Worth a Fight?









Recently my old mate Scott posted this image on his Facebook page and took some heat for it. We had coffee that afternoon and he mentioned to me that he hadn’t seen the words at the top of the image, just the sentiment on the bottom. Maybe he did lose some friends over it. Certainly the comments on his post suggested his views weren’t welcome and a pastor he should know better.








Then just last week another friend posted a link on Facebook to this article with the accompanying disclaimer ‘No I’m not a bigot’. It takes the other point of view and she also copped heat from people who declared her narrow minded.

It seems that whichever side of the debate around gay marriage you sit on, you risk losing friends. You have to face the reality that your point of view on this one issue is going to bring conflict and possibly even the end of a relationship.

What an unbelievably stupid response…

I want to say ‘Really?… Seriously?… You would dismiss me as a friend because on a non essential issue I read the Bible differently to you?’

This is another in a long line of boundary marker issues that seem to be used to decide who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’. In times gone by it was inerrancy, as certain people were demonised and harangued for refusing to subscribe to one particular view of scripture, or perhaps you encountered the same shunning over your views on creation, or women…

These are all issues that can still generate a little heat here in Oz, but let me change your perspective for a minute.

My aunt visited from Ireland a couple of years back and I asked her what was the pressing issue for the church in that part of the world. Do you know what she said?


Yep – hats… HATS!

People are fighting one another over whether they keep their heads covered in church… I was speechless, but managed to utter some completely insincere words of concern.

People are losing friends over hats… 

You probably find that sad and absurd. Bizarre even, but in another part of the world that is still more ‘christianised’ than Australia, this is a serious issue.

In 20 years time when the heat has gone out of this debate around gay marriage you will probably view it like you do creation, or inerrancy or gender. Its not that its a storm in a teacup. Its a real question that needs a thoughtful response. We do need to grapple with these issues as Christians, but we don’t need to lose friendships over them.

That is DUMB!

I get the clear sense we would be far more comfortable with a friend suggesting a non-divine Jesus, or many ways to God, than we would be with someone having a divergent view on gay marriage. We could more easily tolerate a compromise to our core convictions than we could someone holding the ‘wrong’ view on a hot topic.

Time to grow up a bit folks.

And – no – I haven’t presented my own view on this issue on here, because I’m not writing for that purpose. I’m more than happy to tell you what I think, but only if you promise not to ‘de-friend’ me…

If that’s too hard it might be time to get a grip of what Jesus said was really important






11 thoughts on “Worth a Fight?

  1. What I like about the prophets is that they call people back to the true God, away from false gods. They actually don’t get too fussed about the type of idolatry or sin people are involved in; the key issue is ‘draw closer to God! Return to the source of life and hope, of truth and justice. Embrace the life that comes from the life-giver.’
    If you view it like that, there is only really one sort of ‘in’ and ‘out’ – those drawing closer to Christ, and those moving further away.

    • yes, but as I read the prophets they seem to be very concerned with every kind of sin or idolatry that people are involved in, and drawing closer to God involves leaving behind every kind of sin. “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”

  2. Yeah good comment Hamo and your right, stuff that burnt people at the stake years ago isn’t even smouldering today; we have short memories and don’t learn a lot from history. I had wondered whether Scotty read those little few words at the top and I was going to click on it to but I thought , I do care if I lose friends and in terms of the debate those words were more provocative than the statement itself and didn’t need to be there I reckon.
    Anyway I appreciate your short thoughtful piece Ol mate, good on you.

  3. I’ve seen similar things, Hamo, and I’ve had similar reactions. I don’t have a problem if we disagree on some things, but that doesn’t mean that our relationship has to go sour. In fact, if you and I were able to sit together (which is likely the only way I’d bring up specifics), I’m sure we’d find a few things that you’ve spoken about that we disagree on, some quite strongly. I’m of the opinion that’s healthy. I have a brother who voted totally opposite of me in the last election, and I still love him. We may need to learn how to do so lovingly, but I’m convinced that healthy discussion about right and wrong is a good thing.

  4. I people are misusing words such as love. tolerance and unity to erode over a long period of time – the foundations upon which our faith is built.

    It’s is now gay marriage; this was preceded by abortion in the 70’s. Before that it was free love. And don’t forget, it all started with a liberal view on hats. .

  5. I’m quite shocked. Non-essential? How not? Law of first mention, principles of interpreting scripture, New concealed in Old and then revealed by Christ etc etc Other God crew what have you… Even an atheist evolutionist can put a very sound case that homosexual pairing is completely against nature.

    As I heard a wise guy preach in a Lutheran church I dropped in on recently said, and it’s not really my kind of faith environment – “It’s a death cult.”

    Truth was never sacrificed on a cross of grace.

  6. Hamo – we are all friends, and we promise not to defriend you … but as a Pastor can you please let your “Yes be a Yes, and your No be a No” and please clearly let us know where you stand on this important contemporary issue?

    It does seem that the foundation of our faith is being eroded by matters that were once black and white are becoming shades of grey. If our foundation is not as firm as it once was – it is little wonder why people are falling away.

  7. Hi Rich.

    I don’t think this is a foundation of the faith issue, but I do think some have made it so as its one of the few last bastions we can defend. That’s not a good reason to pick the fights that being picked and to defend it the way it currently is framed.

    We are far more silent on divorces of convenience which have much more biblical condemnation than homosexuality.

    That said my position is a conservative one. I don’t support gay marriage and I hold a pretty traditional theological view of homosexuality.

    My biggest problem with doing this is that so many of the people who also hold this view are people I want nothing to do with, while those who hold the contrary opinion (generally) seem much more compassionate. Although Q&A the other night showed the militant aspect of the pro-gay lobby and it wasn’t pretty.

    So I’ve done a fair bit of reading on the ‘pro’ side to see if I may need to re-think my position, but at this stage I can’t find a reason to do so.

    That said, I could be wrong and I don’t think its all wishy washy to allow for that

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