To my former youth,
If you were a member of a youth ministry that I served, this is for you.
I offer my thoughts to you as an act of love. In light of recent events I want to offer one more lesson. Take it our leave it. That’s up to you. I just feel like I should say something. While there will be ongoing commentary as to what happened, how it happened, should it have happened, and what will have to be done by those on both sides, I feel compelled to offer some words to you, my former youth, who will and are living in a world very different from the one I grew up in.
The world has changed. It invariably does and it is too soon to determine if it is for the good or the bad. I know what some have already said, but I am not a prophet. Whatever speculation I may conjure up is not meant for public consumption. I have always strived to speak from what I know, a lesson that has served me will thus far in life, so why deviate now.
The opinions, sentiments, and analysis offered in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision have been all over the place. If you went online to find something to make you feel better and you agreed with, you found it. If you went looking for something to get mad about, you found that too. I think I’m getting old! The internet and social media has everyone thinking they are an expert which means no one is an expert in anything except their own opinions. This is the main reason I rarely engage in all this. It’s just too much.
As I have thought on what happened and what I saw I was saddened by it all. The reality of what we saw yesterday and what we will see in the days to come is that no one won. Everyone lost. I am not being pessimistic or dire in my statement or thinking. I am merely stating the reality as I see it. In times like these we have to take a step back and assess what has happened, not in light of how we feel, but in light of where we are going. Trajectory implies destination. This is an important lesson to remember.
I had a hard time going to sleep last night. Not because of the decision. I knew that was going to happen. I had a hard time because of what I saw on social media. The way those for and against responded did not leave me very hopeful for what is too come. As a society we have become far more polarized that ever before. This is not going to be an easy road for anyone.
I would like to offer you two reasons for why there were not winners.
1. The issue has not been resolved. The court used its position to instill fear rather than freedom in the conversation.
In spite of the Justice Kennedy’s consolation that those who have a historic view of marriage will be able to continue to believe what they believe, this will not last for long. The purpose of laws is to control, to funnel a society toward a particular vision of what it should be. For those who are saying that morality cannot be legislated, they are lying to everyone, especially themselves. Morality has been legislated, but not by the people who must live under the law, but by a committee of five. The morality of the justices is what has now become the law of the land.
Even if you agree with the decision, this should concern you. Rights that have been granted by fiat can also be taken away by the same means. The way forward has been set and who can stop it. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the final authority on all legal issues in our country. To whom can we now appeal?
Because of this decision, everyone will think twice about sharing his thoughts or opinions. I want to believe that this is not what the Justices want, however, this is a perfect example of the unintended consequences of a decision.
2. Truth is never determined by the reasoning of the human mind.
Regardless of how you feel about the decision handed down by five justices of the Supreme Court, marriage was not redefined yesterday. That right was never in their power. Marriage was reimagined, but it was done so in the image of five flawed individuals.
As a follower of Christ, I hold, as a principle of faith, that truth is not something I discover. It is something revealed to me. This means that truth cannot be shaped or changed. Truth has to be grappled with and then adjusted to. Truth exists as something exterior to me. If it does not then truth ceases to exist as a normative principle for living.
The wisdom of humanity was on full display with the court’s decision. They said as much in the majority opinion. The problem is that God has explicitly said that all human wisdom is foolishness. That means that if, as members of the body of Christ, we are being swayed and convinced by the reasoning offered by human thinking we are not following wisdom. We are in error.
True wisdom, the wisdom that God provides and promotes, looks foolish to the world. The world simply does not understand the mind of God because it is contrary to the desires of the human heart. The wisdom of God finds its greatest expression in the Bible. That is why, whenever I read something within its pages and it causes me to flinch, I must allow God’s word to guide me rather than depending on my own insights, sentiments, or desires.
The greatest threat to the church will not be an external one. The church has grown and expanded under times of great stress and persecution. The greatest threat to the church will be when its members fail to have their minds conformed and transformed into the mind of Christ. This means when we stop thinking for ourselves and are pulled and pushed by our emotions, we will have surrendered valuable ground in the fight of faith.
When I first started in ministry, I made a decision that I would never tell anyone what to think. My hope has always been to help anyone who would listen how to think better. Regardless of which side you fall on with regard to this issue, my hope and prayer remains the same.