It all started, well, crystallised, with gay marriage. WAIT! Don’t go, I’m not here to tell you what to think about it, that’s not my point. My point is that it seemed so arbitrary. The gist seems to be that because homosexuality is sinful people shouldn’t be able to engage in a religious institution.
So let’s ignore for now that the institution of marriage is never set down in the Bible, nor is it necessarily a Christian tradition (being found in most cultures through history) and instead let’s ask, where in the Bible does it say we should push our Christian morals on non-Christians?
If there is a verse somewhere then why don’t we apply it across the board? If the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit why not campaign against fat marriage? Or smokers? In fact if it’s sin that stops us marrying, who’s going to throw the first matrimonial stone?
But it destroys the sanctity of marriage some cry. OK, I don’t really understand what that means. I’m assuming the sanctity of marriage involves our union with God as part of the marriage. But then shouldn’t we campaign against ALL civil marriage? What about these popstars that get married for 40 minutes or who have married and divorced more times than I’ve changed pants? I would think that destroys the sanctity of the institution more than anything, but seemingly that’s OK.
So choosing a campaign against homosexuals seems rather arbitrary and it raises another, bigger, issue. When going on some kind of campaign (and the gay marriage one is the end of a long list) people tend to focus on certain verses and ignore others. What happened to ‘love your neighbour’ or ‘judge not lest you be judged’? It seems that we choose our position and then cherry-pick the Bible verses that fit it.
And that got me wondering, do we pick our religion/brand of Christianity and then cherry-pick the verses that fit it rather than reading the whole Bible and basing our religion upon that. Considering that Jesus spent a lot of his ministry preaching against organised religion Christianity is surprisingly, well, organised (note the commas there, supes important). Do we put structure over truth?
In my experience of church we preach a lot more on the letters of Paul (regarding how to do church) than the Gospels (regarding how to live and evangelise).
We read selected verses from the Psalms in our services and ignore that most of the Psalms are about David asking God to conquer his enemies.
The Song of Solomon, how the hell does that fit in? I’ve never heard a sermon on it and apparently it isn’t important to our religion despite being in a book we claim to be the Word of God.
Perhaps, and it’s a big perhaps, Christianity is declining in the West because of the structures we have formed around it. not because those structures are bad, but because those structures have a template that we adhere to.
Perhaps, if we want to grow and see the church grow it’s time to have a look at the stuff we don’t talk about in church…
(everything expressed in this post is my own thoughts and doesn’t necessarily represent the views of BT or Beanyman)