You can change the rules. That’s good. Sometimes rules need to be changed. But at some point, after one too many rule changes, you also need to change the name of the game.
Say you want to add instant replay to Major League Baseball games. Great. Suppose you also wanted to take away all of the bases and stop keeping score. Okay. Just don’t expect us to keep calling it baseball.
Marriage works the same way. The institution of marriage wasn’t invented by the GOP in the 1950s. It was invented by God. In a garden. Long before the creation of GLAAD, democrats, republicans and Fred Phelps.
Since that time, we have been hard at work with our rules committees trying to change God’s creation into something a little more in tune with our liking. Adam failed to lead, Eve was eager to take his place and a crafty serpent was more than willing to take advantage of the resulting chaos. He’s still taking advantage.
It took some time, in this country at least, but the name of the game has officially been changed.
When our government began to sanction, and in many ways force you to agree with, gay marriage, they effectively removed the bases and stopped keeping score. We aren’t playing baseball anymore.
No government has the power to take what God has created, sanction the perversion of that creation at the point of a gun, and continue calling it the same thing. To put it another way, there is no such thing as gay marriage.
Along with our government’s new found soap box of love and acceptance for all, many in the church began waiving the white flag. Some conceded defeat and retreated back to their sanctuaries, afraid of being lumped in with Phelps and his kind. Others fully embraced the new game. They even brought Jesus into the argument, pointing out his frequent references to love along with his failure to directly mention anything about homosexuality. Interestingly, this same crowd is a little slower to reference Jesus’ words on hell, judgment, marriage and adultery. They also aren’t too quick to come to the defense of the likes of a Bernie Madoff or a Justin Bieber, saying that, “Jesus never directly addressed Ponzi schemes or out of control pop stars.” Play on! Love wins!
The committee on rules changes, it appears, likes to make changes that work to their advantage.
These changes go beyond the realm of marriage. It’s fascinating to hear politicians use phrases like, “protecting our freedom,” “Rule of Law” or “free society” as they continually change the rules of the game.
In a “free society” does the ruling class typically take the citizens whose freedoms they are entrusted to protect to court simply because those private citizens have a different idea of how to provide health insurance for their employees?
Does “protecting our freedom” usually involve bullying cattle ranchers, stealing land from farmers and slowly but surely taking away a citizen’s right to protect himself?
The rules have been changed. So much so that our leaders started playing a completely different game a long time ago.
People have always disagreed in this country. That’s a good thing. In a truly free society, there will be different ideas about taxes, jobs and military intervention. But what is happening now is more than simply different opinions on policies. That was the old game. There’s only one word that can adequately describe the new game.
Isn’t that what we used to call it when we heard about this kind of thing happening in other countries and in other times? Why is it, now that we are playing this new game here in our country, that we fail to call it what it really is?
Words matter. I know, I know. People like to tell us that they don’t. But that’s just academic babble. Sit in a doctor’s office, have him look you in the eye and say the word cancer. Words matter. Even when we don’t want them too.
I don’t have all of the answers for how we should be playing this new game with its ever changing rules. But I know that Christians can’t retreat. We have to be bold with our love. Even when it’s hard. Even when our love is called hate. And as long as we’re sticking around, it would help, when confronted with the reality of this strange new game, if we started calling it what it is.