God is not a hipster. He’s not into bands that only you and He have heard of. He doesn’t shop exclusively in Top Man. He loves Coldplay and New York Pony Club in equal measure.
A friend, who thinks like us, looks like us and who cares for the same things that we do will naturally support us when someone questions or challenges our beliefs. But when we view God through those lenses (Hipster thick clear lenses) it’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of thinking God is on one side or the other. We fit God into our perceived ideas of what is right or wrong.
But when I hear that “God so loved the world”, my thoughts don’t directly go to being about how we are saved but rather that God is for everyone. Sometimes this is hard to swallow. Sometimes it would be so much easier if this was not true. But it is. And I am glad it is.
When the whole Chic-fil-A story broke recently about their CEO coming out (ironic choice of words) in favour of traditional marriage the Christian media and blogosphere went crazy. We were told to boycott and support the fast food company in equal measure. By groups of Christians in favor of gay marriage and by those in support of a one man, one woman marriage.
Scripture can and has been used by these groups to show that God supports either or of these groups. But not both.
Those who believe homosexuality is not a sin have been able to show through context and the language that the homosexuality referred to in the Bible is not homosexuality as we know it now or that it refers to promiscuous, relationships that are out of control.
Those who believe it to be a sin simply point to Adam and Eve and Paul’s supposed ‘clear’ teaching on the issue.
But who is right?
Is either right?
In a way, are both wrong?
Sexuality is important but what is more important is how when we pin God down as siding on ‘our’ views supposed to ‘theirs’, almost always one side will suffer.
The Church’s history has shown this. From the reformation to the inquisition, from gay rights to the abortion debate and especially in Northern Ireland. Saying that God stands for one group over another has always meant another group has suffered.
Often with hate and often with violence.
Always with fear.
During the ensuing debate and commentary on the Chic-fil-A story both sides let themselves down in how they have presented themselves and how they have talked to and about their brothers and sisters.
How can some groups of Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin speak of an all loving God, if they aren’t willing to welcome their own family in Christ who are gay?
How can gay Christians in support of same sex marriage talk about inclusivity if they won’t listen to views opposing theirs with grace and peace?
We’re all guilty of this at some point or another. We all see our church as being most relevant or hip. We see some people as being out of the reach of God’s love. We think God agrees with our theology and not theirs.
Really though we are all so far away from where we should be we should actually unite in that. When we realize that we are just as in need of rescuing as the person we hate, it frees us to stand on an even playing field with them.
To join them in learning about each other and their backgrounds.
To join them in talking and being respectful.
To be their friends.
Maybe doing that could be the first thing we can agree on.