Christopher Mitchell’s article, “God’s Design for Marriage” (August), was very good and a much-needed perspective of God’s will for our married lives.
However, Dr. Mitchell misquoted when he wrote that “one holy catholic and apostolic church” comes from the Apostles’ Creed. It is, as Dr. Mitchell would agree, from the Nicene Creed.
Thank you, Dr. Mitchell, for an article that is very relevant to the times we live in.
Trinity Lutheran Church
(Ed. note: Re Apostles’/Nicene Creed— please blame the editor, not the author. This is an infelicity we should have caught, or perhaps not created.)
I was struck by the opening line of President Kieschnick’s “Statement of Disagreement with California Ruling”: “In the face of such moral decline . . . ” As I was thinking about that line, it made me wonder if we as members of the LCMS and the wider conservative (theologically, not politically) Christian community are not partly responsible for this moral decline. Our responsibility in this decline is the result of our retreat from culture. We retreated from the city to the suburbs and from public to parochial schools. Our retreat from the cities left a vacuum that was filled by liberal Christians, gays and lesbians, and other progressive communities. They then shaped American culture, primarily through television. It has led to homosexual and cohabitating couples being seen as the norm. It also has led to obviously devout Christians being labeled as simply “spiritual” in news stories. If conservative Christians moved back into the cities, we could begin to take back the national culture.
The public school system is the most significant force shaping culture on the local level. As a volunteer youth leader, I have to deal with the effects of this every week. In the town in which I live, the impact is not so much families retreating to parochial schools but parents who do not take an active role in what is being taught to their children. Many high schoolers spend 35 or 40 hours a week in school and close to an equal amount of time watching television, all absorbing secular culture. That is more than 20 times as much as youth spend at church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. It is an uphill battle to be sure. If each LCMS parent took an active role in his or her children’s education, I am sure it would have an immediate impact on what is taught.
Until we begin to engage the culture again, I fear that we will be dismissed as fundamentalists issuing statements “in the face of such moral decline.”
I was a little troubled while reading the various articles on marriage, and God’s views on marriage, in the August issue. It wasn’t so much the way that God’s position on marriage was presented as it was the lack of a message on how we as Christians are to reach out to those who are locked in this sinful behavior.
I think it can be very easy for us to puff out our chests and take a strong stance against something so naturally appalling to the vast majority of us. Unfortunately, I truly believe that in doing this, we also are hardening our hearts toward people who desperately need our love. We say that Christ loves them, but are we passing along that love? This is not easy stuff, but Christ commands us to do so. Aren’t we supposed to be His hands and feet?
I think we’re spending too much time reminding ourselves that what these people are doing is wrong. We need to walk out and serve. We need to listen to their pain, serve them, and speak to them in love. Christ didn’t spend a lot of time fighting for His rights. He did spend a lot of time loving sinners. I think we’re allowing ourselves to be lied to. We’re drawing artificial lines in the sand, where we decide which sins are somewhat acceptable–and which are not–and it all has to do with social norms and to what degree these sins have a grip on us personally. An alcoholic sitting in jail because he injured someone in a car accident deserves to be there, right? What about that Super Bowl party where you didn’t realize how much you’d had to drink until you stood up to leave and proudly declared yourself “all right to drive home,” even though, admittedly, things were swaying just a little bit. Were you really that far from a similar fate? The guy going to the strip club all the time is lost, but what about that movie you let yourself watch last week, or the bachelor/bachelorette party you went to? The bottom line is we’re all struggling with every single one of the “seven deadly sins.” We’re dead without Christ. So are the people we’re looking down at. More truthfully, they are us!
Again, I know this isn’t easy. I’m not doing any better at this than anyone else, but how much could we change the world if we, as Christians, started doing the things Christ commands us to do–the things He loves us to do? If you think about it, that dirty homeless guy is dirty because you didn’t help him get clean. He’s starving because I didn’t give him something to eat. To some degree, the homosexuals hate us–because we don’t love them. Satan is a factor, don’t misunderstand, but let’s shed some of our pride, and let’s show them love. Let’s spend less time convincing people how and why we’re right. Let’s spend more time listening in love to why they think we’re wrong. By your love, they just may see Christ in you. Don’t you think God will be happier to spend eternity in heaven with that man or woman–than He would be to see you win an argument?
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