Don’t Save Me a Seat on Your Bandwagon

I’ve had a week to think about it.

Bandwagon,_Circus_MuseumAnd I’m not going to pile onto anyone’s bandwagon regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to validate gay marriages in the United States.

I will admit that as an American, I am glad that the Supreme Court upheld a basic human right: to be joined in marriage before family, friends, the world and God. They did not set a precedent which might be twisted by some later generation to deny this right to people of a certain reproductive capability, age, ethnic background, or religious persuasion.

I will also admit that as a follower of Christ, I do not see anywhere in biblical scripture that marriage is upheld as an institution between people of the same sex or gender; only between people of the opposite sex from each other. But it is not the business of government to enforce as law the doctrine of any religion’s scripture, not even the one I espouse.

That could set a precedent that could be contorted by some later generation to apply to the writings of some other religion — any other religion — or some set of documented beliefs that made no pretense to be any kind of religion at all.

I have to admit that I can’t follow the hermeneutical/interpretational gymnastics it takes to ignore or downplay God’s displeasure with “man-on-man sex,” which is what I understand the literal phrasing of scripture to say. (The English word “homosexual” was devised centuries later.) There is nothing there that leads me to believe that such a relationship was ever His desire or intention for the children He created and loves.

So I can’t jump on the bandwagon that celebrates a notion that any sexual expression between consenting adults done in love is endorsed by God and should be recognized as such by all believers. Nope. It’s not what God wants for us. If it were, He’d have spoken it as plainly and clearly as “Be fruitful and multiply” or “Do not commit adultery” or “Do not judge.”

To the very best of my understanding, engaging in homoerotic sex is sin. It is what self wants for self against God’s wisest wishes, even when love for another is involved. Just like heterosexual breach of promise in marriage that has led to so many divorces and broken so many hearts and homes in this nation for decade upon decade now. Sin is always sin. Even when there is no seeming harm, no reason given for prohibition, nothing other than God’s explicit love for us and desire for what is best for us.

Sin is always sin.

Including lying, stealing, greed, envy, faultfinding or any other one you wish to mention.

Which leads me to the reason why I can’t jump on the bandwagon that focuses on one sin, then accuses, belittles, condemns, defames … do I need to go through all the synonyms beginning with the rest of the letters of the alphabet?

Because judging others is what self wants for self against God’s holiest desires for us, even when we would like to pretend that some kind of love for His righteous law is our only motivation.

If I conveniently focus on one sin — someone else’s sin — and loudly castigate it, that may take other peoples’ focus off all of mine. But I am called to speak against all sin, which includes my predilection toward judgmentalism and arrogance and self-righteousness. I can say “But I don’t sin THAT sin!” all I want to, but God makes it clear that any kind of sin separates me from Him. If I denounce one, I must denounce them all. And having participated in any of them in a less-than confessional and penitent way reduces my credibility to disavow them all.

There are really no other bandwagons left to climb onto.

We have divided into these two intransigent camps and sung our battle hymns and flown our righteous flags while riding our bandwagons to the front lines, just as people have done (to their own destruction) for centuries.

And what we are called to do is walk together. To love. To show fellowship. Embrace. Encourage. Confess. Support. Seek to understand. Repent. Forgive.

Over and over and over again. Not until we get it right, because the odds are that none of us ever will.

But until we are called home.

We are all simply fellow sinners, called to extend the grace and compassion that was shown to us by the One who was able to live without sin.

And what His life says is, “It’s possible. It can be done. I did it.

“You can try.”

To be like Him — to accurately reflect His compassion, love, grace, forgiveness, and humility — we have to try the very best we can to be like Him in every way that we can.

That may mean celibacy. It may mean keeping judgment to one’s self. And let’s not kid ourselves — there are doubtless hundreds of thousands and more likely millions who lead lives that glorify God without having sex with anyone and/or having to inflate their own egoes by deflecting attention from the sins that so easily beset them and castigating others for their vulnerabilities.

They have learned self-control. They are trying to be like Jesus.

If they can try, we can try … walking the walk.

Talking less talk.

And leaving the bandwagons behind.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Save Me a Seat on Your Bandwagon

  1. I’ve been thinking about this issue and how it relates to the Early Christians, of Paul’s time and soon after. There were repeated periods of drought which resulted in famines, To deal with that the Roman gov’t began requiring worship and sacrifices to the state idols. The Christians refused. The droughts continued and the people began to blame the Christians for the droughts. The Christians continued to refuse and thus the persecutions began. At that point, some Christians decided the thing to do was bow. They didn’t see the point of making people angry. It wouldn’t matter if they bowed if they didn’t believe and then people would stop blaming the Christians for the droughts. Others thought the most important thing to do was obey God’s laws and not bow to the idols. So since our very beginnings we have had to try to decide whether to assuage society’s demands, or stand against it. Does it destroy our message of Christ if we hold to principles others see a punitive, nonsensical or even destructive? Or is it more important not to weaken our relationship with God through our disobedience? Should we become actively involved in social issues and try to push for a culture that reflects God’s principles, or should we stay out of the fray? And I think maybe the most important question, if I were living in the First Century, which group would I want to be in, and which group would I ultimately find myself in?

  2. Vicki, I can’t help but think of Paul, who was chased from city to city, stoned, left for dead, imprisoned because the message he had wasn’t received. Our Lord and Savior received the same and was crucified for preaching a message that people didn’t want to hear. God’s children in the 21st century have a decision to make. Where will we stand? will we be bold and brave and stand with God and defend His teachings? or will we cave to the pressures of society? We must ask our selves, how did we get to this point? The answer is simple, God’s people have been rather silent on the matter. We seem to have the wrong idea about what love is. The most loving thing we can do for someone, is to show them the will of God. Letting them know that forgiveness can be found. Condoning sinful life styles is the most destructive thing we can do. So my prayer for God’s people is that they will find the courage to stand fast, hold fast to the pattern of sound words. Teach the bible and let the chips fall where they may. You will be blessed, and God’s name will be glorified.

  3. If “condoning sinful lifestyles is the most destructive thing we can do,” then condemning sinful lifestyles without showing any understanding, love, or compassion to others has to be the second most destructive thing we can do.

    I think either of those may be hyperbole. Nor am I sure than one is more destructive than the other. But if we believers can’t regard others as fellow sinners, then we have no credibility, no influence and no relationship with those who do not believe. They can see we’re not perfect either. So we have to be willing to be confessional, transparent, penitent, open, gracious, loving.

    No matter who wants to have an “us-vs.-them” attitude, believers simply can’t afford to.

    It’s always going to be “us.”

  4. I would agree kb, we need to be understanding, loving and compassionate. But we can’t accept such behavior. People must be taught the will of God, they may accept it or they may not. If they don’t, we must kick the dust off our feet and go elsewhere. Jesus showed us what compassion looked like, I don’t recall Him accepting sin for the sake of “being compassionate”. “Go thy way and sin no more”. We need to remember, “apathy” is condoning. Doing and saying nothing is condoning. People need to hear “repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins”. people need to be taught what “repentance” is. Turning from our old sinful selves and turning to God. now that’s compassion! As taught by God.

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