Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bind them around my neck.

Nada hagáis por egoísmo o por vanagloria, sino que con actitud humilde cada uno de vosotros considere al otro como más importante que a sí mismo, no buscando cada uno sus propios intereses, sino más bien los intereses de los demás. Filipenses 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

According to the Greek, Philippians 1:27 actually says, “Only behave as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ…” thus let us not allow our public dialogue distract from the message of God’s love and Christ’s death and resurrection. This is what matters, and any sidebars from this message most likely is not from God. This plea for unity is followed by a promise that we will indeed suffer for His sake, so let us not cling to our “rights” but have the mind of Christ, who did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

This morning I read an article in Christianity Today by John D. Anazu entitled, “Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights: It’s complicated.” And he does a good job reminding us that we Americans are citizens in a pluralistic society, and that Pluralism rests on three interrelated aspirations: tolerance, humility, and patience. And while we American Christians fret and strain at relative gnats and smugly glance over at the bloody non-pluralism taking place in Sudan and Iraq and Palestine, let us be reminded that Jesus (and John and Leviticus as well) very clearly teaches that according to our Heavenly Father, if we hate our brother in our heart we are a murderer. And he spells it out fairly clearly, and repeats Himself if we can’t hear so well, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire,” lest we judge one another.

And really the best thing about my summer writing course is the absolute pluralism present in the class. They managed to collect students, teachers and professors from absolutely every walk of life from here in Tucson, Arizona. And we are absolutely free, even required to discuss any and all topics with tolerance, humility and patience, and we practice it all day long. And since my nametag reads Desert CHRISTIAN School, I am very aware that every word I say, every word I write, every word I speak in my eyes and every word I inflect with my tone reflects on the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have a pretty high bar looming in front of me five days a week, seven hours a day. And this is a privilege and a challenge to not be distracted from the three that remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.

May I prove worthy.