Saturday, March 04, 2006

Wagongi has a Son

I just returned from watching the movie End of the Spear. It was quite posibly the most moving piece of media I have ever consumed. It tells the story of the Waodoni people-a group of violent natives of Eucador who kill 5 missionaries, and are then reached by the wives, children, and siblings of those missionaries. All that the Waodoni have in the way of spiritual beliefs is a belief in a creator-named Wagongi-and some superstitions about the afterlife.

This story is a beautiful portrayal of God's love. For instance, when the missionaries are being speared, they have guns at their disposal. But they refuse to use them. Later, one of the murderers asks a friend of the missionaries why they didn't shoot, she says: "Wagongi has a Son. He was speared, but did not spear back, so that the people who speared Him could learn to live well." The way that the gospel is lived and preached will blow you away. The sacrificial way that the survivors loved the murderers of their families is amazing, and a lesson to all Christians about how to express God's love to others. It seems that the missionaries knew that God's love changes lives, and so they were willing to share it, even with people who did not deserve it. Perhaps they realized that they didn't deserve it, either.

Now I'd like to move from commenting on the movie, to commenting on the controversy surrounding it. It seems that Chad Allen, who plays a lead character, is gay. And not just that, he's an activist. I bet he even votes for Democrats. Needless to say, a lot of evangelicals are pissed. The outrage has been considerable.

God has been pretty durn clear about homosexuality-see Romans 1, for starters. I'm not suggesting that we ignore that-bad things tend to happen when people start ignoring The Almighty-a worldwide flood, for instance. What I'm asking us to consider is-what about Chad Allen? Remember him, the actual person, created in the image of God, who is involved in this thing? What does it look like to him when he is talked about on the internet and talk shows as if he isn't there? How does he feel when Christians attack other Christians just for associating with him? What does he feel when the people who hired him say things like "Well, if we'd known he was gay we wouldn't have hired him, but we felt stuck," (which is pretty much what they said about him)?

Is that the love of Christ? Is that the gospel that Nate Saint died to preach? Are murderers somehow worth loving, even at the end of the spear, but gay folks aren't worth being seen with, at the threat of what those other evangelicals think of you? Have we forgotten that the Lord we say we follow was mocked for hanging out with hookers and thieves?

Because here's the thing: Wagongi has a Son. And He came. Looking for what was lost. And loving me enough to show me that "the lost" included me. And finding me-not letting me find Him, but finding me. Dying a horrible death so that a rebellious, unrepentant sinner like me could be brought to repentance, through no ability of my own. Dying horribly so I could live abundantly. Saying things like "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him." Things that indicate I can't even take credit for wanting to become a christian, let alone providing myself with the means to do it.

Things like that should help us all stay humble. I'm not advocating Chad Allen's homosexuality. Far from it. I'm advocating us being the kind of people whose greatest priority is interacting with people in a way that imitates as closely as possible the way Christ interacted with sinners, remembering all the while, that "such were some of us."None of us are perfect at this. But I fear some of us aren't even trying. And that is a problem.

So tell me what you think. How do we communicate the whole counsel of God to the homosexual culture? How do we avoid the sinful extremes of hatred on the one hand, or unfaithfulness to God's truth on the other? I think it may start with the recognition that just because the sins I am bent towards are of a more socially acceptable nature, doesn't mean that before God I'm in any different position. It would continue with a recognition that that position I share with all other people is a bad one-desperately in need of Christ's saving work. That would lead me then to be faithful to the truth of the Gospel, as well as the heart of how it should be presented.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hey, this is my new blog. Hope you enjoy. I hope to have many thought-provoking discussions here.