A recent news report from Washington relayed that our Vice-President, Joe Biden, had performed a wedding ceremony in his residence at the White House. That wouldn’t make the news, except for the “firsts” represented in the event. Vice-Presidents don’t usually do marriage ceremonies, and he had to get special permission. Weddings in the residences at the White House are not that common. But really the news behind the story wouldn’t have made the news had Biden not tweeted something to the effect that he was “…proud to have married Brian and Joe, two long-time White House staffers, two great guys.” So the news in this story is that a same-sex wedding was performed at the White House by our Vice President. The bigger news, though, is probably to be found in that the veep wanted to make sure it made the news. It’s amazing to live in a country where at the highest levels of government we are “proud” to be a part of things that would have been considered shameful by practically every standard not all that long ago. My, how enlightened we’ve become.
There are three approaches (probably more, but three is about all I can juggle today) in how believers are responding to the raging storm of change with which we are assaulted daily in the ongoing charge of the sexual/moral revolution. This revolution is nothing new, its visibly traceable beginnings dating back now well over fifty years ago. But in recent years and months the fervor of the revolution has gone from “sleeping giant” to “unappeasable rampaging behemoth” as Supreme Courts and presidents and rogue judges and anti-discrimination movements have taken a lot of ground for their cause, erasing through both legislation and dictatorial fiat the norms and standards that have guided our nation for most of 250 years, and indeed universally-held and accepted moral boundaries that have governed most cultures and peoples throughout the world since civilizations began.
The three approaches? One is to ignore the battle, either to deny it or simply choose to filter it out in blissful unawareness, much like someone who has lived by the train tracks so long they never even hear the train anymore. I almost envy those who can do this, but you ignore trains at great danger. And just because you don’t hear the train doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
A second is to be won over by it, simply persuaded or de-sensitized by so many years of rhetoric and political correctness and media influence and secular educational system indoctrination that one finally just accepts that these new norms are the natural and acceptable evolutions of thinking. This approach requires rationalizing that human enlightenment has finally brought us to a plateau “above” where we’ve been and that indeed if we want—as the argument is so often made these days—to “stand on the right side of history” we will get on board with the revolution and celebrate our new enlightenment and its “all-inclusive, everyone-deserves-to-be-happy-and-never-judged” mantra. It is staggering how many churches and believers are either embracing the revolution while jettisoning and replacing millennia-old biblical doctrines, or adopting a silent “live and let live stance” that in its attempt at kindness is basically bereft of standards that might offend. No one will ride that fence for very long.
The third approach probably describes the bulk of evangelical believers. And that is that we are all-too-aware of the onslaught of changes and the incredible discomfort we experience living in a culture that seems hell-bent on casting off the moral anchors and ethics that have protected, guided and sustained us for as long as we can remember. We find ourselves reeling a bit at the pace of the changes, as the wind has been knocked out of us with the almost daily losing of sacred, foundational territory we assumed was unassailable. We find ourselves dumbfounded that it has come to this, feeling (perhaps appropriately) guilty that it is happening on “our watch” or we have little response beyond shaking our heads and worrying about the future and the earth our kids and grandkids will inherit, or muttering incessantly about the sad state of the government. In our fear and sense of powerlessness, we often respond and react in guttural, embattled and defensive ways that only serve to reinforce the “other side’s” assertion that we are indeed hate-filled, bigoted and judgmental Neanderthals, hopelessly out of touch and chained to an irrelevant and unkind wrong side of history.
Space (and the reader’s patience) doesn’t allow going much beyond the surface we are scratching here in this basic diagnosis of where we stand. But without exhaustive dialogue, maybe the better-focused question asks believers, “Where must we stand as the battle rages around us?”
The answer could take volumes. But neither of us have time for that. I’ve been waiting for some wordsmith on the right to come up with a catchy phrase to counter the mellifluous “standing on the right side of history” that has become the winsome mantra for the moral revolutionaries on the left. I haven’t read one yet, but I’m still hoping. Maybe Martin Luther was onto something when he wrote his great affirmation of the strength we have in the battle against evil (and that is what this is!) through the “mighty fortress that is our God.” In the hymn he asserts that we’d have no hope in the battle–that indeed we would be losing the battle—“were not the Right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.” He’s talking about Jesus, of course, the “one little Word” that will finally crush Satan, decisively ending the battle once and for all.
For believers, the only way to ultimately be on the right side of history is to stand with “the Right Man on our side”—or, with apologies to Martin Luther—to acknowledge that it isn’t first about Him standing with us. It is first and always at issue whether we are standing with Him–walking in His ways; living by His words; proclaiming His gospel and truth. It’s about being His Church, His people, governed by His absolute standard and not some ever-changing subjective definition of what is right or wrong. And that includes treating both each other and everyone else with love and kindness, especially those who are confused by having no internal compass beyond their own. We will be judged for how well we loved both those inside and outside the Church, which starts by remembering that we are all sinners in need of grace.
When it’s all said and done, historians won’t determine the “right side of history”—God will. It’s His story, after all. As believers, let’s make sure we are standing with Him. It’s a good place to stand when the foundations are shaking.