Deep-Dish Hypocrisy (Guilty as Charged)

9 07 2015

Done-it-this-way2

Tradition for tradition’s sake isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

But sometimes, it is.

I have to admit I was deeply disturbed over the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding gay marriage.  I’ve never been one to interpret Christian freedom as condoning or validating homosexual behavior, and I still don’t. I believe one’s expression of sexuality is always a behavior choice versus a “I’m wired this way” sort of thing.    Otherwise anyone could interpret his or her sins as a “I’m wired this way” sort of thing instead of a “I made a choice to sin” sort of thing.

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Even from a strictly secular viewpoint, I believe it’s a slippery slope for the courts to arbitrarily glorify the status of any behavior into a civil right.  Five unelected individuals have opened the door for any group to claim that their behavior choices are civil rights- and this is in my opinion a huge step backward for a civilized society.  I fear that NAMBLA and other perverse groups of individuals are waiting in the wings to have their reprehensible behaviors transformed into civil rights by judicial fiat as well.

I don’t buy into white washing over something that’s completely wrong in the name of “charity” or “compassion.” What is wrong is wrong and telling the truth IS a loving thing to do, even when it’s difficult. Loving sinners doesn’t translate to green-lighting their sins.  Just because we as fallible humans want something to be OK doesn’t always make it so.

Jesus talked about the Pharisees being white washed tombs- (Matthew 23:26-28) and all of us are hypocrites, which underscores the fact that adding a coat of paint to something that is no-good and rotten underneath doesn’t redeem it or fix the underlying problem.  It just gives sin and destructive behaviors a veneer of legitimacy that they shouldn’t have- a sense of “since we all do it, it’s OK.”

Everything is Ok

Not necessarily…

This being said, I’m straight, and that’s only perspective that I have on this issue.  I’ve never been the least bit interested in other women- in fact, I generally don’t even like women as friends.  I usually have more in common with men. The homosexual lifestyle is just not a temptation for me, so it’s easy for me to look at that and say “ewww, gross, vile, etc.”  It’s easy for me to condemn behaviors that I have absolutely no desire to engage in.

I could use the rationalization that “I’m straight,” so yielding to my temptation to (hetero) sexual misbehavior is more “ok” than it is for a person to yield to the temptation of engaging in same-sex sexual misbehavior.  The fact of it is that I am just as guilty of improper lust and/or activity if it’s involving toward a guy I’m not married to.  It’s just as much of a sin.  And I’ve been there.  Many more times than I’d like to admit.  I like men.  A LOT- and in some ways a lot more than I should.

StraightPride

Straight- yes.  A paragon of purity?  Not so much.

I am just as much of a sinner as anyone else- but some sins are more “socially acceptable” than others.

Not too many Christians are saying much about the sexual sins that plague straight people either, which goes back to that good old double standard of “everybody does it, so it’s OK.”  Straight people are more often than not into casual relationships- “friends with benefits,” serial monogamy (and yes, I’ve been divorced and remarried), general promiscuity, and adultery. Those things usually get poo-poo’d or shoved under the rug because they are common and pervasive temptations for a good number of people- me included.   And before I go squinting about to remove splinters from the eyes of others, I have to encounter the great big log in my own eye first.

I have to call sin for what it is- whether I’m “wired that way” or not.

sin

Thankfully my failure- and the depravity of my sin-  is not the end of the story.  Jesus forgives me for my transgressions, so I am called to forgive others as He forgives me.

What other people do really isn’t my concern, save for the generic concern for the impact of the behaviors of a few on the greater society, and concern for the well-being of others. I can’t change what others choose to think and do.  The only thing I can do is attest to the truth and try to live according to it to the best of my ability and the grace of God.  I am not the Judge, and I am glad for that.  I have enough wickedness and issues of my own that need surrender and correction.

The way of mercy and forgiveness (Luke 6:36-38) is the only way to go.

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Matthew 28:11-15 The Day After: Damage Control?

1 04 2013

RomanGuards

And Pilate had asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

“While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened.  After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, ‘You must say, “His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.”’ ‘If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’  So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.”  Matthew 28:11-15 (NRSV)

The truth shall set you free (John 8:31-32,) which explains why lies are some of the greatest tools of those who wish to keep people in bondage.  The truth of Jesus’ resurrection was a rather inconvenient truth for the elders and priests.  All along they had been calling Jesus a fraud and a blasphemer and did everything they could to discredit His Name.  It would have been rather awkward for them to suddenly change their tune and sacrifice their own credibility, especially for someone they considered to be a two-bit heretic.  Pride is a powerful motivator.  One of the hardest phrases to say is, “I was wrong.”  It’s right up there with “I’m sorry.”

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The priests and elders would have definitely lost face if they admitted they were wrong about Jesus, but the danger to them was even deeper than that.

As time went on, followers of Jesus had ways of turning up dead.

The Romans weren’t terribly fond of any challenge to their power, but, surprisingly, Romans were generally tolerant of a wide variety of religious practices.   The Romans were a lot more tolerant, at least as far as religious practices, than the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ time.  That’s the reason why Pontius Pilate wasn’t particularly anxious to condemn Jesus to death.  Pilate would have probably been quite fine had Jesus claimed to be the Queen of Sheba.  Jewish laws concerning blasphemy or Sabbath rest meant nothing to Pilate.  As long as Caesar got his money, and the Romans kept their hold on power, Rome really didn’t care what individuals believed.

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But if those who offended the Jewish leadership could be framed as being a threat to Rome…then the Jewish authorities keep their credibility with the people, destroy their enemies, and keep the Romans happy.  In theory their plan sounded effective, but it didn’t keep the peace for long.  Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 AD.  Even though they threw the Son of God under the bus to save their own hides, the Jewish authorities could not keep the various rebellions under wraps.

One coverup, one lie, in the name of “damage control.”  How many scandals in history have been swept under the rug in the name of damage control?  How many people have been condemned for the price of the highest bidder?

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The French have a saying: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose- The more things change, the more things stay the same.

The temptation to engage in coverups and damage control becomes more and more irresistable the higher the stakes become.  We see it in the news every day- this or that information was withheld, or spun, or was flat out false.  People will do that- sacrifice the truth in the name of their own hides, in the name of power, and in the name of money.  That hasn’t changed.  Corruption is as old as the Fall and as current as today’s headlines.

Being the cynical soul that I can often be, I find it hard to believe the official spin.   After all, Jesus said we should be as wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)   To me that means refusing to take the statements from the “powers that be” as Gospel truth- especially when the “powers that be” have vested interests in purveying lies.

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The problem is that it would be all well and good if I could just sit in an ivory tower and say the Jewish authorities were evil and terrible for the damage control they tried to enact with a bit of bribery and lies.  The problem is that it would be all well and good today if corruption and lies were only confined to the government.

The problem is, I do it too.  I rationalize my behavior.  I do what’s expedient to preserve face, to save my own hide, and to retain what little tiny bit of power I might think I have.

Do I really want to tell the truth- without bias, without spin, without omissions, even when it may incriminate me or show me out to be a hypocrite or a liar?  What if telling the truth means sacrificing my own hide?

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How have my attempts at “damage control” betrayed others, and therefore, Jesus?

SacredHeart

Who am I going to believe?  Who am I going to trust?

Am I someone others can believe? Am I someone others can trust?