When I opened up Facebook on Tuesday my newsfeed was saturated with little red squares with equal signs on them.
A little later it was filled with little red squares with equal signs and new little red squares with crosses on them.
A little bit after that my newsfeed was filled with little red squares with equal signs, little red squares with crosses, and so many other variations of red squares and symbols that I couldn’t track.
I’m guessing your newsfeed looked pretty similar.
To be really honest I found it all to be incredibly frustrating.
Not because of my position on gay marriage, after all it didn’t matter what your position was on Tuesday there were plenty of little red memes to get under your skin regardless of what your personal beliefs might be.
No, what really frustrated me was the fact that as a church we’re so willing to invest this sort of time, energy, and emotion to argue over our sexuality, but get conspicuously silent about the countless children who will go to bed hungry, the homeless men and women who will die from exposure on the street tonight, or the thousands of people who won’t find the healing they need because they can’t afford health insurance.
Of course there are important issues at play in the gay marriage debate. I’m not saying there aren’t. And there are very real people affected by the outcome of this debate. Some of them are my friends and I hope they find the justice, peace, and resolution they deserve.
What bothers me is the fact that Christian fury can erupt almost instantaneously on the internet when the issue being debated involves sex, but the poor, the sick, and the marginalized? We can’t even be bothered to change our Facebook profile picture for them. Worse yet, whatever energy we as a church do muster for those causes is often expended campaigning against measures and laws that would help the very groups Jesus seemed to care about the most.
We’ll spend all day screaming at each other on Facebook about who should be able to sleep with who and who should be allowed to get married, but when’s the last time you saw such palpable anger over poverty, malnutrition, disease, or homelessness? As quick as we are to call on the Bible to make our case for and against gay marriage, we’re just as quick to ignore it when it calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit those in prison.
It seems strange that a people who call themselves Christians would spend so much time fighting about issues Jesus rarely if ever even talked about, and yet will all but ignore the people and situations where he spent most of his time.
Perhaps “Christians” isn’t the name we should be calling ourselves. Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Independents – those names seem to fit better. They’re not as tied down by a particular way of life as claiming to be Christ-like.
But “Christian”? There’s just too much baggage that comes with that name that we don’t seem willing to carry. Too much having to love people you don’t want to love. Too much having to care for people that don’t deserve it or haven’t worked hard enough to earn it. Too much sacrifice and commitment to make when you could just click a mouse or cast a ballot.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the gay marriage debate isn’t an important conversation to have.
But we need to be as obsessed with fighting things like poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, and disease as we are with sexuality. No, we need to be even more obsessed than that. We need to be so obsessed that we begin to have a hard time seeing where this world ends and the kingdom of God begins.
Only then will we have any right to claim the name of the One who spent his life blessing the poor, healing the sick, and liberating the oppressed.
Grace and peace,