Curmudgeon: – a crusty, irascible, cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas. (The Free Dictionary)
I have decided that for my sanity and your edification, I am going to regularly take a few moments to express my inner curmudgeon. Most of my life is spent trying to be kind, wise, culturally aware, and socially appropriate. Nearly every day, however, I see or hear something that brings out the curmudgeon in me. The overwhelming desire to comment on the general silliness of the world around me just boils up and I must bite my tongue, or close my Twitter feed, to keep from spouting out things sure to be offensive.
I will take precautions. The posts will be entitled “Curmudgeon Alert!” This will serve as sort of a Surgeon General’s warning that what is inside may cause dyspeptic outbursts, irritation of the funny bone, anachronistic head nodding, or feigned disapprobation syndrome. The hope is it will provoke the lost art of pondering. You see, pondering indicates giving deep thought to a truth or to a dilemma. I believe there is truth, and that any claim to a standard of morality based on truth will always lead to moral dilemmas. We have a bunch of them: What to do about too many guns without neutering a generation and handing our liberties over to bureaucrats? How to keep ladies from being sexually abused without telling them that it is their fault or seeming misogynistically overprotective? How to help the weak and helpless without making them more weak and helpless? How to applaud the president’s positive results without seeming to condone his boorish behavior? Hopefully, you get the point.
Why can’t the homosexual people get a cake?
So, today’s curmudgeonism: Why can’t the homosexual people get a cake? I understand the dilemma (see above) It’s a genuine moral dilemma. I am a Christian. By the standards of today’s society, I suppose I am a homophobe (Though I don’t really feel any fear on the issue.) I find the behaviors involved more than a little distasteful. It is quite plain to me that two folks of the same sex cannot be married to each other. By Bible definitions, that is not marriage. I don’t know what it is, but it ain’t marriage.
As a pastor, I can’t do same-sex weddings. There is no such thing. I don’t marry unbelievers, I don’t marry couples I feel strongly are unsuited, I discriminate in this area based on biblical standards all the time. What I do for these folks is talk to them. I see their desire to be married by clergy as an opportunity to explore with them their lifestyle, the Bible’s teaching, and what can be done to move them toward lining up with God’s standard. The key term here is “opportunity.”
I am not a baker or a florist, so I don’t understand the business. I do understand that when someone invites me to be part of what they see as a momentous occasion in their lives, no matter how wrong-headed I believe them to be, they are opening themselves to relationship and input. If you don’t want to hear about Jesus, don’t do business with me. Every wedding I do includes two things: a clear presentation of the Gospel, and a moment when I pray over the couple by laying on hands and praying for a miracle of God in uniting a man and a woman as one. That’s the package, take it or leave it.
If, knowing who I am, they offer me an opportunity for connection, my commandment is to love them. My commission is to preach the Gospel to them. I believe the commandment opens doors for the commission. Our promise is that some will hate us, and some will respond in faith. The outcome is not our problem. I just can’t get loose of the feeling that Jesus, though adamant on sin, would have found some way to speak truth to the sinners without winding up in the Supreme Court. He was often found at dinner with the publicans. He spent a lot of effort calling out religious folks for looking down their noses at the untouchables. I may not endorse the event, but if asked, I’m looking for some way to take Jesus as far as they will let me. Tough call. It’s not a decision about politics, but about eternity. Love, not rancor, must prevail.