We’re on the road again. My husband found a very disheartening article in the USA Today entitled “Same-sex marriage is surely a civil right”, which in essence states that African-Americans should be the first to support gay and lesbian rights because we understand better than most the look and feel of discrimination. The author states the reasons that many African-Americans (and non-AAs as well) don’t support same-sex marriage: an overwhelmingly Christian population at its roots, the years of inhumane cruelties, and the inability for most of us to hide our race. She then presents, supported by at least one pastor, the scientific evidence that sexual orientation is not a choice, but a difference in chemical make-up (my words) at birth. What struck me about this article, though, was that the author spoke of her own youthful experiences of attending a church, which I assume perhaps incorrectly, means that she grew up in a Christian home. I thought of that in the context of recent statistics that I’ve heard: the average American child spends an annual 40 hours in church, 1000 hours in school, 1000 hours in front of the television, and 1300 hours with video games or other electronic toys. Moreover, this generation is said to be the first whose values will be shaped by the media because of the amount of time that is spent outside of parent-child interaction. This was my conclusion after reading the opinion of a church-going newspaper contributor, but often statistics are just that—data that astounds you, but is still far away from your head and heart. The message hits home when I reflect on my own experiences as a regular church attendee when I was young, and I hear more and more from good friends who attend some of the most well-known churches in the country, but are not learning the Bible. Finally, I’m saddened when I ask my oldest on the way out of the door to Wednesday night service, “Do you have your Bible?” Her response is an indifferent, “Oh, I don’t need it tonight.” (By the way, this statement isn’t as much about our church as it is about the nature of many youth programs that our children have journeyed to with friends).
You expect certain attitudes and opinions from the world, but what are we as Christians teaching our children? What are we not teaching them? One message is clear to me: if we’re looking for others, even the church, to build our children’s hearts for Christ and to plant deep-rooted seeds for Kingdom growth, it won’t happen; it has to begin with us.
The article contained true gems: ultimately, God’s message is about love and redemption, and yes, history has proven that, at any given time, the term morality was often a “cloak for old-fashioned bigotry, fear and discomfort with people and behaviors that are different” (McCarthy, 2006).
However, in my mind, one thought prevails: if we are not careful to teach and train, to pray and cover our gifts spiritually, and to love them unconditionally so that they don’t go to the wrong sources looking for what they failed to get at home, we could wake up one morning as the proud parents of an author or pastor like those in this article—armed with God’s word, dangerous in its application.
By the way, our kids covered 2 Peter 1: 3-11 on yesterday, so that they don’t forget (vs. 9) that they have been cleansed of their sins. Be blessed today.