Whistling in the Dark
by Lori Heine
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37 NIV)
To my relief, the public is getting tired of the “They’re making us bake the cake” controversy. That batter has been stirred so much that it has turned into muck. I wish I could say this was happening because people are becoming aware of what’s really going on. But I don’t think that will automatically happen. Those of us who are LGBTQ Christians are going to need to make it happen.
The general public has a short attention span. Most people are easily bored. That seems to be the main reason they are ready to move on to the next media-manufactured outrage. Because they are largely lazy (or at least preoccupied), and content to be led around, they seldom connect the dots to form a complete picture. This particular picture, however, it’s important for believers in Christ’s Gospel to present--and as fully and clearly as possible.
We have a perspective on the situation that most people don’t. We’re all too well aware that some people in the churches still want us to stay out of their congregations and as far away as possible from the Christian faith. Because we’ve had to fight for our rightful place in the pews, and because we know just what we’re up against, we understand what’s happening, and why. We must not be silent. We must share that understanding far and wide.
I wish that I could simply let the controversy go. I’m as tired of it as anyone else. But those who are attempting to keep us out of the churches have inflicted grievous damage on the Body of Christ. Their temper-tantrum about the legalization of same-sex marriage has succeeded in actually pushing back our progress. One side’s loss has not been the other’s gain.
The debate is being framed as “in this corner, the Christians--who are all heterosexual and anti-gay” versus “and in that corner, the LGBTQ’s--who are all not only nonbelievers, but out to destroy the Christian faith.” By sheer, dogged repetition of this lie, anti-gay bigots have been able to frame the way the public sees the issue, and to render LGBTQ Christians practically invisible. Regardless of which side they take on the issue, a growing number of people do see it that way. In the space of about thirty months, our opponents have managed to turn the clock of public perception back thirty years.
Support for us in the churches is still growing. But no one outside those church walls would ever know this, if they listened (as too many do) to the story as framed by the mainstream media. We have some serious work to do. And this is true not only for the sake of our acceptance in the Body of Christ, but also for the sake of the Gospel God has called us to help spread. He has given us a unique and crucial calling, a ministry to those so often rejected, and we must respond to this honor--this great privilege and sacred charge--by standing up on behalf of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God.
I would love not to need to write about this subject anymore. But the situation isn’t going to change by itself. Even as the public’s attention moves on to new culture war battles, the perception that we can’t be Christians--that we are actually enemies of the faith--is hardening. It matters not only because of how we are seen, but because of how the Gospel of Christ is being seen. Those who are attempting to exclude us are grotesquely distorting Jesus’s welcome, twisting it, instead, into a message of exclusion.
A dwindling number of very noisy, self-appointed gatekeepers are trying to drive away those who would come to Christ. They’re the terrified remnants of the opposition, desperately holding down the fort. But the Church universal is not rightfully the bastion of those who are too insecure and fearful to trust in the unfathomable magnitude of God’s love. It belongs to Jesus Christ, as it is, in fact, His Body on this earth. He welcomes all who will come to Him.
Our opponents don’t want to debate us. They don’t dare, because they know they don’t have a solid case. That’s why they’re trying so hard to airbrush us out of the picture. They don’t feel the need to debate people they refuse to admit even exist.
Love is never a sin, regardless of what kind of love it happens to be. It is the refusal to love that is the sin. Those who would not welcome us are whistling in the dark. Only by refusing to be driven into the darkness, or to let the public be kept in the dark, can we be children of the light--and shine forth that light for all to see.
© 2018 Lori Heine
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