Nov 29, 2010

'First Things' Notices Plank in its Eye, Continues to Stand Firm against Sawdust

There is an article up over at First Things dealing with the question of gay marriage.  They actually get something right:
Tragically, because of our own mistakes and sin, we evangelicals have almost no credibility on this topic. We have tolerated genuine hatred of gays; we should have taken the lead in condemning gay bashing but were largely silent; we have neglected to act in gentle love with people among us struggling with their sexual identity; and we have used the gay community as a foil to raise funds for political campaigns. We have made it easy for the media to suggest that the fanatics who carry signs announcing “God hates fags” actually speak for large numbers of evangelicals.
Worst of all, we have failed to deal honestly with the major threat to marriage and the family: heterosexual adultery and divorce. Evangelicals divorce at the same rate as the rest of the population. Many evangelical leaders have failed to speak against cheap divorce because they and their people were getting divorced just like everyone else. And yet we have had the gall to use the tiny (5 percent or less) gay community as a whipping boy that we labeled as the great threat to marriage.
Yes!  Yes this is true!  So heartening to see another Christian finally realize it.  How to explain it, though?  Is the motivation for this behavior hatred, tribalism, homophobia, and desire for moral superiority?  Or does it stem from adherence to the moral teachings of the guy who said:
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
He stops ... just ... short.  Just a hair's breadth shy of the truth: he sees it, he knows, he becomes conscious of the plank in his eye, and then ... nothing.  He sinks back down; the moment is lost; the dreamer returns to the sleep of rules, tribe and tradition; the man who just caught a glimpse of the kingdom of God spends the rest of the article vainly attempting to craft a secular argument against sawdust.

I could nitpick it, but there's no need--no point, even.  It's the same tired lies about children and procreation, and never-you-mind about adoption and old people.  In the face of the tragedy of it, what can you say?  On some primal level he must have apprehended the truth, and then he turned away.  Because once you have seen that the opposition to homosexuality is based on hatred rather than morals, once you know that Christ vindicated David's breaking of the law, once you realize that blood pudding is all right, once you have understood that God loves all His children, then you begin to ask why they shouldn't love one another, even if they are born in such a way as to make them desire members of their own sex rather than the opposite.  Handpicked quotations from a book that contains both slavery and 'do unto others' are not a sufficient answer to that question.

When two men, or two women, with the inborn desire for others like themselves, really love each other, do you turn to them and say, 'Sin!'?  Which of you, when his son asks for bread, would give him a stone?  But that's what this is: another stone on the pile.  What makes this one more tragic than your run-of-the-mill gay-bashing screed is that it was cast by someone who came within a millimeter of seeing all such stones for what they are--the artifacts of hatred and tribalism wrapped in after-the-fact justifications.  To abandon such is to be born anew into the equality of the kingdom of God--a prospect at once wonderful and terrifying.  This writer, though--like Nicodemus before him--prefers instead to retain the elegant trappings of the Pharisee.


  1. Beautiful, painful, and all very true.

  2. Eloquent. Nicely said.