Thursday, July 10, 2008

Your Faith is Important

Several months ago I read a column by a Houston Chronicle writer who referred to his “partner.” I happened to know that his “partner” was his wife. I wondered if this reference reflected a new Chronicle policy to cease using the term “spouse” so as to leave it ambiguous for the reader whether the relationship was same-sex or heterosexual. This would be in keeping with the politically correct trend to prevent “discrimination” by making language neutral and “non-judgmental.” I have not seen this happen again in the Chronicle apart from this columnist, but let’s hold the thought and move on to new and interesting developments.

A recent high profile fashion show in Paris featured a designer’s new line of unisex clothing. This in and of itself is not revolutionary. Unisex clothing is proliferating. One New York magazine noted a popular trend in which men buy women’s jeans in order to wear them as tight and skinny as possible. But what intrigued me about this fashion show was the designer’s rationale for his new unisex line. He proclaimed that originally human beings had been unisex, but later “devolved” (my word) to different sexes. Thus, his line of clothing was celebrating the original uniformity of human beings.

Let’s consider one more recent incident, a forum in Colorado in which a woman continually referred to her “significant other” only to reveal after several minutes that she was referring to her dog.

What is the common thread in these three? It is the moral confusion that pervades our age, particularly what happens when the Judeo-Christian worldview which formed western civilization loses influence. As the British Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton famously said, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing. They believe in anything.” I wonder upon what basis the fashion designer makes his claim that human beings were originally unisex. I certainly understand, though, that apart from believing the Bible’s claim that human beings alone are created in God’s image, animals would seem to be equally precious to people. I think of the numerous times Dear Abby has mentioned the singular and unique pain of experiencing the death of a child, only to have a reader respond that she has no children but that her dog(s) were like her children and her pain at their loss is of the same degree. The Bible calls this kind of thinking “foolishness,” and it has nothing to do with intelligence. Many very intelligent people are fools. Wisdom, the Bible’s opposite of foolishness, emanates from a moral foundation based on something more than whims and feelings.

I am not a sky-is-falling kind of person; I’m not asking you to adopt an anxious and combative demeanor. But here is my point: What you are doing in church on Sunday is more than being encouraged and built up for personal faithful living; you are being equipped and fortified to live in the world as salt and light, witnessing to the revelation of God and upholding truth claims which often are disparaged but which mitigate against society sliding deeper into perversity and foolishness. Your faith is important. Not just for getting to heaven. Not just for being happy and fulfilled. But for taking a stand.


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