Sunday, June 28, 2015

Two Approaches to Friday

There are two responses to Friday's Supreme Court Ruling that I would like to discuss here on my blog.  Those two responses (which are both pretty good and worth your time and consideration) are as follows:

1.  President Harrison's Response (the LCMS response)
2.  Archbishop Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America's Repsonse

Both of these responses are faithful responses.  It is good that most of the LCMS folks (who probably make up the majority of readers here) have probably come across President Harrison's post.  However, there is something about it that is lacking, which I think the OCA response compensates for.

President Harrison lays out very clearly the idea that things in this country could get worse.  The culture is becoming less friendly to Christianity, and as such, who knows what might come (the silver lining - if society does come down upon us, maybe that will be at least one area of privilege I won't have to hear about again).  However, I do think President Harrison's warning goes too dire too quickly and ends up playing up and upon our fears.

He quote Herman Sasse writing in Germany in 1932 about the realities of the need to obey God rather than men.  And that is true -- however, we aren't Germany in 1932 yet.  Not by a long shot.  We are not a Church dominated or dictated to by the state - our existence and finances are not run by the government.  We are not civil servants of a corrupt government.

And part of the reason why this sits poorly with me is simply that amongst my friends, introducing the "argumentum ad nazium" - the "you're like the nazis" argument ends up meaning you lose the debate.  It becomes the ad homimen attack of the last ditch effort.  When we start having people taken to camps - then we can talk.  But here - it's just seems a bit... early.  And frankly, playing the Nazi Germany card isn't going to give me comfort and peace... if anything it's going to make me nervous.

Which is why I really appreciated the OCA's response.  Just as a note, consider the following quote - the opening paragraph: "The recent ruling by the US Supreme Court on the legality of “same-sex marriages” has received much press coverage and has already caused some consternation about its implications and ramifications. But we Orthodox Christians must rest assured that the teaching of our Holy Church on the Mystery of Marriage remains the same as it has been for millennia."

Yes - strange things are afoot, but the Church is not moved.  The Church still remains.  Period.

And then everything else comes from there.  We remain steadfast in Christ and in the faith.  And we will continue to show love to our neighbor. 

Or, in other words, "Keep Calm and Carry On."

+ + + + + + + + +

I will admit, I love the latter approach.  President Harrison does a good job of marshaling the troops for the next round of political battle, of calling us to our kingdom of the left civil duties.  But... that's not the primary job of the Church.  It may be the duty of our Synod, the LCMS, which is primarily a left-hand business/money/legal sorting house... it may be the duty of our members... but it's not the primary job of the Church.

The Church's job is to proclaim Christ and Him crucified for sinners... in season and out of season.  And if it is out of season... so be it.  We proclaim peace.  We proclaim, "Do not fear, only believe."

It's okay.  The Church has been through plenty of stuff, much of it worse than what we see here in America right now.  In fact, the Church in other parts of the world has it much worse than we do.  And you know what - Christ's Church still stands.  It may get scary, but Jesus wins.  Period.

So... yeah, last Friday doesn't trump Good Friday.  It is still finished.  Satan is judged... and take they our life, goods, fame, child or wife; though these things all be gone, our victory has been won.  The kingdom ours remaineth.

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