Thumb swipes in Instagram and Snapchat stopped on a dime for me Sunday morning. An hours old shooting was starting to gain traction on social media and some of the loudest voices were calling for a tempered Christian perspective. For me, it felt like the entire Christian community was walking on eggshells enroute to pew-filled sanctuaries which seemed so far removed from the gay nightclub surrounded by mourners. A steady stream of critical voices flooded my social media newsfeed in the following days, linking a Christian's Biblical view of homosexuality to the horrendous actions of the terrorist who shot-up a gay night club in Orlando.
It seems ludicrous to meld Christians to the senseless acts of a terrorist, but mainstream media continues to play and print stories that call Christians who don't support a gay lifestyle as complicit with the murderer. As we heal as a nation in the face of these acts the public will continue to ostracize Christians. However, I believe that true healing can only be found in Jesus, and the worldview that the public seems to be holding to is doing more damage than good.
Below are 2 big reasons Bible-believing Jesus followers will more often than not respond in a more whole way to issues of brokenness. There are more than 2 reasons, but these are bite-sized snippets that show some reasons I believe kids need a Christian education rather than a public perspective.
One for All
In Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, young Lise embarks on a monologue of why she wants to serve man. But somewhere in the middle of her rant she asks herself if she could love people who don't love her. She recounts a conversation with a doctor who told her, "The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular." This statement, that loving humanity in general forces us to lose sight of man, seems to be a mantra unintentionally reverberating in the chambers of public opinion.
The problem the public continues to have is a bifurcation, a separation of the world, into camps of those who agree and those who don't. So, when the world sees a brutal shooting at a gay night club they expect Bible touting Christians to turn away, cheer, and let the sulfur rain down reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah. The public sees Christians in a general fashion.
Christ instructed his followers to love, forgive, and serve the individual. Man, in the Christian paradigm, is not a concept or theory. More often than not, the public view places people into boxes. In this you rarely will see a non-Christian enter a church on Sunday morning simply because the secular man loves humans. However, you are likely to see Christian ministries enter gay bars and night clubs on the regular. The reason? The Christian concept, the Jesus motivation, is to love on humans individually.
The Christian perspective has a one for all approach. God created man in His image. Bible-believing Christians realize that sin is marring our ability to see our image wholly in God. Therefore, Christians ought to deal with sin that is tainting the image. In Christianity, the danger is the idea, not the man. The public has a true Christian perspective backwards.
For the public there is a quell to find identity in actions and preferences. Some choose a primary identity based on their sexual preference. For the Christian, a person's license to say something doesn't make the statement or belief true. The humble Bible-believer will take God at his word, seeing a reality in mankind that is larger than preference or orientation.
So, when people identifying as homosexual suffer, the Christian can easily mourn and suffer with them. The Christian identifies all people, no matter their successes, struggles, or orientation, as a image bearer of Christ who is broken by sin. Sin doesn't know race or creed, gender identity or pious action. It affects all mankind. Understanding sin allows Christians to respond better because they have a genuine posture of people saved by grace, in need of continued grace, and reflecting the ability to offer grace.
The public will falter in their response because their unity is built around ideology instead of God-given identity. The public has a hard time opening up to Christians because the public's view of humanity in general doesn't match the Christian's particular perspective.
The Ladder is Upside-Down
There is a relief that seems stamped onto the hearts of all college trained students. Like names etched into a confirmand's Bible, Abraham Maslow has imprinted himself on the perspective of every student. When a confirmand picks up their Bible the name is often the first thing they see, calling up a memory of their stand in front of a congregation, before diving into the live giving pages within. For college students, the imprint of Maslow is on nearly every social issue they engage. Self-actualization is Maslow's great phrase that continues to guide the hearts of our nation away from a Biblical perspective.
What drives people to a gay night club, and what drove a Muslim man to practice jihad against the homosexual license, is bound up in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In 1943 Maslow postured that all of mankind has basic physiological needs that, when met, should give way to providing safety, love and belonging to build self-esteem with the goal of being self-actualized. Man would know their ultimate purpose in climbing Maslow's ladder.
Most college students have seen this represented as a pyramid, with physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, and esteem being the foundational basics that drive people to a pinnacle of growth, or self-actualization.
So, when we hear reasons for crime or terrorism being unmet needs of finances or basic food and water, the line of thinking starts with Maslow. This also plays out with the current culture push to allow license for students and adults to discern identity, orientation, and preference. They have self-actualized. Restricting someone's march to self-actualization is seen as dehumanizing. This is one small part of the argument why Christians are complicit with the terrorist in Orlando. Christians are generally opposed to sexual license, and this is seen as terrorizing. In essence, the Christian's are withholding someone's opportunity to self-actualize and be fully human when they restrict license.
The Biblical Christian sees that the pyramid is upside down. From a Biblical perspective Christians see that God created the world, made man in his image, gave man work, created woman as a suitable helper, initiated the first marriage, and then allows man to build an identity that flows from God's order. The foundation is not carnal.
For the Christian, this pyramid is completely built on God's creation. In other words, man has nothing to do with his identity. It is wholly found and bound in God's created order. All of the God-directed foundational elements were complete and completed before Adam sinned. Adam and Eve's sin, therefore, is entirely an act of building an identity apart from God. Adam and Eve fell into the serpent's trap to build their own identity to ultimately, "be like God in knowing both good and evil."
So as the public tries to heal a community of people building identity apart from God they believe Christians cannot participate. The reason is because Christian's have, according to their worldview, restricted people identifying as homosexual from the full pleasures of being human. Forget that Maslow said only 1 in 100 people can fully self-actualize.
Christians wholly desire that mankind be valued because of the image they bear, not because of their ability to climb a ladder. People are valuable because they are made in the image of God. And Christian's can mourn with those holding opposing views because Christian's see humans as God's creation first.