Responses in the Wake of Cultural Storms

[This first appeared at]
July 17, 2015
Last Thursday, I received a call from WBTV asking if I would be willing to do an interview in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, in addition to the discussion and debate that has ensued since.  I was hesitant to say yes, but after hearing the reporter’s reason for why he considered asking me/Life Church for a statement, I felt like it was a unique opportunity to communicate love and the Gospel in the midst of fear, anger, disappointment and mixed-responses from churches and Christian-leaders that have contributed (in my opinion) to even more confusion both inside and outside the church.
So, I nervously made my way to the studio for a 15-minute interview (which only led to about 15-seconds of actual time on-air), only to then learn another reason for the interview was to respond to the Episcopal Church’s agreement to perform same-sex marriages at their national conference last week.  Once I realized this, I asked the reporter to be very careful not to make things appear that we were being pitted against another church in town or going to pick a fight with someone, which I believe is the last thing the local church needs right now, especially in response to what, in my opinion, is perhaps the bigger issue facing the church right now, which is our response to the racial-tensions that continue to persist nationwide and locally in wake of the Charleston shooting 3 weeks ago.
The Bigger Issue: Same-Sex Marriage or Racial-Reconciliation?

Whether you agree or disagree as to which is the bigger issue, we can probably agree that both are critical issues facing the church.  And as broken-vessels who are restored and only made righteous through the power of the Gospel, we have a responsibility to equip one another so that we can think well and respond well about such issues in the grace and truth that flows from the nature and person of Jesus. (John 1:16-18)  With that being said, I do believe there are plenty of absolutes – clear rights and wrongs – in the Scriptures that we must be familiar with as followers of Jesus that have sadly been misinterpreted and misunderstood by many both inside and outside the church.  Our recent statement on homosexuality is a first-attempt from our church to clarify where we stand concerning homosexuality same-sex marriage, which I believe is firmly grounded in this grace and truth.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege of being part of several meetings and conversations with other local pastors and church leaders representing different ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, denominations from across Salisbury and Rowan County.  Our conversations have revolved around the need for greater unity among local church and what steps we need to take to proactively build what we call the Big “C” Church in our community to continue to bring healing, peace, reconciliation and unity representative of the Kingdom we’re part of together; a Kingdom that’s beautifully diverse; a Kingdom that gets to show the world how to celebrate our differences while maintaining our sameness as humans beings created in the image and likeness of God.

This week, we’re including a video (which my Life Group had the opportunity to watch and discuss together last night) that I believe is a valuable resource concerning how we as Christians should think, act and respond in the midst of ethnic, cultural and even socio-economic tensions that we’ve experienced either in the past or currently face today.  Please take a few minutes to check out  Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian. 

Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian

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