They shall be your Judges

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.”
Matt 12:25-27

Jesus ability to heal others really bothered the religious establishment because it went against their understanding of how the world worked and what the Bible meant.  The Pharisees were obsessed with condemning sinners.  They felt that those who were disabled were being made public examples by God for their sins.  They also felt that only God could forgive sins. So when Jesus healed a blind and dumb man, the only explanation they could come up with is that Jesus must be in league with Beelzebub, because only God can heal sin, and obviously this man was a sinner. 

As he always did, Jesus had something for the Pharisees and something for us.  He challenged the Pharisees logic by pointing out that Satan would have no reason to want to forgive sin or heal anyone. 

What he had for us was the promise that he wouldn’t be the only one who would heal.  Our children will be healers too and as such they will also be our judges because they will heal the problems we create. 

Our children today are telling us that they have problems with Christian Churches in the United States.

In a recent survey published by the Bama Group, only 60 percent of 16-29 year olds consider themselves Christian.  That is a dramatic shift from the 77% of 60+ year olds who answered the same question.

Those who don’t consider themselves Christian feel organized religion is hypocritical, judgmental, and too political.  They generally are very favorable to the basic teachings of Christianity (77%), but feel that organized religions no longer represent those teachings and values.  As a result only 16% say that they have a good impression of Christianity.

What is even more eye-opening is that 50% of those in this age group who do go to church share those same views.

One of the key issues separating young people from organized Christianity is the hostile position many churches hold to homosexuality.  80% of those who call themselves Christian and 91% of those who don’t describe organized Christianity as “anti-homosexual”.

Numerous surveys have shown a growing majority of young Americans have a relaxed, tolerant attitude toward homosexuality. A 2001 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 60 percent of Americans ages 17 to 29 support same-sex marriage, yet same-sex marriage is illegal in 49 of the 50 states.    

One pastor familiar with the study said, “How did homosexuality become such a huge issue for us?  As I see it, it’s no different than any other sexual sin.”

I can’t answer him, because I ask myself the same question.

What I can see is that our children have a better grasp on the basic values and teachings of Jesus than many of us do.  Their love of their brother isn’t blinded by hate or fear.  They will be our judges.  Fortunately, they will also be our healers.

2 Responses to “They shall be your Judges”

  1. keith says:

    Hey Jeff,
    I thought we were done with this issue but you’ve brought it up in another context. That in itself says something about the G & L issue. I have many thoughts regarding this post. If had the time I could go on and on with each point.

    Your bias against the “Christian church” is quite evident in this writing. The flip side of this agruement is that the G&L community along with, dare I say, the political left and the liberal media have choosen this issue and painted the “Christian right” as intolarant and, in this case, anti-gay. It was not the Christian community that started this. The war was waged on the Christians in this case and not by Christians.

    You said, “Our children today are telling us that they have problems with the Christian Churches in the U.S.” (why not the Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s, etc, and every other mainstream religion)

    It is the job of our churches to present Jesus as Lord and Savior. Every church I’ve ever attended makes and honest effort to do so. Each of those churchs would also WELCOME any G&L person to it’s services with OPEN ARMS….data or no data you’re going to have to point to the churches which would NOT welcome them. Jeff this is a sterotype of the church which in my experiance is simply not true. I’d be interested to know what your’s has been in the churches you’ve attended.

    I will not dispute the survey and the perceptions of todays kids regrading how they think the church views G&L. The question Jeff is how did the kids get this impression. Is it because the church “HATES” G&L or is hostile to them or is it because that’s the percepting created of them? I’d suggest the latter since I have seen NO evidence of this in my experiance. I can’t make this point enough Jeff, I’ve HEVER seen it in a church I’ve attended, NEVER.

    You can’t listen to anyone in the libral media mention the “Christian right” without shortly there after saying something along the lines of “who are anti gay.” Is it really hard Jeff to understand where the perception comes from that the Church is anti gay? Hardly. The church is never referred to as anti stealing, anti murder, anti gossip, anti quarreling or anti anything for that matter (other then abortion) I would agrue that these are very real perceptions perputrated on the church from influnces outside it who really have no understand of “the real church.” I’d ask again, how does your church, Jeff, treat the G&L’s?

    We can agrue this till the cows come home, and even if they don’t make it in we’d still be there. You and I will not agree on the biblical interpertation of homosexual activity. I will only add this. It is mentioned several times and never in a positive light or in a way that give’s the impression IS acceptable. It can’t as it’s always condemd when mentioned.

    As such, it is not without shock that the postion of bible believing Americans is that homosexuality is to be avoid, as is drunkeness, as is adualtry, as is gossip, etc. (I’m still not sure why Chris Mattewes or Dan Rather don’t mention these transgressions in the next sentence after saying , Mike Huckaby or Jerry F, or the “Christian right.” Get my point here.)

    The Church did go out and start this impression, this perception was impossed on them by the enemy of the Church. The Big Picture here is that “For we war not with flesh and blood but with powers and principalities.” This preception of the church is not man made and the answer is not man made.

    Also in your post is this; “Those who don’t consider themselves Christian feel organized religion is hypocritical, judgemental, and too, political.” Well in keeping with the spriit of the youth of American …..DDDUUUHHHH.
    There is nothing surpising there.

