books that discuss the issue with a view toward acceptance are "Torn" by Justin Lee and "Bible, Gender and Sexuality" by James Brownson.   

Justin Lee is a very likable guy. He does a good job of presenting both sides of the same sex marriage issue in an evangelical church context. He is southern baptist. His father is a pastor. Justin has several videos on You Tube that are entertaining and informative. He also operates GCN - The Gay Christian Network. He is always fair and tolerant of other points of view. I just happen to think he is wrong. God will be our judge.

James Brownson is a professor of New Testament at the Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He has a Reformed Church background and also a gay son. He works from the original New Testament language (Greek) to tell us that Paul did not mean what we all think he meant in Romans and the Corinthian letters. He still leaves me unconvinced. Again, God will be the judge of that.  

Bottom line...please feel free to live as you like. Please know that I wish you the best, but do not expect me to condone or accept what you are doing. You do not need my acceptance anyway right? I do not need yours either. But we can try to tolerate each other while we share the planet. God will sort it all out one way or the other. If I am wrong, you will have my profound apologies. If you are wrong....well, God will take your situation into account.    

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