Thursday, September 5, 2013
to Remember the Oxen Cart
I was having a chat with my older son, who's 18 years old in his first year of Uni. This will be his first time of voting in the election. Here are some of Logan's feelings about the Gay Marriage Bill.
"They aren't hurting the rest of us, so if they're sticking to their monogamous relationships, why not leave them alone?... Why is it even considered a sin, when they're just minding their own business? It's way different to stealing or murder?... Isn't claiming that it's renounced in the Bible a cop-out? You see people pushing the boundaries of other parts of the Bible all the time. How many women do you see teaching men, for instance?.. I hate seeing Christians behaving like Pharisees, all self-righteous, making us look a bunch of Ned Flanders'. People elevating themselves as critics and judges of others is one thing I can't stand. Do you really think Jesus would have behaved with such disgusting intolerance as some Christians are behaving?"
I could understand all of his points, but reminded him that his antagonistic feelings toward those Christians (which are plastered all over social media generally) may not be too different from the homo-phobia he was objecting about. And I mentioned another thing which may help him try to understand the point of view of those others.
Some people feel wary about shoving aside something that is clearly renounced in the Bible just because it conveniently fits with the popular opinions of society, tolerant and generous as it may seem. When the church flows agreeably with every politically correct stance, maybe alarm bells should be making at least a bit of a tinkle. It is the narrow path, after all. Not the broad road we see every day crammed with people shouting loudly. Once we choose to ignore things because they make us look unpopular and uncool, some Christians get worried. Especially over such definite scriptures as Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1: 26-27, I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10 (for the sake of keeping this as brief as possible, I'll say look them up, if you care to.)
I remembered the unfortunate episode with that poor fellow in 2 Samuel 6. King David had ordered the Ark of the Covenant to be brought into Jerusalem. It was meant to be a joyful celebration. They set it on a new cart but along the road, one of the oxen pulling it lurched. A guy named Uzzah instinctively reached out his hand to steady the Ark and was instantly incinerated. David was understandably upset and confused. Why would God let such a tragedy happen when they were only acting out of good intentions, wanting to honour Him?
A little bit of research revealed what the problem was. David hadn't thought to consult the Scriptures about the right way to handle the Ark. The oxen cart was his own idea. A careful examination shows that he should have got a group of Levites, Kohathites specifically, to carry it with poles on their shoulders. It was a terrible disaster for Uzzah, but just a cause and effect sort of thing. It wasn't as if God had wanted it to happen and zapped Uzzah with lightning from His fingers. Clear directions had been given to divert such a catastrophe, but these had been overlooked somewhere in the archives and ignored.
I told Logan that's why others may seem nervous with the way things are heading. They may imagine a society in which gay pastors and Christian leaders are embraced, those verses are completely swept aside, yet we still feel our main aim is to honour God and attend to His word. Their concern is that one day, we may find out that we've been using an oxen cart.
It's sad to see so many Christians, who all genuinely claim to love God and want to live by His statutes, polarised by issues like this. It may do well for those with more embracing views to consider that instead of branding everybody with these misgivings as intolerant homophobes and haters, we should consider their honest feelings that as we have a Holy Book to guide us, that's exactly what it should do.They may be correct in saying that in no way does the New Testament negate the strong words of the Old Testament on this issue. Being shamed by people who confess their own faith for simply wanting to do the right thing as they see it is a shame.
I'd half expected Logan to say that Uzzah's story has nothing to do homophobia, but he just gave one of those thoughtful, non-committal types of grunts that I recognise, after all the years of living with him. It means that he can concede the point.
A tricky issue indeed, but let's keep our Christian civility intact, no matter which way we happen to see it.