Last Sunday we concluded the "Our Confession" series. It was 12 weeks of considering deep and glorious statements that make up our core doctrine... our Confession of Faith. We finished the series discussing The Restoration of All Things. What an awe-inspiring subject to dive into on Easter Sunday. Jesus is returning, people will be raised and shalom will be restored. God will be our God and we will be His people. No more death, sickness or sorrow. Perfection everywhere. God as the center. To this we say: come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Well, way back in part four of this series (The Creation of Humanity) we tackled a bunch of implications for humanity that flow from God's creation design. In that sermon I briefly addressed sexuality and gender identity. You can go back and listen to it for yourself but the basic idea is this: God created male and female. God created two genders and in creating two genders he set the basis for sexuality. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Sex is reserved for marriage - therefore sex is only between a husband and a wife. This means that sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage (adultery), homosexuality, bi-sexuality and transgender are all opposed to God's design. These are all misrepresentations of our God given gender and sexuality.
However, we also believe that God created humanity with intrinsic dignity. Why? Because people bear the image of God. That means that every person (race, gender, age, etc.) has dignity. That also means that even when a person is making sinful choices they still have dignity. As followers of Jesus, we should be leading the way in loving others. (If you want to learn more about how to do that, authors Wesley Hill, Rosario Butterfield and Scott Sauls offer some really helpful resources.)
This brings me to an important subject. The Michigan Department of Education is asking for public comment on a statement that they have written regarding Safe and Supportive Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Students. You can read it here.
This is complicated so let me just share two thoughts and then invite you to take action:
- The Bible really does teach that all people have dignity. Because this is true we should want to reflect that. We should long for a society that prohibits discrimination. Period. I want all kids in every school to be able to go through their years of education without being bullied or ignored.
- The definition of discrimination in our time and place is often confused. Discrimination is often used as a sort of "trump card" that justifies every decision and action as long as it "helps" a minority group. Well, there is a level of kindness, acceptance and awareness that is right and good. There is also a level of acceptance and encouragement that is unhealthy. To stay on the right side of that line is the challenge. The American College of Pediatrics has responded to (some parts of) the Michigan Department of Education's statement. It is sobering, pointed and helpful. You can read it here.
I think it would be good for the followers of Jesus, people who love God and love people, to give feedback to the Michigan Department of Education regarding this statement. You can do that here. The window for public comment closes on April 10.
But before you do, how could you effectively share both your desire to love and care for all people regardless of their choices as well as the value and goodness of God's design for those same people? I think that some parts of this statement are really good. How can we help make the whole thing good?
May God grant us all the wisdom to live and love well in this broken and beautiful world.