The Supreme Court slapped the Christian Church in the face this summer. After the Court passed the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, allowing same-sex marriage across the Union, a light shone on the Church and revealed a list of failures. Mr. Preston’s sociology class is studying the moral shift that allowed same-sex marriage. This week the class attended a special presentation at the Church of the Lutheran Brethren Seminary to receive clarity.
How did this happen? How will this impact the world? How will it affect the church? These are questions Dr. Roy Atwood worked through last Monday at the seminary’s annual January seminar (J-term). Students carrying backpacks and donning Ugg boots sat next to pastors in suit coats and ties. High school students and leaders of the Lutheran Brethren wrestled through the same questions, working to find purpose in spite of the difficult topic, side by side. The diversity in age and ethnicity proved that the Supreme Court's ruling impacts everyone in society.
Atwood worked through the Obergefell case, explaining what the ruling shows. He commented on the case being a turning point; Christian sexual ethics and morality officially lost favor in the eyes of many Americans, but he said this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Atwood noted how the church failed, not in its doctrine, but its practices. He said the church failed to give the truth in Word and deed.
Atwood clarified that a new player is subbing in for Christianity in America's field of belief. Inclusive humanism, the belief that man can find meaning and significance without any recourse to gods or transcendence, is the new player taking valuable time in the lives of Americans, replacing the church. Atwood said humanism is pulsing in our society. But we should have seen this coming, according the J-term presenter. Relativism and tolerance are becoming cardinal virtues in society because, while the church has been half-hearted in its mission, the humanists have been zealous for theirs, culturally and sexually, said Atwood.
Atwood said this new player in society is big and popular, it’s making conservatives the minority, keeping them hushed up. This is not a liberation of sexual orientation, but it is literally a moral order of bondage sustained by political tyranny. It’s a suppression of the controversy views. But this doesn’t change the job of the Christian Church, it will not change its morals or beliefs. Atwood presented that the church is given a chance to step up to the plate and show Christ's love and truth. Instead of conforming to society’s new cultural order, Atwood urged J-term attendees to live apart and create their own culture.
This is a hard issue to swallow, but understanding the world students live in is never simple, and the importance to dissect society’s beliefs can be the difference between life and death. The students in sociology aren’t kept from the reality of the culture our society brings but are well informed giving them a chance to choose for themselves to conform or to become a rebel, a threat to society’s norms.