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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the Truth will set you free...

I've been extremely hesitant to enter into any discussion about current politics because frankly any online debate or "comment war" on any website or forum I've been to seems a bit beneath me and honestly even beneath the subject matter.  I hate the notion that fighting for "tolerance" includes arguing, bickering, name-calling, hatred or any other negative reaction toward one another.  It seems like the biggest oxymoron there is: the biggest hypocritical sentiment in the world--"I hate you because you're intolerant".  I'm not quoting anybody directly, but the sentiment is there whenever you go to those places.  So frankly, I haven't gone and if I do happen upon such a discussion I find it better not to respond.  Even if I give the most objective, loving, open-minded opinion I know that I'm just chiming in on a bash war that I don't think anyone really has any intention of learning anything from or in having their eyes opened at all to the other side of the discussion.  
    Although there is a lot to discuss in the current/recently past election, I am mainly talking about the discussion on marriage and family and the propositions that have been passed to protect those institutions.  I just think that if two people sitting at their computers sending "you're a bigot", "you're a whoremonger" messages to each other were suddenly to drop dead and their spirits were shortly thereafter to meet in the next realm and they were to recognize themselves as the glorified beings they once were before coming to earth and experiencing the Fall and possibly to recognize one another as beings they one knew and loved, they wouldn't be continuing their discussion in heated fury.  I know I'd want to be embracing that person and not having to say, "I'm sorry I vandalized your sign" or "I'm sorry I called you all of those nasty things".  
    I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in having a difference of opinion and in voting based on your values whatever they may be.  I think you SHOULD take a stance for what you believe in.  But I think you also SHOULD be respected for that decision and ANY decision you make based on your values should come out of a place of love and acceptance for God's children and, for me, also a love of God and a desire to keep His commandments and be immovable in His kingdom (although I know that's not everyone's value system).  So to accuse each other of being "haters" or "ignorant" just seems to defeat one of the most important values which is to love one another.  I don't think God would be happy seeing His children hate each other in His name---whether you're voting for "equality" or "family".
Someone in my e-mail list sent me this link a few weeks ago and I found this video to be quite interesting.  Now, I can't say I stand completely behind the tone of this message.  Ideally, I would want it to sound a little more inviting, but these men speak about the difference between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement.  I feel like they have more of a right to speak about it because they are all minorities when it comes to race, which I am not.  I mostly posting this for what Bishop G.A. Thompson of the Jubilee Christian Church in Boston, MA says at the end starting at about 3:35.  So if you don't care to hear all of it, I would just forward to there.  I don't know this person, but I feel like he says it like it is, and he seems like someone who is not a respecter of persons, who can find it in his heart to love all men and still call what is right right and what is wrong wrong.  Click here to view.

I often think about what Christ would be doing in this situation.  What would He be telling us, how would He have voted?  (Although I think if He were here in all His glory, we'd be looking to Him for leadership, not to someone else)  I don't understand the Christians whose sentiment is (roughly summarized)---I believe what the Bible says about loving one another more than what it says about homosexual sin so I'm going to go ahead and say that it's okay with me and it's okay with God for someone to live a homosexual lifestyle, because He loves all His children.  I understand this sentiment, partially because I would like to stand in the middle ground too and not deal with controversy from either side.  It's easier to be luke-warm isn't it?  I just don't get why the two ideas can't co-exist.  Why can't God have meant what he said about homosexual sin and meant what He said about loving all His children?   Why can't people see that this isn't or SHOULDN'T be about hating someone for the way they choose to live their life, but that it's about upholding a sacred institution that is essential for our exaltation and eternal joy.  I once heard in a religious talk, "it's unfortunate when people know enough about the gospel to feel the guilt, but not enough about it to feel the joy".   I don't think God's plan is to condemn us or to thrust us down to hell just for having carnal desires, but it's to uplift us and bring us to joy and salvation.  And I think if we look at it that way, we're not going to be hating anyone because of sin, we're hoping for redemption--for others and for ourselves.  
   When contemplating this issue of hating the sin, but not the sinner, I think of the story of the woman who was condemned before the council of men for having committed adultery and when she was brought before Christ He didn't condemn her or judge her, but told her to go and sin no more.  But He didn't say, I don't judge you...go and do whatever you please.  

There is so much more I could elaborate on this.  I just think we need to see it for what it is.  We need to do things out of love, and serve one another and remember that God isn't sitting up on his throne condemning us, but He's inviting us to come to Christ and be redeemed so we can be in His kingdom and He can give us all that He has.  He knows what will bring us the most joy and what will set us free.  I think if He wanted to condemn us and expected us to not sin, He wouldn't have sent his Son to die for us.  So of course He knows we're going to sin and of course He knows we will fail, but He's provided us with a way--Christ.

At the beginning of this election, I found myself pretty lukewarm on this issue.  I know what the Bible teaches, but I couldn't imagine taking away anyone's rights and how does it affect me anyway?  I have been searching for answers diligently since then.  And maybe my answers aren't the same as yours, but if you aren't sure how you feel about it, I would invite you to do the same.  I hope I don't offend anyone with this post...but then again, I'm just speaking from my heart from a very sincere and loving place and I don't think anyone can argue with that.

I read this quote by Neal A. Maxwell today, an apostle of the church who passed away about 4 years ago, before any of what is going on in our country was quite as relevant.  And yet, what he says is so spot on for today and how we are reacting as members of the church.

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency.  Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions.  President Marion G Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life.'

This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked.  In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ... Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted...This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious conviction.

Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive...Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened...Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost.  Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel.  There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do.  We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself.  Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.'  Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."

--Elder Neal A. Maxwell

I hate that we as people are becoming so divided over this issue, but the prophets of old and new have told us it would happen.  I just hope that we can continue to love and support one another although we disagree.  

Thanks for indulging me with my thoughts,


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