Thoughts and Introspections, Part 1: Voices from the WordPress Community

The past few days have seen a lot of thinking on my part about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

I usually make a point of not prompting political discussions here at WP, if only because they so easily devolve into raised tempers and polemics.  But the issue at hand is not political.  It is social.  It is ethical.  For people of any faith, from atheism to Christianity, it is also spiritual.

This is an issue about which I am still not finished praying and thinking.  I cannot disagree with what is in the Bible and the Catechism if I truly believe them to be the divinely inspired Word of God and the definitive reference of what can be interpreted from it, respectively.  Nevertheless, I don’t believe I have grounds to object to the Supreme Court’s ruling.  We do live in a country based on a secular, democratic civil government, and I cannot expect the State to adhere to my religious beliefs.

Really, that’s no longer relevant.  What has been decided has been decided, and it ain’t gonna change.  What is important now is how we, as Christians, respond.  I hate that the issue has already passed from the 72-hour span during which our intellectually crippled mass media is capable of remembering anything that has ever happened in the world, but it has taken me this long to formulate a response.  I post this because there are still questions I need to ask myself, and perhaps that others have yet to ask themselves.  In the hope of formulating at least some sort of guideline for beginning to answer these questions.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce several viewpoints from other bloggers I have found throughout the WordPress community.  My method of researching these opinions was, I admit, not very thorough.  I browsed through the “Christianity” tag on WP a few days back, curating posts written across roughly an 8 hour time span.  As such, there are probably many other thought-provoking posts I haven’t read.  So, if you like, I encourage you to browse through looking for posts on the topic as well.  You may come across some real gems.  I also encourage you to read the posts I quote below in their entirety.  They are most certainly

What follows are three points made by some fellow WP bloggers on the subject of Christianity and the legalization of same-sex marriage that I found novel and/or thought-provoking and which approach the issue with understanding, with a few more to follow in my next post.  They are points I probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.  We all gaze from a window at the same vista, as it were, but we often see it more clearly through others’ eyes.

Without further ado:

1. Understand What Compassion Is, and Practice It

Emmy Potter, of The Art of Making Art, writes:

“This is the moment, like the one I had with my best friend all those years ago, that Christians have a choice in how we respond to those who are reaching out to us, and I fear many of us are going to choose the wrong response. Some of us already have.

“Being compassionate doesn’t mean you are condoning the words and actions of another. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with anything. Being compassionate means putting someone else’s feelings above your own. It means listening and seeking to understand another person’s sufferings as best as you can totally free of judgment.” [1]

Compassion.  Oh, compassion.  I really believe this is essential to approaching all the complicated social, economic, and geological quandaries we are faced with today.

Potter’s definition of compassion is as accurate as it is well-written, and, as she goes on to note, it is this type of love — compassion — that Christ best exemplified when He sacrificed Himself for you, for me, for all of humanity on Calvary.  We are called to the same.  Even if one is against the Supreme Court ruling and feels as though the world is against them, Potter writes, “The irony is that is exactly how the LGBT community has felt for hundreds of years. It is how I feel sometimes as a woman in this country. It is how my African American friends feel. We’re all in this thing together, and the sooner we start treating one another that way with true compassion, the better off we are in the end.”

2. Recognize Our Shared Brokenness and Continue Our Mission of Love

rab0325 writes:

“I don’t really care about your supposed sexual identity or whether you are straight or homosexual or black or white or Latino or Indian or some other race or culture. When I look at you, yeah I see all that stuff and I’m human so I have first thoughts and first opinions, but I start processing immediately and working to set all that aside. Because when I look at you, when I really look at you what keeps me awake at night… what I lose sleep over and think about day in and day out and cry over and worry over and constantly go to God with… is your life, is your salvation, is your deliverance, is your healing, is your faith, is your forgiveness, is your broken heart, is your unfed soul, is your broken spirit, is your lost loved ones, is the thing you weep over, is the thing you hurt most for, is the pain and suffering you have endured… I could go on and on because I know it’s tough out there and this is a cruel world in many ways, but what I break over the most – and this is me being me – it’s your identity in Christ.” [2]

This very much goes hand in hand with compassion.  We are all broken; there is no denying that.  Compassion should lead us to this next step, which rab0325 describes so passionately: solidarity.  Ministry.  Reaching out to hold the hand of our brothers and sisters.

