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Pensées on Love, Homosexuality, and the SCOTUS ruling

lovewins

The recent SCOTUS ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in the United States of America was met with a flurry of rainbow-themed avatars and #LoveWins hashtags. There was also a proliferation of warnings of apocalyptic destruction and the empire’s downfall from others. These two messages filled the air waves and polarized people in two camps. Social media was quick to highlight the tension between these two camps. Messages of love, hate, compassion, and confusion intermingled with one another forming an amorphous blob of simplistic explanations and pithy aphorisms.

There were many Christians who went out of their way to define and describe what love is. Some even reminded their audience of Jesus’ unconditional love for them. However, this was also coupled with a fairly lengthy caveat of sorts that turns into more like a disclaimer notice one would find in most contracts. I think it’s very important to make sure that we communicate what we truly mean. I would say that’s a basic given in trying to communicate with others. Yet, I feel like if you have to explain what unconditional love is by adding so many conditions to it, then it fails to be unconditional love anymore. If you have a son who is a drug addict, would telling him “I love you” mean that you are condoning or endorsing drug behaviour? No. If you have a daughter who got pregnant out of wedlock, would telling her “I love you” mean that you are condoning or endorsing sex outside of marriage? No. It means that even though they may have committed actions that you do not condone or endorse, you are not going to withhold or refuse to offer them your love. Displaying unconditional love means that our expression of love for another person is not based on what they have done but based on who they are.

In the Scriptures, we constantly see Jesus interacting with the marginalized and the oppressed. They were the bad people that society says we should never associate with: prostitutes, tax collectors, and cheaters. There is something startling in the way that Jesus dealt with those on the fringes of society. What startles me is not what Jesus said, but what he didn’t say. He never utters a single word of condemnation or what could even be interpreted as a “loving sermon.” He treats them with kindness, dignity, and dare I say it… love… that is so shockingly simple. This was not a love that needed lengthy explanations. This was a love that was simple and clear. It needed no further ramblings on what it meant. It was given purely. It was received purely. And it had the ability to transform their lives in ways that verges on the unfathomable.

When unconditional love is given, no words can properly define it. Why? Because unconditional love is intensely experiential. It arouses feelings within that we didn’t even know existed before. It is an incredible experience that defies logic. It may be difficult to put into words but it also unbelievably clear. There is no confusion in it. There are no doubts. Only clarity.

If we, as Christians, truly have this type of unconditional love for homosexuals as we often say we do, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have to go to great lengths to give them a detailed explanation because they would know what it means. The fact that we do makes me stop and pause for a minute and wonder if this is actually true.

Maybe it is best if we just said this: I love you. Period.

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The importance of thanksgiving

I have a tendency to complain. I look at the world and I wonder how come I don’t have this or that. I look at people and wish I had what they had. I’m never satisfied. The Bible says that the eyes want a lot of things. It uses the more technical term of “coveting” other stuff. Personally, I’d rather say “I want that” or “I need that” than “I covet that.” It just seems so strong and so wrong. But it is exactly that… very wrong!

The problem with this endless state of wanting and needing is that you end up being unsatisfied ALL THE TIME. It’s only when we take stock of what we actually have that we can start being thankful. One time I was on the bus and just started to think about what I had on me at that time and what startled me was that I easily was worth a thousand bucks. The cost of my shirt, my pants, my underwear, my shoes, my laptop, my iPod touch, and my jewelry combined totalled just about that, if not slightly more. When I say I’m worth a thousand bucks, I sometimes mean it in the most literal sense! It’s in one of those moments of “counting your blessings” that you start realizing how blessed you are. I start thinking of the many Christians who live in oppressive regimes where religious tolerance is more a buzzword than a reality and here I am in a democratically free country. Whenever I hear Christians that say they are being “persecuted” by this post-Christendom society, something within me gets agitated and riled up. At most, what others are doing to you can be called “social ostracism”, NOT persecution. And even then, how much of that is really brought on by your adherence to Christianity versus the fact that your personal attitude towards others border on arrogance and social awkwardness? Are you sure they don’t like you because you’re a Christian or because you act the way you act? (That’s for another blog post!)

This Thanksgiving weekend, I choose to be thankful. I’m thankful for my family who supports me, my friends who are there for me, and for my God who redeemed me, loves me, and is so ever patient with me. I’m thankful for people who believe in me. I’m thankful for opportunities that have been given to me. I’m thankful for artists who inspire me and challenges me to hone my craft and drive my desire for excellence. I’m thankful for this life that I have been given.

Who/what are you thankful for?