Warning: some mention of disturbing content.
Several years ago, I was teaching English at a language school in San Francisco. Students from all over attended, of all age ranges. One day, an older woman from the Netherlands came up to me. Teacher, she said, I want to show you something. And she took out her phone and started flipping through the pictures on her phone. And there were graphic pictures. Of men . . . and women. In horrible poses.
“Oh,” I said, shocked. I glanced quickly at her face to see if she was joking. She giggled, and proceeded to show me more pictures. “They’re having a Love Festival in San Francisco,” she said, “and I walked around and took pictures. You know, S&M?”
“That’s—nice,” I managed, forcing a smile. “Why don’t you, um, take your break now? We’ll continue with the lesson in a few minutes.”
This was the first of many conflicting dichotomies I’ve encountered. So that is what some people consider love, I thought, bemused. And, like the over-thinker that I am, I got to thinking:
Why do some people, who claim to be Christian, turn out to be the most meanest, gossiping bunch of people there are?
Why do others, who are against almost everything I believe in, seem so creative, nice, and thoughtful?
And, tongue-in-cheek, how does a certain talk show host named Ellen, who was considered one of the “nicest person on TV”, get exposed as one of the meanest and most selfish?
And we see it all over our culture today: the exposés, the movements, counter-movements, agendas, information sharing/twisting/omitting/slanting and arguments—sometimes heated—thereof.
I work for one of the biggest companies in tech. And what we are seeing in culture today, they’ve implemented years before in their company culture: a month dedicated to certain lifestyles, scrubbing language to promote “inclusion” while excluding Christian groups (in devious ways), censoring platforms, subtly and not so subtly putting down Christians as the “dominant, oppressive group” and the other lifestyle as the one “suppressed”. Making new employees take classes to teach them sensitivity training toward alternative lifestyles.
To be sure, I do think there is some truth to it. Christians have not always been known to be loving, kind, and accepting, to say the least. And those classes did help me see how I’ve unknowingly been hurtful to those groups. But then I got to thinking . . . when is love, love, and how do you still stand up for the truth, without people labeling you as bigoted, hateful, and narrow-minded?
On the one hand, you can, I guess (as some churches have done) water down the truth and just be accepting of all. You know, attend those marches and wave those alternative flags. On the other hand, churches can stand strongly against such things (especially as the agenda has bled now into public schools and the teaching of young children).
I would say: love those in those alternative lifestyles, but still, gently but firmly, stand ground on truth. Also to do this individual-to-individual . . . in personal relationships. For better or worse, I get to interact with people of alternative lifestyles almost daily, due to where I work, and where I live (the west coast, and of all places, the Bay Area in California). Many of them have experienced hate and exclusion. Many of them have experienced painful, broken families. Many of them are extremely creative, smart, sensitive, and sweet.
Also, the “modern” values that many tech companies push—like inclusion, sensitive language, protecting the earth, being peaceful with everyone, eating organic, etc., I do agree with. It’s just that they’ve left God out of the mindset. To reach people, maybe start conversations on the ideas you agree with. Then, and only if they ask, share what you believe.
In a world that is daily becoming more upside-down as time passes, and with a plethora of information and scarcity of truth, I’d say: let’s be wise with God’s wisdom. Pray for discernment, and walk closely with Him. Just because a well-known, well-liked person said it using eloquent, excellent writing (Christian or otherwise), don’t take it point-blank but pray about it. (In the same vein—just because someone with broken English and coarse mannerisms have said something—doesn’t mean you should discount whatever they have to say. Listen to what’s being said, and extend grace, knowing we are all flawed in one way or another.)
Believe it or not, I do believe we are living “in the days of Elijah”. If you are walking with God, let’s walk even more closely with Him. If you haven’t started that walk yet, there is no better time than now <3