Hi! I’m still here! Been busy lately.
I originally wanted to make this an entry about Donald Trump and how, while seeking the evangelical Christian vote (you know, the kind of Christian who likes to brag about their Christianity instead of being evident by their actions) has said very un-Christlike things about women, minorities, and the disabled – heck even his favourite Bible verse goes directly against Christ’s teachings! – but I figured that was pretty low-hanging fruit. (It also seems lately that evangelicals are starting to turn away from him anyways). Then the “bathroom story” caught my eye. (For those not in the know, a quick summary: some states/groups (perhaps upset that they now can’t deny same-sex couples the right to marry (or at least will have a harder time preventing them from doing so)) have decreed that transgender folk (people that have been born with the gender identity in their brains not matching their sexual organs) have to use the washroom that matches the ID on their license (often the one they were assigned at birth based on their sex organs).) It was obvious that no transgender people were consulted on this, as this suddenly made them very uncomfortable, much like if you were suddenly forced to use the opposite washroom from the one you’ve used your whole life, the one you felt comfortable in.
I was set to go off on the illogic-ness (nice try, red underline, I say that’s a word!) of this, and had saved several articles from other progressive bloggers to link to, as I often do on this blog (since I figured my readers would want to read someone who could write better than me), but then this article brought me back to what the focus of this blog is. This is not about righteous indignation. This is not about making fun of conservatives and their un-Christian acts while loudly proclaiming to be friends of Christ. This is about the progressive Christian’s response to such injustices. And our response should always be love. When we see suffering in the world, Christians (progressive or not) should ease the suffering. Jesus came to us to bring his peace, to free us from our sin and guilt and shame. And we repay His immense gift to us by … calling other people sinners and increasing their guilt and shame. The Bible says that when we see oppression and injustice we are to fight it as best we can.
So why aren’t we fighting this injustice? Perhaps we care too much what other people think instead of what God thinks. Perhaps we care more about keeping God’s gift of freedom from sin and guilt and shame all to ourselves rather than trying to show other people the same thing we feel in Jesus by our actions to them. A friend of mine (who by the way has been doing amazing things to actually live out the command to fight injustice through his Steps of Justice organization) once posted on Facebook that “I’m convinced that the main reason we get offended is because we are more concerned with our name being made known than Jesus name.” If we truly cared about the injustice in the world, as Jesus wants us to, we would seek out to eradicate injustice no matter where it is, even if it’s in a place that makes us uncomfortable; if we can rationalize it away by, for example, saying that fighting for rights for transgender people will open the doors to sex offenders, then we have started to become more concerned about ourselves than others.
The word “transgender” doesn’t appear in the Bible, but there is an interesting parallel passage that comes close. In Acts 8 we find the story of one of the first Gentile converts to Christianity, an Ethiopian eunuch. A different race than the Jewish people, and a sexual minority, one who would have been excluded from the Temple by those who are more concerned with the letter of the law, much like the modern-day sexual minorities who are now excluded from feeling safe by the letter of laws like North Carolina’s. Yet Philip was told by the Holy Spirit to specifically talk to this individual, rather than shame him like he no doubt would have encountered once he reached his intended destination of the Temple in Jerusalem.
There was a song I learned as a kid, and if you grew up as a Christian you most likely learned the same song too. Its chorus goes “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they’ll know that we are Christians by our love.” But lately, the image that people “know us” by is hate. This latest story is a perfect example, when the issue became something discussed lately, it was automatically assumed that those opposing transgender people using the washrooms they are comfortable in are Christians. Because those who are the loudest opposing social progress are also those that wrap themselves in the Bible. “They will know we are Christians by our hate” has become the popular perception But we are always commanded to love. Love our neighbours. Love each other. Do good to those who hate you. Jesus never said doing His commands would be easy. Jesus never said that we would be comfortable following His word. Think of God himself, he gave us his peace and love and we go around and throw that in His face by our treatment of others, I’m sure the simple act of giving us His grace is hard for Him knowing what we do with it. But he does it anyways. We are to be like God and help those who are oppressed (even though it is often us doing the oppressing) and help them feel the security and peace God has made us feel.
Even if it is just letting them pee where they feel safe.