Long defeat? Imitate Josh Barro?!
For the long defeat thing, see here. For the Barro bit, read on. This is a reflection based on a compilation of recent Rod Dreher blog posts (if you do not regularly check out Rod Dreher, I strongly advise you to do so).
N.Y. Times reporter Josh Barro wants anti-LGBT attitudes to be ruthlessly stamped out. Of course, in the current environment in which the Roman Catholic Church is beyond morally compromised, all of us who hold to Christian or other more traditional views of marriage will increasingly pay the price.
This video following the lives of three persons who have done just that is amazing to watch – two in particular talk about how much the Lord’s Supper means to them in a way that shames and humbles me to no end. I highly recommend you watch it and let it challenge you, wherever you stand:
Another thing to add here. Rod Dreher cancelled his subscription to the N.Y. Times over Barro’s comment. I would simply note that Barro’s attitude towards heresy is really not much different than the attitude of many a faithful Christian. The great preacher, J.C. Ryle said:
If we would hold fast that which is good, we must not tolerate any doctrine that is not the pure doctrine of Christ’s Gospel. There is a hatred that is downright charity: that is the hatred of erroneous doctrine. There is an intolerance which is downright praiseworthy: that is the intolerance of false teaching in the pulpit. Who would ever think of tolerating a little poison given to him day by day? If men come among you who do not preach “all the counsel of God,” who do not preach of Christ, sin, holiness, of ruin, and redemption, and regeneration, – or do not preach of these things in a Scriptural way, you ought to cease to hear them. You ought to carry out the spirit shown by the Apostle Paul, in Gal.1:8: “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.”
Barro’s view, like Paul’s, is religious. We should not be surprised. When the influence of Christianity dissipates in this world, so does the particularly Christian notion of the distinction between the church and the state, the sacred and the secular.
Other nations have known more or less tolerance throughout the ages. It is not realistic to think that one will get the amount of real freedom and tolerance we have known (Christians are weak! – they allow everything!*) apart from the leaven of Christ’s Kingdom… (I thought about this more here and here).
For now, we can be thankful that Barro, hating the sin but loving the sinner, did not say that we need to be ruthlessly stamped out!
However difficult things may get, let us always remember He who overcomes the world: “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)
And your passages for today? I Peter 3:15-16 (always!) and II Timothy 2: 24-26, from that same Apostle Paul who is so utterly ruthless towards false teaching and attitudes:
“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
”G.K. Chesteron has described how Christianity is ‘attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons’. Some criticize Christianity for its gentleness; some for provoking so many wars. Some think Christianity is too optimistic; others that it is too pessimistic. Some attack it for its gloom and others for its joy. Sometimes, such contradictory criticisms can be found in a single tract or conversation. Chesterton wrote,
What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?… If this mass of mad contradictions really existed, quakerish and bloodthirsty, too gorgeous and too thread-bare, austere, yet pandering preposterously to the lust of the eye, the enemy of women and their foolish refuge, a solemn pessimist and a silly optimist, if this evil existed, then there was in this evil something quite supreme and unique… And then in a quiet hour a strange thought struck me like a still thunderbolt. There had suddenly come into my mind another explanation. Suppose we heard an unknown man spoken of by many men. Suppose we were puzzled to hear that some men said he was too tall and some too short; some objected to his fatness, some lamented his leanness; some thought him too dark, and some too fair. One explanation (as has already been admitted) would be that he might be an odd shape. But there is another explanation. He might be the right shape.
Today Christianity is being attacked for being too rational and for being too emotional, for its moral strictness and for its immorality, for being unscientific and for claiming to be true. Modernists dismiss Christianity for its subjectivity; Postmodernists dismiss Christianity for its objectivity.” (Foreward, Making the Case for Christianity, pp. vii-viii)