|The Lost Voice of the Church|
On 14 Feb 2008, Lawrence King, an eighth-grader at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California, was shot and killed by a 14-year-old attacker because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Lawrence was subject to frequent bullying because of his gayness. It was apparently a carefully planned attack. Candlelight Vigils were held around the country to remember him and many many more who had died similarly.
There has been errie silence in the Christian airways apart from a CNS News Service article by Susan Jones titled “Hate Crime Charges Against Teen Who Shot ‘Feminine’ Boy”. Perhaps the title summed up all, the denial that Lawrence King was gay but rather only a Feminine Boy, and inappropriately highlighting against anti-Hate Crime laws of the state of California but no mention of the great horror nor outrage of this act of uncalled for violence. When there was an obvious need to tighten the laws to protect the innocent, the weak, and the vulnerable, the Christian Right chose to go the opposite to take those protections away. The silence is not a silence of respect rather that we may have been a party through our anti-gay crusade masqueraded as Christianity. Christians by proxy of the leaders that represent them have declared wars on gays with very strong rethoric blaming them for all the social ills and family breakdown and that "God hate fags". Ultimately, that kind of indoctrination sanctioned by religion impacts the gullible mind to act and do violence all in the name of God.
It is said that Gay affirming Christian Churches such as MCC are too single issue focus especially since the attendence may not be 100% gay. We often forgotten that such churches are often a loudspeaker used by God to speak and support gays on the gay issue for which there would be absolute silence or support at other churches on a weekly basis. Christian Gays may unknowingly endeavor to de-gay their sermons because they yearned for a place where homosexuality would not be the main focus, but Christ would be. That is a good vision but devoids of the practical reality of the season we are now in where gays are condemned by the church, not every week, but regularly, and through official statements and ex-gay groups. We should live in the present and not flinch from adressing and confornting the churches whence we came from. We a given a mandate and a voice, so let us not waste it speaking with our own voice. When we do not speak out, who would speak out for the many Lawrence King in our community, many who are so traumatized by the bullying and condemnation that they have taken their own lives. Do we care?
Whilst the sermons preached in the Mainstream churches will routinely speak against gays, Gays are usually not their main focus apart from the 377a season where it was considered a firm stance needed to be taken to clarify the churches position. We often forgotten that whilst gays are sledom the main focus and mention negatively only in passing, the voice that is heard outside the church is not the voice of Jesus calling unto salvation and drawing men to Him, but rather a message of a church so engulged on the issue of homosexuality that it is causing historic splits. The bible says that when we lift up Jesus higher, ie when we proclaim His death, His cruxificion for our sins, and His resurrection, we draw people to Jesus and His Message of Salvation. That is what the voice of the church should be. However, when we proclaim through our action, and official press release, an unusual preoccupation and obsession with gays, we will loose our voice. We will loose the mandate to speak for Christ, and to bring healing and Hope and God's love to the nations. We will not exhibit the Power that we need to demonstrate and validate our authority and authencity of our message, for power comes when The Word is proclaimed to bind the forces of darkness and to give freedom to loosen the bonds and yoke of the law of condemnation through Jesus Christ.
What are we proclaiming today? A Man made Religion or Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus is weeping today. In Singapore, we blame gays for the low birth rate and for destroying families, but dare not address the real cause or make it a parliamentary debate that more than 15,000 babies aborted each year by the decisions of Heterosexual Parents. Gays are a convenient scapegoat and a red herring which we could find easily religious justification from the bible to condemn less we cause offence to the almost entirely straight couples that attends the mainstream churches if we condemn them for the abortions. Perhaps talk is cheap and Christian Groups do not want to take the responsibility to take care of the babies if they insisted that abortion be stopped. It may seem odd that we banned Gays from having relationships and getting married when perhaps God has created them to take care of the babies the straight couples so willingly abort. When we act like God and determine which family model is acceptable, irrespective of the strong commitment and love, we end up distorting God's plans and purposes.
The indifferent response by Christian Fundamentalist to the tragic death of Lawrence King represents a denial of the existence of the Gay community as a unique people group. When we refused to accept an expression of Humanity which God has created, we deny that part of creation, we deny part of God. We also loose part of our own Humanity and become indifferent to the sufferings and pains of others and our religious dogmas becomes our idol above all else. The End seems to always justify the means. Our Gospel Message becomes lost in contrast to our strong and emotional call against gays. The streets are filled with rethorical ads such as "Gay aim: abolish the family" when we should be spending money to proclaim the message that "Jesus loves you". People seldom see past or forget our absurd allegations and lies for which it now has become a great stumbling stone.
The Global South movement is now forcing the gay issue onto the Holy Land, by insisting on having an alternative meeting to the Lambeth Conference by meeting instead in Jerusalem despite opposition from the local Bishop. The World hears only on the possible schism caused by Christians obsessed by the Gay issue lead by the church in Nigeria whose country is wrecked by grave poverty, violence, and corruption. Perhaps Christians are obsessed with the "sins" of others in order to cover our own sins, the bones in our whitewash tomb, with the apperance of Holiness and righteousness on the outside. Nigeria has taken millions from the world with corrupt Internet schemes, and also billions from the world community for aid, much of it going to the corrupt leaders. We are the simpleton spoken in Proverbs, so easily conned as we are in this case on the appearance of being Godly and biblical but to leading a dead end where we loose all our credibility and voice as a Church.
I believe that God has and will forgive the Church of Singapore for all our sins and failings because the blood of Jesus covers it all despite our continual refusal to repent from this sinful lifestyle of persecuting the defenceless minorities in our community and causing so much harm and suffering. We preach about the Law just as the Pharisees ded and likewise claim we could follow it. In reality, it is all about grace for we have continued to persecute the weak instead of being their voice. When we become the voice for the least of our community, surely, the Gospel message will go forth in power and annointing. For did not Jesus and John the Baptist worked with the poor and the outcast rather than the rich and the powerful. We will not see revival until we return to biblical Christianity, so well defined by the ministry of Jesus to the outcasts and ultimately at the Cross of Calvary. Jesus suffered the ultimate shame, suffering, and indignity at the Cross. When Christians go out to hate instead of Love, to kill instead of dying for others, to lie about gays instead of telling the truth about Jesus, we ultimately put more suffering and shame upon that precious rugged Cross. Let us return to the foot of the cross for in that darkess moment, comes our resurrection if we return to God. A life lost so early and tragically in Lawrence King is bad enough, but worst is the voice of the church lost that millions may die in their sins unredeemed. When we return to the Cross, we return to the place where we can make a difference for me and you.
Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;