The fight over who is IN and who is OUT is an age old fight we humans continue again and again. From Cain and Abel, to our Acts passage today which is the first Church fight, to our current political circus of immaturity – the world has always been full of people vying for power.
The struggle in Acts is the struggle over Jews and Gentiles in this new Christian world. Can Gentiles be “in?” Today in Acts we see that first theological debate take shape.
What will be the new requirements for Christians? Ultimately Paul’s argument wins the day, and today we have many Christians (me included) who did not have to become Jewish first, in order to qualify for entrance into the ranks of Christian.
As our beloved lawmakers in Washington wrestle with whether or not a Commander in Chief can even lead from a Twitter account, or whether there actually needs to be a verifiable process for orders, the age-old grab for power continues. (Imagine the power I could have these days if I simply stole a certain phone or hacked into a certain Twitter account. It’s ridiculous!)
Never mind that that this whole argument over transgendered service members began because of medical bills and military budgets. Never mind that the military spends 5 times more money on erectile dysfunction prescriptions than it does over transgender medical care. (That’s 84 billion dollars a year on erectile dysfunction medication by the way, folks). But never mind that. And never mind that this is yet one more attempt at distraction from Russia. And never mind that this opens up the can of worms of gays in the military again, and we are back to the question of “who is in” and “who is out.”
Never mind all of those things.
We seem to have forgotten that there are 10,000 active transgender people currently serving in military uniforms. We seem to have forgotten what it means to “Support Our Troops.” Can you imagine the disruption of a platoon in a combat area when the status of the platoon commander is called into question? This is the height of stupidity.
What we learn from Peter and Paul in Acts is that there was a right way to go about fighting, and there was a wrong way.
There are ways to make change, and honor the Spirit of God as it blows through our churches, and then there is just reckless, awful behavior. Sen. John McCain pointed out this troubling trajectory just a couple days ago on the floor of the Senate.
It is time for Christians to stand up, and honor the traditions of decorum and civility. And why? Because that is how we believe the Spirit of God can best lead us into his new future. We don’t fly off the handle, or throw away all the rules. We believe that God has led us to this point and that the rules we established we have for HIS reasons.
It is time for us to take back our country and take back our churches by having respect and dignity for all people, honoring process, civil discourse, and by parenting those who can’t seem to outgrow their adolescent tantrums. Stand up everyone. Take responsibility.
Keep in mind that as the People of God you play a part in this – a responsibility that will not go away simply because we elected someone who values chaos and who only effectively leads the country from one tabloid-model five-alarm fire to the next. You have a responsibility not to sit around looking for the next manic sequence of tweets, but to speak out against that which stands against God’s ways.
If we do not stand up for love, justice, mercy, and peace, then we are nothing.
Get to it, America.