I have been struggling with my reaction to pastors and parishioners ditching their churches over the PCUSA marriage ruling. Really? Of all the things the church and church people have done to harm and hurt others, you’re going to leave over pastors having the option of marrying church members who want to commit to one another for life? Seriously? That’s the thing that gets you?
And FYI, when you’re leaving and doing so in a luxury sedan or a gas guzzling SUV or heading to a house that has more than 350 sq feet per person living in it or stopping off on the way to eat dinner at a pricey restaurant, then you really ought to consider whether or not you have a leg to stand on (or a foot to push the gas pedal with). Because Jesus talked a whole lot more about our relationship with money than he did about our chosen life partners. And how are you doing with that?
(Disclaimer: I come out badly in my own answers to the questions below.)
How much stuff do you have in your house that you don’t need? How much money do you have saved up for “just in case?”
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” — Luke 12:13-15
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21
How often do you worry about money?
He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead,strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” — Luke 11:22-32
Do you always give to the guy standing at the off-ramp holding up a sign?
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. — Matthew 5:42
When was the last time you threw a banquet at your home for the poor?
He also said to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” — Luke 14:12-14
Have you given away everything you own?
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give them to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me. –Matthew 19:21
“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything— all she had to live on.” —Mark 12:41-44
Whoops, maybe those gay folks aren’t the only abominations in town.
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.” — Luke 16:14-15
So before you draw a line in the sand over the issue of same-sex marriage, consider why you haven’t drawn some other lines way before now.