Conservative opponents of same-sex marriage have all but lost their fight. And I think they’re beginning to see that.
In a strangely self-reflective postmortem on the movement, Gospel Coalition blogger and pastor Thabiti Anyabwile basically admitted as much, before sharing the one secret weapon he thinks may yet win the war: straight Christians telling gay people that we think the way they have sex is gross.
OK, OK, it may not seem all that awesome when I say it, but believe me, Anyabwile made it sound good:
The pro-gay campaign has successfully duped many in the country and around the world into suppressing their conscience, turning the other way with the help of polite terms and phrases. And because we want to be ‘nice’ and ‘liked’ (who doesn’t?), we have ignored these things or willingly accepted the terms of the discussion presented by the other side. We’ve stopped gagging — at great cost.
After all, we all know that it’s not the Holy Spirit that we can trust and rely on to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. It is our gag reflexes.
Yes, the gag reflex is the key. This is how I learned that most of the things I used to believe were sinful — like pornography, overeating, rage and drunkenness — in fact, weren’t. Because they don’t trigger my gag reflex, you see; I’m actually quite attracted to them — at least, part of me is.
Instead, what I really have to watch out for are maggots, rotting food and strong medicine. That stuff gets me gagging something fierce, so I know it must be powerfully sinful.
I wonder how Anyabwile pictures Jesus when he closes his eyes. I’ll bet it’s something like a slightly more masculine version of Alicia Silverstone’s character in “Clueless.” I can see it now: Jesus rising before dawn to carefully choose his most fab ensemble. After a couple hours of “primping,” he’s ready to face the day, just so long as no haggy losers get dirt stains on his meticulously clean robes.
Anyabwile’s Jesus addresses crowds of “uggos” and calls them to reinforce their basest urges and culturally conditioned impulses. Anyabwile’s Jesus stands before a woman accused of adultery and declares (as author Jonathan Merritt tweeted earlier this week), “Let he who is without yuckiness throw the first stone.”
It makes for an amusing picture. But in the end, Anyabwile’s Jesus simply isn’t in line with the Bible’s Jesus. As if.
Fact is, Jesus did a lot of things that most of us would probably call “gross.”
For one, he was born in a pretty nasty place. Sure, we try to churchy it up around Christmastime, but in truth, there is nothing cute about animal stables. They are filthy, putrid, musty, moldy, fly-infested joints, and they’d be even more so in the days before disinfectants.
Among polite company, one could quite accurately call that Bethlehemian stable a “toilet.” But, plain and simple, it was a craphole. Literally. And that is where the almighty son of God chose to enter this world as a baby.
Really, it’s appropriate. Not because he deserved it — he didn’t — but because his birth would so accurately reflect the willful behavior he consistently displayed. A prominent Jewish rabbi, he shunned the company of the obsessively neat and ritualistically clean teachers of his day for the dirty poor and Gentile sinners.
“Worse,” he touched — even embraced — the diseased, the dying and the dead. The man who could heal with a word — a thought — insisted on placing his hands on lepers — disfigured and twisted men, covered in skin lesions, whom virtually everyone else avoided at all costs.
Indeed, his entire earthly life mirrored the truth of what I believe he was and is: a God who set aside the glory of his heavenly throne to walk with us in this messy, complicated, painful and beautiful place we call “the real world.”
Maybe, someday, Thabiti Anyabwile and The Gospel Coalition will choose to step off their celestially high horses and join him there.