Brian over at the Banty Rooster wrote me privately, and believing his question to be quite a reasonable one, I am taking the liberty of answering him publicly. Here is Brian:
“I appreciate the clarification of your position re: homosexuality. I notice, however, that in reminding readers of what your original article actually said, you fail to address the specific language I took issue with. It seems to me that it is not true that people are simply misreading your article. You wrote:
‘Under a curse, we should own the curse of same-sex marriage and not fight it so far as it concerns them. That is not our calling… In the brewing culture wars, we ought not to stand with those seeking to ban same-sex marriage (or with those seeking to impose it). We ought to declare publicly (frustrating both sides) that we embrace this curse. If the civil authority demands our political tunic, we let him have our political cloak also. We own the sin in the first place.’
‘Should not’ and ‘ought not’? It is a wonder to me that you are surprised at the widely negative reaction you’ve received. Will you at least admit that these terms are – in light of your real position – at very least highly misleading? I think your position, as clarified, significantly backs away from ‘should not’ and ‘ought not.’ It might significantly aid understanding for people if you would address this.”
Happy to. It is quite true that this quotation in isolation can look like a simple roll-over and die strategy. And, as it stands in isolation, it is misleading. But even in this quotation note such phrases as “so far as it concerns them” and “seeking to ban.” The context of this quotation (which was the rest of the magazine) made clear the ways in which the grotesquery of homosexual marriage (labeled by us as a curse) ought to be opposed by us. The question was not whether to oppose it, but how. Those “seeking to ban” same-sex marriage through political organization and mobilization is what we were talking about. And the reason we did not want to spend our money, time, and resources in such political mobilization was because we believe that it is healing the wound of the people lightly. We want the wound healed, all the way down to the bone. We do not want to live under this particular curse, and do not want our children and grandchildren to grow up under such a curse. We wanted to address it, and we outlined a plan for addressing it.
So, at the same time we urged “owning the curse” instead of organized civic mobilization against it, we also demanded what we believed to be a far more potent response to this crisis facing our nation. For those seeking to ban the curse of same-sex marriage through doctrinal and liturgical reformation, for those leading Christian fathers to repent of their sins of abdication and abuse, for those vigorously preaching the gospel, requiring true repentance from the sin of sodomy (along with all its heterosexual cousins), and so on, we had nothing to offer but overt encouragement.
There is an old joke that says that the situation is so dire that we need to pray. “Oh, has it come to that?” What the joke reveals is that no one really believes in prayer. For us moderns it is the spiritual equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. Can’t hurt. But Scripture says the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. The fact that we evangelicals turned in the first instance to a political response to the current homo-marriage offensive demonstrates that we believe our worship and our service to God to be largely impotent. And because we believe this way, God renders to us according to our faith, which is little.
The Church does not have the political solution to what ails America. The Church is the political problem that ails America. There were women in pulpits before they were in the cockpits of F-16s. There were open homosexuals in bishops’ attire before they appeared among the ranks of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, they have not appeared among the joint chiefs yet. There was dishonest monkeying with the text of Scripture for the sake of feminism lite by our well-respected evangelical Bible-mongers before the recent Kelo impudence offered up by the Supreme Court. Everything the crazies are currently doing to the Constitution was done long before that to the text of Scripture by Christians. “What does this verse mean to me?” was current in the Church long before “What does the Tenth Amendment mean to me?” was current in our curcuit courts.
Judgment begins with the household of God. If God grants a reformation and revival in the Church, then of course we will not have to mobilize to keep same-sex marriage illegal. When the salt has not lost its savor, it does not need to “mobilize” in order to affect the meat. And when the salt has lost its savor, mobilizing doesn’t help.
Our nation is confronted with a genuine crisis here. In calling for reformation in the Church first, we wanted to answer that crisis with tactical nukes. In our view, those urging a politcal response (apart from ecclesiastical reformation) wanted to use the pea-shooters. From our perspective, this in no way constitutes a “soft” or “liberal” reaction to the derotic unhinging of our nation’s understanding of sexuality. At bottom, the debate is over where true spiritual authority lies. We believe that the ability to speak authoritatively and prophetically to the events of the public square is an ability that presupposes a recovery of what it means to be the Church. And toward that recovery we labor.