I’ve decided to forego any silly titles for this post and jump right to the legitimacy of what I want to convey with it. This will be a pretty controversial post to most of the people I’d hope would read it, but I promise it comes from the sincerest of hearts in the direction of caring and loving all people.
Over the course of my life I’ve developed certain opinions about life and government and religion and how they all interplay with each other. At one time I was very willfully turning my life against G-d. I thought I knew better and that I had an idea of a better way for people to live. As time went on I counted myself back in the G-d camp and became a rather proud nationalistic patriot. I had even toyed with the idea of a tattoo of an American flag crossed with an Irish flag and something along the lines of a Templar shield in the foreground. A few years later I started getting sucked back into the ideas of pacifism. I started to not understand how people (especially people who claimed to be followers of Christ) could willingly (almost excitedly) go to war against another nation. All people are people. G-d loves all people. He wants to save all people! The great commission doesn’t just include the people we want to see saved, we are called to spread love to all the world. With that being said, why would we willingly engage in violent combat against the people we are commissioned to spread G-d’s love to?
Along this last tangent, and in conjunction to it, I’ve come to learn that my beliefs and understanding of what I read in the Bible are not something new, or that I’m the first person to feel this way. In fact quite the opposite is true…
In the year 1525 there were a group of people who disagreed with the state of the “Christian” church at the time, Catholic and Protestant alike. These people were not so affectionately named “Anabaptists” which means to be baptized again. The term comes from the fact that early Anabaptists actually rejected the concept of infant baptism and believed strictly in a believer’s baptism (which is to say you get baptized when you accept Christ’s saving work on the cross) and so were baptized as adults.
I have come to associate my beliefs with the Anabaptists. I believe baptism should be reserved for repentant adults. Yeshua, after all, wasn’t baptized until He was in His adult years. As explained in greater detail above, I’m a hardened pacifist, which is another primary point to the Anabaptist structure.
I’m sure you’re wondering what all this has to do with marriage, particularly the related subject of the American Supreme Court looking to make their decision on same-sex marriage rights. I promise you I will be getting to that shortly!
Another important part of what has come to define my beliefs as a follower of Christ is the fact that no person, community, people group, state, country or empire has any more right to dictate to another person what they can or can not do. The “state” (to use the standard term to identify governmental powers) has tried for century upon century to dictate to people on all sides of the religious fence how they should live their lives. The intermingling of the church and the state have made this so much more grotesque. Under the mask of “religious fervor” people have waged crusades and inquisitions in the attempt to “save souls” by torturing and even murdering people. The state with the church’s aid have made a business out of telling people about the things they need to not do to satisfy G-d’s wrath.
I’d like to posit that G-d never told people they were flat-out restricted from anything.
Now before you get all hot in your pre-destinationalist, Calvinist pants, let me present the story of the garden of Eden. If you recall, the tree of which Adam and Eve were told not to eat from was not locked away in some far-off corner of the garden, but right in the middle of the garden, unprotected by any Heavenly host. G-d didn’t restrict the first father and mother from access to what G-d knew was bad for them, he gave them access to it with the warning that it would not be good for them. Ultimately Eve and then Adam partake of the fruit. Again, G-d didn’t come in and tear them apart. He expressed disappointment and continued love. To further exemplify the concept of free will, G-d allowed His creation to exist with all restrictions off. The Bible tells stories and heavenly beings having children with humans (no, really) and it isn’t until after this takes place for an unknown amount of time that God was displeased with His creation. He decided to forewarn one family and destroy the rest of creation with a great flood. If there was no room for free will, then why would G-d have let humanity exist in the capacity it had, for as long as it had only to come near to complete eradication of it? I know many people will argue that He does those things for His honor, so his grace can be seen in these things. But we don’t know how bad it all actually was. The Bible doesn’t describe the complete situation so we can’t take a snapshot of before and after to compare. The simple fact is the G-d of heaven created something and gave it the free will to do as it pleased until it went too far.
Now this is not to limit the scope of G-d’s knowledge and power. I’m going to borrow Greg Boyd’s illustration of G-d as a cosmic chess player. In chess, many people map out the game in their heads. They can see many moves ahead of their current move and keep track of all the options their opponent has in the game. Some people can even picture the options their opponent has and devise strategies for becoming victorious in the long run. I like to imagine G-d as this cosmic chess player that can see all the possible moves Satan has available to him at every step of the game, and that He knows exactly what move he has to make, based on whatever path Satan takes to become victorious at the ultimate end of the game. See, while G-d has to wait for Satan to make a move, He always knows what the next move is and therefore will be victorious, but only after Satan (or even the people He’s given free will to) make a decision as to where to go or what to do.
To reel this all back in, G-d has given people the ultimate right to do as they wish. Because of that, no government or ruling class has any right to dictate what ANYONE can or can not do. I understand that concept infuriates a lot of people, and probably more so than the idea of not wanting to bomb a Muslim nation, but it feels like simple logic to me.
However, not all things lawful are beneficial. I believe in ultimate freedoms to do whatever you wish, but those freedoms include the freedom to make poor decisions. I believe in the Bible. I believe what the Bible teaches about same-sex relationships. I DON’T believe it is man’s job to right the wrongs of decisions against G-d’s will with hate speech or violence. G-d doesn’t gay-bash G-d loves all people. Yeshua didn’t die on a cross for straight people, Yeshua died on a cross for all people.
Man has been given the opportunity to trust in the creator of the universe or to find their own way in it. People aren’t punished for not doing what G-d wants, they suffer consequences for doing things G-d warned them would be detrimental.
I truly love all people. I do my best to live like Yeshua did and care for everyone equally without hesitation for any reason. G-d simply wants what’s best for His people. If you’re reading this you’re one of those people. That person you work with or go to school with that you may not like for wanting to marry someone of the same-sex as them; they’re one of G-d’s people too. Show love. Show compassion and humility. Afterall, there are battles that everyone of every sexual orientation should be fighting against, but I’ll save my rant about the worldwide epidemic of human trafficking for another rant. 😉