The Value of Truth AND Love
Some people value beliefs above relationship and in so doing lose the truth of love. Some people value relationship above beliefs and in so doing lose the love of truth. It is far more important for us to value belief and relationship. In doing so we will have both truth and love. We cannot separate the two.
I hold strongly to my Christian faith. But, I hold as strongly to the people in my life that God has called me to love. I am a husband, a father, a basketball coach, a mentor to young people, a professor at a Christian university, an ordained minister with a major Evangelical denomination, and an older brother. I'll get to that in a minute.
Over the past couple of weeks or so, I have watched what is taking place in American politics and the republican party. It is what is right and wrong with our country. Let me make this really simple to understand:
What is Right:
-When Governor Romney hired the most qualified person available for the position of Foreign Policy Advisor and Spokesman to his campaign just a few weeks ago
What is Wrong:
-When the right wing of the Republican party petitioned for the removal of Governor Romney's Foreign Policy Advisor and Spokesman just a few short weeks after he was hired
Here is the rest of the story. The person hired a few weeks ago by Governor Romney was Ric Grenell. He is widely known as a loyal conservative to the Republican Party (having served 8 years as the director of communications for four ambassadors to the United Nations during the Bush Administration, and many more years in senate and mayoral offices from North Carolina to California). Prior to these posts, he attended a Christian university, and did his graduate work at Harvard. He is also gay. And, my brother.
Mr. Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, said in a statement:
“We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications.”
Others are speaking out also:
Bryan Fischer, from the AFA (American Family Association), said on Twitter, “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.”
First, Grenell did not step down for his own personal reasons. He stepped down because of the personal reasons of many others in a party that he has served faithfully. Unfortunately, when Grenell stepped down he did the right thing (choosing to place Governor Romney's campaign before his own goals) for the wrong reasons (choosing to listen to a culture that values personal beliefs above relationship).
Secondly, if Fischer and the AFA really believes this was about family values, where are the Twitter feeds about other destructive practices such as lying and infidelity amongst campaign employees in American politics? Where does it stop? Will liars or adulterers lose their positions in the coming political landscape?
And that is the real purpose for this blog. Let me finish. To be clear, my conviction on The Sexual Revolution, Homosexuality, and the Gay agenda is simple. I have not based this conviction on my understanding of culture or my relationship with my brother. I have based it on my understanding of scripture. I have shaped my belief over the years through the biblical account of creation in Genesis and Paul's words in Romans. As well as other texts in scripture like Deuteronomy 23, 1 Corinthians 6-7, Galatians 5, and Revelation 20.
That The Sexual Revolution, Homosexuality, and the Gay agenda is part of the sexual dis-order that is contrary to the clearly stated biblical principles in the book of Genesis defining the relationship of humans between a man and a woman, and, in the book of Romans as an exchange of the truth of God for a lie, or, the abandoning of the natural relations of men and women for each other. And Paul goes on to define these issues in Romans and other texts this way: ‘the shameful lust of what is un-natural relations between people of the same sex’, ‘flee fornication’, ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman…but because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife’, and ‘the works of the flesh are adultery, fornication…and those who practice these things cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.’
I do not approve of my brothers lifestyle. As much as I may not approve of the things that entrap me. But, I am in relationship with my brother because I love him. As a matter of fact, I, like many of you reading this blog, may not approve of the lifestyle of the people who we work with or go to school with. But, we value relationship as much. One of the things that is disappointing to me in our culture is the elite mindset of anyone who places their personal beliefs above relationships. Have we come so far in the last decade that a person who was celebrated in political leadership positions by the Republican party in the past is now vetted, not for the job they do so well, but, because their lifestyle does not match our own?
We could all do some proof-texting right now of our favorite scripture verses or our personal beliefs that display the contrasting points about sin and sinners, grace and mercy, or simply right and wrong. But, the hills we are willing to die on, or the T-shirt messages we have practiced all of our life must never separate us from having the conversation with others. I have made it a point in my life to never win an argument and lose a relationship. From my understanding of almost 50 years in the Christian faith and almost 30 years in church leadership, the foundational response to all kinds of issues and people should be relationship. Christ and Paul did not call for a divide in our unequal relationships in culture. They called for a divide in our unequal fellowship within the church (the Body of Christ).
A softball team, a Boy Scout Troop, or a church and para-church organization in the private sector will have unique stances on the basis of their make-up or constitution and by-laws about these issues when it comes to membership or employment. And we should all respect that. However, in the government or public sector, since when did a gay person not become qualified for a communications post simply because they were gay? How many liars are employed by campaigns in America right now? How many fornicators or adulterers are employed by campaigns in America right now? Are they unqualified for service? Why are the right wing Republicans not purging campaigns of these people? Maybe honesty and fidelity should be higher on the priority of the Republican party right now.
Some people value beliefs above relationship and in so doing lose the truth of love. Some people value relationship above beliefs and in so doing lose the love of truth. It is far more important for us to value belief and relationship. In doing so we will have both truth and love. The two cannot be separated. I hold strongly to my Christian faith. But, I hold as strongly to the people in my life that God has called me to love.