Monday, July 31, 2006

Peace Talks

Check out the groovy Dean at "Peace Talks" Ocean Park Camp.

This past week I spent my annual week participating in age level camping. For the past three years I have been a dean for Ocean Park "junior" (4th, 5th and 6th grades) camp. I really enjoy deaning. It is a huge responsibility and a major time commitment but once the campers arrive and everyone is having a good time I really enjoy the community that is created.

I pray that each of the campers had an expereince that will help them in their faith. It was a lot of fun to dress up '60s style and to talk about Peace last week. Thanks to all who helped camp to happen, Willis and the staff at Ocean Park, Shellane my Co-Dean, all the small group leaders and campers.

Love your enemies

If you have any doubts that Jesus was a radical read the Gospel of Luke carefully. Luke is filled with radical ideas, none more so that the idea in Luke 6:27, "Love your enemies."

Often we struggle with this passage, after all we are all good Christian people. We don't really hate anyone. Oh we hate terrorism and figures like Osama Bin Laden but we can even convince ourselves that we don't hate them, we hate what they do.

On the surface of things I don't believe that I have any enemies. Yet, If I am passionate about justice in the world, injustice is my enemy, and Jesus is calling for me to love those who are part of the problem. Jesus was a radical, not with an army but with love.

The decision by the Washington State supreme court this past week was surprising and disappointing. The State Supreme Court ruled that under current state law same sex marriages are not legal. I really don't understand that decision. Why allow marriage between two people who are in love in one case and not another? What is the state's concern regarding the gender of the two people who wish to be married?

We need more healthy committed gay and lesbian couples to tell the world their story. There are many wonderful couples at Longview UMC who for all intents and purposes are married. They are not sexually promiscuous. They are committed to their relationships. Other than the fact that both people in the relationship are of the same gender I see little difference between these couples and any other heterosexual couple I know.

It seems to me that too many people have false images of gay and lesbian people. For some gay and lesbian people are strange and different.

So perhaps the path to change is to Love the enemy. We need to care about those with whome we disagree. We need to show the value of committed loving partnerships. Live the example of sexual intimacy being reserved and shared in the committed covenental relationships. We can change the face of an issue so that when people vote about homosexuality and marriage they are not voting about a theoretical issue but they are voting about their friends Peter and Paul or Mary and Sally.

We will pray for those with whom we disagree, we will not hate them for the disagreement but we will take the time to get to know them and live into the kingdom of God together.