So Jeremy and I wanted to contiune our "They Hate Us and Liberty" Conversation from last week. If you did not catch it here is a link back to it, and I want to appologize in advance for the lenght of these posts, but both Jeremy and I got really into it and we hope that you chime in again with your insights.
Adam: I am really glad people like CJ are willing to hold our feet to the fire and test our faith. We could easily make all sorts of posts about faith, but never actually live out the words we write. I think it is great that people are willing to challenge each other. On some points CJ is right... I have met a handful of homosexual people in my life, and honestly I have always been too afraid to talk with them about their sexuality because I want to act normal around them, and I don’t want to offend anyone. I guess its some twisted logic of mine that I want people who are different from me to feel the same as people who are the same as me... but in that process I learn about jobs, sports, cars, etc. but I never learn about the deeper issues a person is facing. I think the point CJ makes is that we want to be loving and accepting of people, but until we stop “acting” loving and accepting and start getting to know what is going on below the surface then we will never really be able to know and love them... maybe he is right...
Jeremy: I agree. He is right in that Jesus tells us to be loving, and we should definitely do that with everyone including gays. But I also think he makes a good point, that we can say we love them, but if we don't make a little extra effort like "getting to really know one and talk to them about it", then are we really loving them or just simply "treating them normal"? Take for example my brother. I have never had a deep intimate conversation about his sexuality with him (then again, what straight brothers usually have that conversation?). I think he knows I love him, and unlike my dad and sister I have never had an argument with him about it and told him he was wrong. Plus, inviting Gary (my brothers partner) to our wedding I think was an effort of me and Jax to show that we still want them to be part of our lives even though we don't agree. I remember the rest of my family all reacting funny when we told them we were inviting Gary. I’m not trying to buff myself up, but all to say, I think we were making an effort, but I still haven’t gone as far as CJ has described with asking the hard, personal questions.
And the following is probably a good indicator as to why I should ask:
“I don't want to because I know it could make me uncomfortable.”
Adam: I think in some measure you are right in loving your brother and Gary without asking tough questions about their sexuality... I mean you know they are gay... so I don't know if there is a need to go past that... now you may want to talk to your brother about how he discovered his sexuality... or if something like your parents divorce had something to do with it, but I think those are questions about people and not questions about sexual preference... in the end the only difference between you and he is your fondness for the fairer sex right?
It was either Peter or Paul who said that we as Christians should focus on what is good, pure, beautiful, fare, just, etc. in our pursuit of peace, and I think the same holds true with anyone who you interact with... your focus should not be what their sins are or what your differences’ are, but instead your focus should be what is good, beautiful, and pure in them. We are all God's creation and on that level we are all equal.
I don't think we need to speak anymore about Dr. Falwell since that topic has been so overdone of late. So let’s move past that to an interesting point. Several people who commented made reference to living like Christ, and how if we lived like Christ then we would be respected and loved. I have a few thoughts on that. One it is interesting how a conversation about the hateful things people say about Liberty and its students has become so personal to you and I. I think I was originally just ticked at the hypocrisy of people who called themselves open minded but then stereotyped every Liberty student in a negative manner.
I think that people forget what the teachings of Christ where and what they meant... Jesus Christ was killed for his teachings and actions obviously they are not they kind of teachings and actions that make everyone love and adore you. I agree that Jesus tough a great amount about loving your neighbor and doing right and there are many Christians today who do not do anything close to that on a personal level,
However Christ also told us to die to ourselves, to admit that there is a God who created us and is over us and we should obey Him, He taught that we need to sacrifice in order that others can be first, He told us we must serve, all of which runs counter to Americas current culture. Now we want what’s best for us, no matter the cost. We make the rules we decide what is right and what is wrong, we put ourselves first and make others pay. Our society is Greedy, Selfish, and as I said before Shameless. These are all things Jesus preached against, violently at times, just ask the Pharisees in the Temple when Jesus cleaned house. So I don't know if people really mean it when they tell others to follow Christ’s' example or if maybe they just want us to follow the parts of Christ example that are warm and fuzzy.
Finally I think what you and I do in our service to the Lord as far as serving; loving, giving and sacrifice are personal and are not appropriate for this medium. Obviously if someone challenges you on your actions of love you want to respond with a list of all the righteous things you have done, but that defeats the purpose. We are called to love unconditionally not because it makes us look or feel good but because it is what God asks of us. I think Jesus summed it up when told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (I might have the wrong occupation there) who were both at the temple praying... the Pharisee was praying out loud in flowery language so everyone could see how holy he was while the tax collector prayed silently and was humble... in the end Jesus tells us that the righteous man was the tax collector because he was praying to God while the Pharisee was really praying to impress man.
Jeremy: Good call. I don't want to give a list to prove our piety either. I like what you said on focusing on what is good, pure, and right. The hard part about that is that there is a "sexual preference" wall in between us, and I guess we could just ignore it....or can you? I guess the truth is, we can still love them despite them being gay, and we can even be loving in a conversation about it with them, but doesn't that also mean being open and honest from our perspective? I mean we can always sit there and listen and understand, but shouldn't I also be able to be honest about how I feel about it? Can I still be loving and tell them why I think what they are doing is wrong?
Adam: I think you are touching on an important point there... Dialogue! It does not really matter what the difference is; whether it’s sexual preference, political ideals or your favorite music we should all be open and willing to talk about it. That becomes tough though when dialogue turns into abuse, and it is even tougher to begin dialogue when it begins with abuse, as was the case when we began this discussion. I would like to see a place where people could all hold to the same standard in relation to dialoguing differences... it seems so often that one side is required to be accepting and loving while the other side can become offended and vindictive. You are right in saying that you should be able to be honest about how you feel and in return a person who disagrees with you should be honest about how they feel, but I think that too often we make comments about our feelings without giving concrete reasoning behind our feelings, and that can be a problem.
Take the abortion debate for example. I oppose the practice of abortion, and when I discuss this topic if I stopped there and just told people I was in opposition to the practice then the conversation would not get very far, but I try to take it a step or two further. I explain that I support the use of birth control before conception and that I huge supporter of adoption after birth, but I believe that abortion is wrong because it ends the life of a person created by God. Sometimes this gives me an opportunity to talk about common ground with people who do not agree. For example many who support the practice are also supporters of adoption and are more willing to talk about adoption than wasting time trying to beat each other up over abortion. However there are those who will argue and be hateful no matter what, and I guess it is those types of people who began this whole thing... and while we have yet to come up with an answer that satisfies I do think this discussion has given us pause to think...
Do we understand others? Are we giving them a chance to explain so that we can understand? Are we meeting people’s physical needs? Can we comprehend a person’s point of view if we have not had any real contact with that person’s world?
As cynical as it sounds Rage Against the Machine may have had a point when they sang "Know your enemy" not that I view those who disagree and oppose me as enemies but I think it is beneficial to understand who they are.
In the end the Bible tells us that Christians will be known by there love for one another, and I hope that people can see that you and I are loving