“Your rights won’t save you. New laws in your land won’t save you. New “love” or a rallied around flag won’t save you. Oh, and by the way, your church won’t save you either” rab0325 goes on.  “Our hearts still need to break and bleed for the lost. So join with me again, let’s take our eyes off the rainbows and the running colors of old red and blue conspiracies and let’s join hands and get back into the battle for souls. The hurting and the needy didn’t go away this past month, they went unnoticed.”  We can’t ignore issues like this, but we can’t get caught up either.  We’ve got a mission to do.

3. Stop Acting Like Bratty Schoolchildren, No Matter What Side You’re On

Cody Paige writes:

“I saw people reduce themselves to bratty schoolyard children and felt disheartened on so many levels. There was very little pure respect and compassion for others, that I witnessed. It was just so hateful, even if you were happy with Gay Marriage being legalized. No one could see past the passion of their beliefs to see what was going on.

“It was like now we all have to fill out a checklist of things we agree with or disagree with to be friends. Don’t agree with me? Well then, I’m done with you.” [3]

Fellowship, compassion, solidarity…  These should not be based on some checklist of beliefs.  And there were without doubt childishly mean-spirited remarks exchanged this past weekend.  But perhaps the most damning line (and rightly so) I have read in anything written on the subject was this:

“Yesterday wasn’t a victory in my eyes simply because of how we treated each other. Our true colors showed, and it wasn’t a pretty picture.”

Whatever side you find yourself on, no matter the issue, loses when compassion is forgotten.  Ouch.  It’s a reminder I know I could use.  Heck, it means I even have to show compassion towards people who don’t use serial commas, and that’s sure asking a lot.

I agree.  This can’t be seen as a victory when its aftermath was so… unloving.  The good news is that we are always, always given a second chance.  So let’s learn from our mistakes, and move forward in love.  Let’s not repeat this.

This has been a long post, but I’m so grateful to you for sticking around until the end.  I sincerely hope you got something out of this endeavor in making sense of my thoughts and the world.  If there is anyone of LGBT identity reading this, I understand that the world, orthodox Christians included, is often unkind to you.  Be patient with us, try to understand where we’re coming from, and you have my word that I will do the same for you.   Disagreement may or may not be erased, but it is only ever resolved through dialogue, gentleness, and respect.  That, I am convinced, is truly when love wins.

And above all else, pray always.

Pax vobiscum,

Luke

Works Cited

1.  Potter, Emmy.  “Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Compassion.”  The Art of Making Art.  28 June 2015.  Online.

2.  rab0325.  “Battle Lines Made of Rainbows, Flags, Hearts and Souls… Thoughts for the Journey.”  A Journey – Life Should Be a Journey.  28 June 2015.  Online.

3.  Paige, Cody.  “We Are a Bunch of Bratty School Kids.”  Cody Paige Blog.  28 June 2015.  Online.

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts and Introspections, Part 1: Voices from the WordPress Community

  1. Hey Luke

    Good collection of stuff there, thanks for putting it together. This is a tough situation, and will likely get tougher. I have many thoughts about the issue, as you can probably guess since you know I am from an evangelical background. Obviously I believe homosexuality to be a sin in the eyes of God. At the same time, we can’t legalize this issue away, and I get that.

    You know how I feel about reaching out and personally evangelizing people, and I think that is the solution. If we want to change the world, we have to get people changed. Not governments, but individuals. I think that, if over the past decades as this decision crept upon us, if we had been out talking to people about sin, repentance and forgiveness because of the wonderful love our God, things might be different. And that will continue to be my focus and my effort. I can’t change the government, heck I can’t even get in to see that president of ours LOL. But I can jolly well take a jaunt down to my neighbors house and tell him about Jesus.

    Peace and blessing to you brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Well said, Luke. I agree with all of that. Compassion is what is so needed, but beyond even all of that, is Love. That seems to be so lacking among the “Christians” who respond to this decision with so much anger, and self righteousness. This is not how Christ would respond to this issue. This was not how Christ ever responded toward us oh so human people. The other thing that I think is lacking, is a total trust in God. He has it under control. We must trust that whatever happens is in His hands. We must have that peace inside of us that the world cannot give. Take a breath everybody. Step away from this issue if you cannot respond with compassion and love and prayers. (SORRY about the lack of commas) .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, well… for real though. Commas, commas, and commas. 🙂 God bless you too.
      (Yeah, I always feel the need to add “literally” to LOL too. It rarely means what it says these days.)

      Like

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