Monday, June 24, 2013

Exodus International Apologizes and Folds: Just As I Am

Anyone who has had a history with American Protestantism will probably remember the sounds of an organ playing "Just As I Am" as people are welcomed to come up to the front and have their lives changed by beginning a relationship with God.  The song is often chosen, even over the favorite "Amazing Grace" because it emphasizes that one doesn't change himself to approach God but comes with all his many faults.

Since then, while I've been afforded many opportunities to see that the Church falls far short of the legendary grace of Christ, I've been impressed with the writings of Philip Yancey, who has posed the question of how a person would be treated if she approached the Church for forgiveness after prostituting her own children to serve her drug addiction.  This idea often shakes Christians to their core, long after their gratifying speeches about diversity and tolerance are over.  And it does something else, I think: it exposes the tendency to adopt the Progressive position that to demonstrate acceptance of the person the Church must embrace the practice.  If we don't embrace (even celebrate) the practice, we run the risk of alienating the people Christ died for.  That's the message that Christians are inundated with from journalists, educators, social scientists, etc. all through their lives.

With Yancey's theoretical (or maybe not so theoretical) example, how do you accept someone who is doing something offensive they need to change, and yet need an example of God's acceptance.  What does "loving the sinner while hating the sin" really look like?  Gay activists naturally would balk at the example having anything to do with homosexuality, because they have progressive social science atanding behind them saying, effectively, "Who are you going to believe: Us or your silly outdated book."  The man chosen to helm the It Gets Better campaign uses his platform to publicly denounce the Bible.  Slowly, the Church has come around to the Progressive ideal that to love the sinner you must change your concept of what is a healthy way to live.

Strangely, Jesus never says, "The law of Moses is a sham.  It isn't really about loving God and loving your neighbor.  God sent me here to tell you that it is abolished."  In Christians' favorite scripture on this very subject, Jesus says that the law is built on loving God and loving thy neighbor.  Perhaps this fits well the view of 'Jesus as Progressive Reformer': that he would tell his audiences whatever would further his agenda of social change.  He was deliberately vague as to what he was really doing in order to erode the Jewish way of life, since it was supposedly so detestable to him.

Are Christians expected to cry out from the pulpit that it is as good to be divorced as to not?   If you are either a social conservative or a follower of an Abrahamic religion, are you obligated to accept that all sorts of families are equally healthy and there is no advantage in anyway to having a mother and a father that demonstrate the mystery of opposites forming a whole, that demonstrate the way the two sexes relate, two demonstrate the power of sexual roles?

Megyn Kelly has recently lashed out at a interviewee for suggesting that there is any advantage of having two parents instead of one.  (Strange, we are often told that children of same-sex parents will have all the benefits of the usual two-parent households, even though there are apparently no advantages -- it's a wash.)  This is called science.  It's no wonder that more and more people are losing faith in scientific enterprises that serve the narrative of insular special interest groups.

When natural remedy enthusiasts can make fun of how medical science has been a total johnny-come-lately to the efficacy of phytonutrients, breast milk, and other natural wonders, and yet pretend that social constellations that we've supposedly spent hundreds of thousands of years adapting to are no problem to overturn.  I remember reading in college about a infant survival rate that plummeted among some aborigines because they were encouraged by outsiders to not chew a local root.  There were nutrients that nursing children depended on getting from root-chewing moms.  In the modern era, native cultures are fragile things to be protected, but age-old social templates are to be uprooted because, well, what good are they?   The arrogance of the old scientism survives in the arrogance of the political postmodernism of the Left.

Curiously, somewhere Alan Chamber has recently stated,
“For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
And yet in his apology he says,
I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage.
Is there no way to avoid isolating and stigmatizing homosexuals without also isolating and stigmatizing those identifying themselves as ex-gay.  The gay community has a lot at stake in labeling ex-gays as hypocrites, pretenders, self-deluded.  For the Christian community to join liberals in laughing it all off as "praying the gay away" as part as an ecumenical move to find common ground with Progressivism, is a new kind of ugliness.  They've replaced one misguided myopia with a politically correct misguided myopia.  They are also affirming the power of the State to tell us what is therapeutic and what isn't, an idea that had liberals up in arms back in 2003, I remember, but something that California liberals are rejoicing in now.

As the Church in general has had a tense relationship with gays, there would be much to celebrate with a more open environment, where people can really come just as they are.  I would feel positive about this if this wasn't a form of Positive Christianity.

A gospel passage that has come to symbolize Christ's acceptance is the story of "the woman taken in adultery."  We love the first words spoken to the adulteress: "Neither do I condemn you."  These are wonderful words.  But he also says "Go and sin no more."  Maybe someone should have warned Jesus not to stigmatize her behavior and set her up for future condemnation.  We want to pretend that Jesus avoided hurting anyone's feelings at all costs.  We live in an age in which we don't want to be accepted in spite of our wrong, but to be affirmed as having no wrong.

In speaking of the morality of marriage, Jesus speaks of the mystery of opposite sexes as something , and he quotes Adam from the Book of Genesis (Bereshyth): "For this cause will a man leave father and mother and merge with his wife."  For what cause?  Progressivism tells us that there is no preferable way to have a family, that it is all a social construct that we make up as we go along. Is that Biblical?  Is it Biblical to not acknowledge that some things move one further from God's plan and that some things move one closer?

The Church doesn't have to stigmatize single-parent families and families broken by divorce in order to affirm the cause that Jesus affirmed.  Just because we all miss the mark in one way or another doesn't mean there are no marks to miss.  And it doesn't mean that all that matters is that we do things that appear to be loving, that are merely accommodating, that do little more than affirm the progressive idol of Tolerance.

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