Today the Supreme Court of the US refused to hear arguments on several same-sex marriage cases. In effect tossing out the cases against the legalization of same-sex marriage and making it officially legal in 11 more states, bringing the total of states in the US that allow same-sex marriage to 30.
(I may be wrong on the exact numbers because as of this time the stories are sometimes vague and often contradictory. One I have been able to verify is the Attorney General of Colorado has ordered all county clerks to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.)
And of course many in the church are losing their minds. The number of angry blog posts, facebook statuses, and tweets has far outnumbered the posts regarding the facts of the matter.
So much energy is being spent by people losing their minds. And it’s not just this issue. Any time something comes up in the news that ‘Christians’ feel is against their scriptures it happens. Hours and hours are spent writing and yelling and arguing and name calling. Hours that are better spent in so many better ways.
So in light of that I give you 6 things the Church can learn from just chilling the @#$& out:
1) Just enjoy that movie
Almost every year there is a movie that makes us lose our minds. Noah? Oh my gosh! That was so wrong! Not Biblical at all! Transformers? ERHMAHGERD! Dinosaurs are only 6000 years ago and they weren’t robots! New Star Wars movies that aren’t even out yet? FREAK OUT AND LOSE OUR MINDS!! It doesn’t have Jesus in it!
How about we try this. Chill out and just watch the movie. Then good or bad, let’s just talk about it on it’s own merits as human beings and not freak out all over the place? Just try it. And then maybe we can get Chinese food and ice cream after.
2) Music on the radio is more fun than some guy talking
Talk radio shows are everywhere. Even music stations play them late at night and early in the morning. I’m not saying that talk radio shows in and of themselves are ‘bad’, but maybe try this: don’t listen to talk radio. Just try it. For a week. Maybe two. Put on music that you like instead.
Personally I like the oldies channel. (To me, oldies are what I listened to in high school.) God is not going to condemn you to Hell for listening to The Doors instead of Rush Limbaugh. You’re not going to be doomed for hearing Willie Nelson instead of Dr. Dobson.
Seriously, just try it. Just turn of the angry rants and sing along. You might find you like it.
3) Your children learning science/evolution will not turn them into Satan worshippers
Setting aside the pointless argument as to whether evolution is ‘settled science’ or not. (It is, but science is never really settled is it?)
Your children learning it isn’t a bad thing. Seriously, it’s not going to do them any long term emotional or spiritual damage. If you want your children to get ahead in school, college, and life, they need to learn it, whether or not you think it’s real. And this goes for other things like math and history. Teaching them only an ‘alternative’ version of things is harmful to them and to their future.
Try looking at it this way. The ACT/SAT tests require certain answers. Teach your kids those answers even if you and they don’t believe in them. Seriously, they won’t start drinking blood and growing horns if you do.
4) It’s OK that things aren’t ‘Christian’, stop changing history and reality to force things into a Christian mold
This one really gets to me: “America is a Christian Nation!” Um…. ok. Do you have a Christian car too? How about a Christian computer? Or a Christian tree growing in your yard? A country is a political construct defined by its boundaries, laws, and ‘papers’ (In the case of the US that would include the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution). And yes, the people. But ALLLLLLLL the people, not just the people you WANT to include. Other than the people, none of those things is a conscious being. A Christian is someone that has made a decision to follow Christ. Unless the Rocky Mountains or the heads at Rushmore suddenly start talking, I’m going to go with the assumption that the country cannot make a decision to follow Christ.
And guess what? You can’t FORCE someone to follow Christ. So by insisting that we enact CHRISTIAN laws and only have CHRISTIAN politics and so on, you are forcing people to follow laws and rules that they haven’t chosen.
It’s OK! Really, honestly, it’s OK that America is not a Christian nation. Even IF you can prove that it WAS, it isn’t anymore. It’s OK. We don’t have to change how we teach history, we don’t have to change what the news shows us, we don’t have to make things into something they aren’t just to convince our children and others that things are what we want them to be not what they really are.
5) Being friends with someone who isn’t a Christian (and has made a choice not to be one) can be pretty awesome
If all your friends are in your church, that’s great. But if one of those friends is also friends with
someone who ISN’T in your church, IT’S OK! No seriously. And no, you don’t have to go out and try to convert that person. If that’s your thing, fine, but if that person has already made a choice to NOT be a Christian or even (*gasp*) to be Muslim or Jewish or (*double gasp*) Atheist, it’s all going to be OK.
I have many friends, some very
real, some just ‘facebook’ friends, some just casual friends. Few of them are Christians. (*GASP!!!*) No, seriously, very few. All of them (or so I hope) know that I am a Christian. And the reason they know that is not because I’ve directly told them, but rather through my speech and actions. Will I ever ‘convert’ any of them? Why do I care? I mean, yes, I’d like it if it happened, but I’m not going to actively try to do that. Some are atheist, one or two are pagan, at least one is Hindu, another is Buddhist, and one says he’s a devout follower of The Holy Church Of Bill The Cat. And while it’s not a religious stance, two are gay. And they’re all cool and awesome and totally bodacious. If any of them change their mind about their devotion (or non-devotion as the case may be) I would hope they might ask about what I believe, but that’s not why I’m friends with them. I’m friends with them because they are cool and awesome and totally bodacious.
So try it! Go out and make a friend that believes differently than you. The conversations alone will be worth the effort. And who knows? You might find a new best friend.
6) Not every issue has to be a ‘Christian’ issue
Gas prices. Immigration. Fantasy Football. Breakfast cereal. What do all these things have in common? None of them are inherently “Christian” or “Religious” issues. Yet the church seems to want to Christian-ize everything. So when we talk about Gas prices it’s because the President isn’t a Christian and therefore gas is too high. Immigration? It’s because we aren’t Christian enough to keep them out. Fantasy Football? Obviously my players aren’t praying hard enough before their games. Breakfast cereal? Obviously the most evil thing ever!!! Don’t eat it!!
I might be exaggerating a bit, but so many in the church are convinced that EVERYTHING is a spiritual and therefore a church issue and therefore the church has to be involved in it. Everything from the curriculum at the local high school, to the upcoming election, to the price of beans at the local grocery store. And while, as a Christian, everything in your life should either reflect or enhance that, not everything in the world needs to be Christianized. It’s OK if the kids are reading Spider-Man, it’s OK if your neighbor is listening to Metallica, it’s OK if the beans aren’t grown by a Christian farmer.
And it’s OK for you to not stand up in church and not make a big stinking deal about it. We live in a diverse world with diverse people and diverse tastes and not everything is a challenge to your faith. If it is, then maybe you need to re-examine your faith.
And this includes elections an politicians. Churches and church people need to stop telling people how to vote. It’s OK if this candidate or that one isn’t a religious person. Candidates that present themselves as Christian have rarely turned out to be the best choice in a politician. Politics is a dirty game and someone needs to be dirty to play it. Don’t vote your convictions, vote your needs and intentions. Which candidate, regardless of religion, will do the best job for you? Vote for THAT guy even if he/she isn’t a Christian.
There are, obviously many many more things that can be on this list. Share your thoughts and comments and maybe I’ll add them!
Until then, chill out my excellent friends.