    The Church is hypocitical, me included, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” John said it best, “thing thing I know I ought to do, I don’t. That which I know I shouldn’t do, I do.” Count me in with the crowd of hypocrits and also in the crowd that needs and depends on a Savior. The bible also says, that even to the preaching of the gospel which is life to us has the stench of death to them. Any suprise that those who don’t consider themselves Christians would have a poor view our the Christian Church. Jeff, they hung Jesus on the cross and none of us collectively can claim an ounce of His demonstrated love. To the non- believer Christianity should seem hypocritical and judgemental and a whole lot more. It opposes they world view of self 100%. The teaching of “not my will but yours” probably isn’t big with them either.

    You said; “One of the key issues seprating young people from organized Christianity is the hostile position many churches hold to homosexuality.” I’ll ask again, is this the experiance you’ve had with the churches you’ve attended? Again, every church I’ve attended would welcome gays at their services. EVERY ONE!!!!! Can we agree that we are dealing with a perception?

    You go on to say “80% of those who call themselves Christian and 91% of those who don’t describe organized Christianity as “anti-homosexual.” Why are they even asking the question….It is just another sin as the pastor later says in your post and you agree with that and, so do I. Why isn’t the impression of the church that its anti murder or stealing, etc, ect, ect.

    Jeff why is this? Did the church do this? NO, it’s because the murders, thieves and gossips know deep down they are wrong. That their actions are sin. It would be silly to hear someone discribe the church as anti murder or anti gossip. But the G&L community wants to force it’s belief on the church. They don’t want their activey to be labeled sin. This is pride and this is arrogence. I stand by the plaque that should be posted at the entrence of every church “Only sinners welcome.” Then I too can come in.

    You say “……a growing majority of young Americans have a relaxed, tolerant attitude toward homosexuality.” In Habaca (I’m sure that’s spelled incorrectly) it says, where sinners once meakly scurried in back allies they now march proudly down main street. (thats paraphrasing) The youth in Amarica and their views don’t have influance on the word of God. It stands alone and is unchanged. What should we do Jeff if the youth of America think stealing is ok, walk proudly down main street?

    You say “60% of Americans 17 – 29 support same sex marrage, yet it is illegal in 49 of 50 states. Is your point that by vote of 17 – 29 year old Americans we should change the laws of states; that they are more enlightened then the americans 1- 16 & 30 – 110? 17 – 29, the most rebellious of ages, and you are using that as your bar for our laws concerning same sex marriage. You’ve made many good agruements in the past month or so but this is clearly not one of them. “raise up a child in the way he should go and WHEN HE IS OLD he will not depart from it.”

    All that is openers for this; You say “What I can see is that our children have a better grasp on the basic values and teachings of Jesus than many of us do. Their love of their brother isn’t blinded by hate or fear. They will be our judges. Fortunately, they will also be our healers.”

    Jeff, I’m drawn to your conclusion of the Christian Chruch as being blinded by hate and fear. I know that I harbor no hate or fear. I know that the church I attend or ones I have attended harbor no hate or fear. Your generalization is stunning to me. Your bias against honest bible believing Christianity is stunning. The “Body of Christ” deserves better.
    Remember the sign “Only sinners welcome here.”

    In parting, Christian Churchs do not hate the G&L community and do accept them to their services. (don’t let a 17 – 29 year old youth of america use this as an excuss to not go. send me a note and I’ll give them the name of MANY, MANY, MANY, etc. church that would welcome them with arms open wide) These perceptions you choose to write about are not the creation or the intent of the church. They are impressions the media and political opponents have created. Your writing and comments Jeff, though I enjoy debating, are disrespectful of Muslim, Jew Hindu, etc faiths because you direct them only at the Christian Church.

    Now tell me the this isn’t political.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Keith,

    good to hear from you again.

    I appreciate the time that you put into this response.

    I didn’t particularly bring the issue up again. I just found the survey interesting and shared the information as best I could.

    I can’t speak for jews and muslims because I don’t have a lot of experience with them. Also, at least in this country, they aren’t nearly the political force that the fundamentalist Christian churches have become.

    As far as the gay and lesbian community being to blame for the current set of laws which prohibit gay marriage, that is sort of like the schoolyard bully saying that the kid ran into his fist.

    The conservative fundamentalist political coalition chose abortion and gay marriage as the two issues that they were going to base their political movement on. They demonized those that supported those positions and sparked a revolution of righteousness. They elected President Bush for two terms and for six years controlled congress. I’d say that’s political.

    I submit that the backlash that you are seeing in this survey is a direct result of kids feeling as though the emperor has no clothes. Jesus message resonates with them, but they look at many churches and don’t see that message carried out in deeds.

    Our children are our Prophets. They are the ones willing to stand up and hold us accountable to our values. We adults are the ones who have settled into comfortable compromises and practical accommodations.

    Please my friend don’t take any of these comments as applying to you or your church. I’m sad to say, though, that I have been in churches where very political and hateful messages were preached from the pulpit. There is also the daily drumbeat of published inflamatory and derogatory material from those who claim to speak for “real” Christians. That’s not to say that there aren’t also similar sorts of material coming from those who have opposite views. The difference is that they don’t tend to support their positions based on their religious beliefs (me being a big exception).

    I’m grateful that you and your church are not blinded by hate or fear. Your willingness to engage in these dialogs indicates that you have an open mind and are willing to tolerate views that don’t mimic yours.

    I do believe that our children will be our healers. Just as we struggled during the 60’s to dismantle the racial barriers our parents and grandparents tolerated, I feel that our children will heal the divisions we’ve created though our stubborn conflicts over abortion and gay marriage.

    Peace be with you.

    I look forward to our continued correspondence.

    Jeff

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