Let me cut to the chase: I’ve now become convinced that all (well, almost all) American evangelicals should no longer oppose homosexuality.
Instead, we evangelicals should have the same ethical expectations of homosexual relationships that we do of heterosexual relationships.
Two things have led me to this conviction: first, a number of years of scholarly and pastoral reflection on the Christian Scriptures; second, a number of very life-giving, even life-altering friendships with gay and lesbian followers of Jesus.
This two-fold rationale is not hard to explain:
It’s not often that a professor can make a roomful of undergrads explode in laughter–and at the same time engage them in some serious soul-searching.
Addressing a crowd of Harvard undergrads, Stanford Business Professor Charles Lee spoke about what every Harvard grad wants: success.
At one point he keenly observed:
Have you ever wondered: if there is a god, what makes him laugh?
For many skeptics, one of the biggest challenges to believing in a god is the existence of profound evil in the world–no laughing matter.
If there is a god, then, perhaps he shouldn’t be laughing.
But the God whom Jesus claimed to be his Father does. Why? What’s so funny?
Last November on the night of the U.S. presidential election, around 10pm I decided to check out the voting results for the first time that day.
For a variety of reasons I hadn’t followed the campaign much at all. But from the little I’d heard (or couldn’t help but overhearing), Clinton was expected to win.
Within moments of checking online, I discovered that Florida had already reported a large majority of its votes, and it was essentially a tie.
The remaining Florida votes would be coming in from the Panhandle, where Sarah and I had lived for five years.
And that’s when it hit me.
I am regularly amazed at the ability of my 2 1/2 year-old daughter to communicate.
Don’t get me wrong: not all her attempts to communicate succeed. At the dinner table, she may (with no little passion) share a thought that none of the other five of us can decipher.
But even when her words remain an enigma, they nevertheless succeed to endear her to us. My five-year-old son will respond, “Awwwww . . . Julianne is sooo cute!”
In those (and many other) little moments I often pause to take in the undeserved privilege of my family: daily I truly marvel at my family’s health–physically and spiritually. And I recall the sagacious yet ever-sobering counsel of Ecclesiastes:
Defeat. Loneliness. Regret. Failure. Anxiety. Confusion. Shame. Conflict. Despair. Insignificance. Loss.
Who does not regularly experience at least some of these hardships?
When experiencing them, where, then, does one go to be encouraged–to find true solace and comfort?
(No mere amusement or anesthetic, but true encouragement.)
Here’s where the Christian goes.
In the last book of the Bible, called Revelation, in the fifth chapter, John takes a selfie.
As the title Revelation implies, the book claims to describe what was revealed by/about Jesus to John, “who testifies to everything he saw” (1.2). Accordingly, John uses the phrase “(Then) I saw” (or “I looked”) well over forty times, while inviting his reader to “Behold!” (or “Look!”) around 25 times.
And what John and the reader behold is truly extraordinary.
But twice in Revelation John, as he’s replaying for us the footage of all that he saw, turns the camera (as it were) away from all these truly extraordinary sights to take a brief selfie, in order to capture his own reaction.
Why does he do this? If we can answer this, we understand the significance of Holy Saturday.