I have not done this in a while, but I thought I’d just reflect on several things in small doses.
Donald Miller says that he doesn’t “go to” church very often and it creates a firestorm of protest from Evangelicals who are kind of freaking out. But, in his response to the first article, he says that he is a part of Christian community that can be quite rigorous. So, here is the question: Is Donald Miller being serious? If he is saying that going to an institutional church service where a pastor lectures the audience and a guy with spiked hair and a fog machine leads a swaying crowd is not necessary, then who would disagree with that? If he is engaging in some form of Christian community but it just doesn’t meet in a building at a set time, does anyone care? The problem is that Miller is lumping all church expressions in with the mega-seeker-video-life-enhancement-church with the coffee bar and the rock star pastor and saying he doesn’t do that anymore. So? Why is that an issue? Miller knows about organic church. Why not just say that he still believes in gathering with Christians, but not just in the same forms as what is traditionally accepted? [Note: I really like Donald Miller and his writings and this is not a slam against him personally, his faith, his writing, his favorite sports team, or a critique of whether he is a dog or cat person].
I might be swimming upstream on this, but I am looking forward to the Noah movie. As long as people understand that it is a MOVIE and that it is not a literal reading of Scripture, I really don’t have a problem with Hollywood trying to get inside the head of Noah, a Biblical character who was given a daunting task and who accomplished it over a long period of time against all odds. One problem that we have with the Bible is that we have sanitized it and ripped the drama out of it and made it into a children’s fairy tale. A lot of baby nurseries are decorated according to a “Noah’s Ark” theme with smiling giraffes and elephants sticking their heads out of a boat with an old man with a beard and a staff standing under a rainbow. The actual story had the entire human race drowning and dying a horrible death because their sin was so intense that God had to wipe them out. I imagine that it was a horrific scene. I do not expect it to be completely accurate, as it is a Hollywood movie, but if it can recapture some sense of the intensity and drama of what happened, then it might be more accurate (in other ways) than depictions that conservative Christians have been happy with. Of course, I haven’t seen it yet, so my full opinion still has yet to be formed.
The NFL is about to have an openly gay football player in Missouri Defensive End, Michael Sam. After what has happened in America the past five years, why is this an issue? I understand that it will be a culture shift in the locker room (to an extent), but gay people work in jobs all over America in almost every field. Why is this a big deal? Does anyone think that Sam is the first gay player to ever be on an NFL team? He is the first “openly” gay player, but there have been others and their teammates have known about it. We are talking about secular American society here, not religious institutions. My guess is that the media and other cultural forces simply see this as another way to demonstrate that acceptance of homosexuality in America is the norm. I think that they will be surprised at how few people are willing to make this an issue. Who is trying to deny gay people employment in America? A bigger issue to me is how anyone who disagrees with homosexual behavior at all is going to be vilified as a bigot. One can accept Sam as a person and be opposed to discrimination against him while also disagreeing with homosexual behavior and believing that it is a sin on religious grounds (along with many other sins that all people – gay or straight are guilty of). Those are two separate things. The problem is that they are confusing the two and are equating disagreement with discrimination and calling it bigotry. There are about to be a lot of interviews of NFL players where they are asked what they think of homosexuality. For those who say that they disagree with it, I predict that they will be labeled a bigot and will be disciplined into silence or vilified. That is where this is headed, in my opinion.
I guess that all three of these issues seem to be much ado about nothing – at least in the way that a controversy is attempting to be developed over all three things. I am not talking about how society should ideally be or about what is actually right or wrong in each circumstance. What I guess that I am getting at is that it seems that with every story in the news, the goal is to pit one group against the other and get people to become upset with what someone else is doing so that it can become a bigger story and so that opposing sides can be further defined. As this continues, an agenda is pushed forward each time and someone benefits while someone else is further marginalized. I think that we can come up with better ways of living than to engage in constant conflict.