January 28, 2006

Leaders Need to Lead, Not Follow

As the battle gears up in Maryland regarding the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, opinions of politicians are being sought out. With many of the state's "leaders", particularly on the Democratic side, you would have an easier time finding a Jerry Falwell fan at a gay bar than find out where they stand on this issue. Instead of standing up for what they believe, many Democrats are diving for cover.

Many deomcrats in the state do not want to face the political implications of this amendment being on the state's ballot in November. They fear it will mobilize Republicans to turn out to the polls and possibly push the balance of power in Annapolis more toward the GOP.

A painfully clear example of this, according to the Washington Post article posted on the Equality Maryland website, is State Senator James Brochin. He represents what is considered a fairly conservative portion of Baltimore County. When asked his position on the same-sex marriage ban amendment, Brochin said he would do "what my district tells me to do." He then added, "Would you mind if that's all I say on this?"

This is leadership? No, this is leadership:

Titus 1:9 (NIV) "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

Republican Delegate Donald H. Dwyer is the sponsor of the amendment, and he says that 44 signiatures have already been obtained on a petition to bring it directly to the House floor for a vote. I strongly disagree with Rep. Dwyer but respect his clarity on this issue. At least he has put himself out there, win or lose, and shown leadership that is much less prevalent on the other side of the isle.

Jesus did not seek a consensus during his time on earth. He had a message, a clear purpose, and He pursued that at the cost of great pain and suffering before He ascended back to heaven.

Today's "leaders" in America do not run the risk of being nailed to a cross, but many of them act like it. Our country deserves leaders in office, not pollsters or puppets of special interests with deep pockets. I encourage you to keep that in mind the next time you cast a ballot.

January 25, 2006

A Wonderful Response

Justin Dean, who writes the interesting blog “Tales from the Convent,” recently received an e-mail from someone who wrote that they were praying for the empty lifestyle he had chosen and that Justin would find Christ.

Justin, a gay Christian, took time to respond to that writer with love and patience, and I thought my readers would appreciate seeing his response. Justin explained how he did not chose the gay lifestyle and offered his prayers for the individual who e-mailed him, asking for the Lord to open his heart and mind.

Here’s the e-mail and Justin’s thoughtful response.

Gay or God?

January 24, 2006

Spend on Saving Souls, Not Buying Votes

A report came out today that $13 million was spent in a total of 13 states during the 2004 elections on both sides of campaigns involving the issue of same-sex marriage. The report states that nearly $2 million came directly from churches. Most of those funds were to support initiatives banning same-sex marriage, but that's not the issue I'm raising here.

Why are churches helping to finance political campaigns?

Churches are funded almost entirely on contributions from their members. In any church I have belonged to, I understood that my donations were to be used in the funding of ministry work. After all, isn't that supposed to be its primary function?

I wonder anymore. Churches and religious orgainzations put a lot of money and other resources into political causes these days trying to make the laws of the United States adhere to their religious convictions.

Here's an idea--take that money and devote those resources toward leading people to Jesus. The politically active "fundamentalists" want to make this a christian nation, and what better way to accomplish that goal than to have a nation full of christians?

Because then the "fundamentalists" can't control people's actions as they seek to do through legislative and judicial means. If people develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ, there is no guarantee they will subscribe to the"fundamentalist" political policies.

If churches and religious leaders are truly worried about the souls of America, they are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and following his example. Do you know how many times the word "politics" is in my NIV New Testament? The same as the word "abortion," none. That's only one fewer than the frequency of the word "homosexual."

Churches that are active in the political arena and promoting their views on abortion, homosexuality, and other important social issues may be doing many things, but they are NOT following the example Jesus Christ set during his time on earth.

How can the body of Christ be effective winning souls for Jesus when their priority is winning elections?

They can't, and it makes the jobs of other congregations that DO follow Jesus' example more difficult because all of the attention these political churches draw to themselves has the effect of drawing all bodies of Christ under the same umbrella.

This row has been plowed before. The Pharisees added law upon law upon law before the birth of Christ, and that worked out so well that God had to send His son down to earth to be crucified to clean up the mess.

Please, let's work in our churches to stop modern-day Pharisees from further corrupting the body of Christ in our time.

January 22, 2006

Open Minded Youth

My friend Sharone sent me a link to this letter to the editor that appeared in the Culpeper (Virginia) Citizen newspaper recently. It was written by someone who is already very involved in equality issues despite, according to Sharone, not even being 18 years old.

Letter to the editor

It struck me that my generation (I'm 47 years old) will fight and claw for advances in equality for GLBT people, but it will probably take the next generation like the letter writer to effect complete, long-lasting change.

I dare say most of the people growing up in my generation were indoctinated with the teaching of the evils of homosexuality. As a result of this prevailing value, it was rare that I encountered a GLBT person that was out of the closet, and I was not able to connect the idea of homosexuality with real people.

Someone growing up in the last 15-20 years, however, is much more likely to have met openly GLBT people. This has afforded them the opportunity to know these people and push homosexuality beyond a concept and into reality. Knowledge and understanding breed acceptance, and there is much more of that among people in their teens and twenties than older folks like me.

Their is great reason to hope that the up and coming generation of leaders will bring a much greater attitude of acceptance and promotion of equality among everyone, but let's not wait for them to get in place. Let's blaze the trail now so people can benefit sooner rather than later.