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Joel BelzVoices Joel Belz

The blink of an eye

The culture has changed quickly, and Christians will face more and more tests

The blink of an eye

(Kabliczech/iStock )

A WORLD reader told me last week, with frustration interrupting every sentence, how her teenage granddaughter, playing on the volleyball team of her public high school, had been paired on one of the team’s road trips to room with a teammate known as a lesbian. “It was like it was a test,” the grandmother told me. “The coach is also a lesbian, and she knew [our granddaughter] was a professing Christian. Yes, she knew exactly what she was doing. She wanted to see how she would react.”

I’m not sure whether social conservatives really meant it a generation or so ago—or if we knew what we were saying—when we warned that the legal affirmation of homosexual behavior in its various expressions might change our society forever in ways we could not imagine.

We used to wonder whether someone like the woman coach would be exonerated in her claim to serve in a place of special influence over adolescents. Now the question has moved with exponential speed to whether a student like our reader’s granddaughter has any rights to claim in a scenario like this one. But don’t be silly. Of course the granddaughter has no rights. Even to suggest the possibility is to display not just her insensitivity but her actual hatred of her homosexual teammate.

All that took place not in a liberal urban or metropolitan setting, but in a rural agricultural community.

So did it happen fast? Was it only yesterday that many of us were claiming that same-sex marriage would never gain approval if we only allowed the general public to vote on the issue? We were wrong. We may not have been wrong then—but we didn’t allow for the profound influence of the mainstream entertainment and news media, the secular educational establishment, the courts and political elite, and mainstream religious spokesmen. In the blink of an eye, policies we were so sure could never win general approval were clobbering us by growing majorities.

Having been emboldened by their victories, those with the mindsets that have brought us gay rights in employment and same-sex marriage will not be satisfied by any means.

All of which prompts us to look warily ahead—and not to kid ourselves this time about how far off the new round of issues is likely to be. For having been emboldened by their victories, those with the mindsets that have brought us gay rights in employment and same-sex marriage will not be satisfied by any means. Here are three examples of other tests we should prepare for.

First is the threat to evangelical institutions, including those involved in education, media, and social welfare. Their very existence will be challenged on the basis of their refusal to hire or to accept as clients/customers practicing homosexuals. The clout of the state, or of professional bodies (think “accrediting associations”) will have quick and devastating effects. Be watching what happens this year at Gordon College in Massachusetts and Erskine College in South Carolina. Neither has a history as a fundamentalist, right-wing institution. But both face ominous challenges in the immediate future.

Second, even in the general public, be ready to find a reshaping of many traditional patterns. Study the progress in Minnesota of lobbying groups trying to eliminate all gender distinctions in high-school sports. The prohibition would apply both to team lineups and access to facilities like lockers and showers. Although temporarily stalled, the proposal has by no means gone away. If adopted by the Minnesota State High School League, it will reportedly apply not just to public schools but to all private, religious, and even home schools.

And third, pay careful attention to the hubbub over the transgender movement. Don’t mistake transgenderism merely as a minority within the wider homosexual world; there, you might possibly sympathize with many who are confused or unhappy, for whatever reason, about their sexual identity. See transgenderism, though—and properly fear it—first as an ever so much sharper rejection of that identity, and then a determination to take extreme measures to change it. It is (much too simply, for sure) an expression of rebellion against God’s order of things carried to new levels. And the media love to celebrate it.

Will those same media, educators, courts, political elite, and mainstream religious leaders continue to join that rebellion? Will you, like the granddaughter of WORLD’s reader, be challenged to pass their tests? Do you know yet how well prepared you might be to respond?

Email jbelz@wng.org

Comments

  • Soapbxn's picture
    Soapbxn
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    All great comments above and I especially agree with Neil Evans.  Our daughter, a college freshman/athlete at a state college was just this week given an assignment in her very secular psychology class to respond to an article from a popular news site about a former Navy Seal who is going through sex change surgery and therapy.  She is supposed to parallel the article with what is in her textbook about gender identity and then she is supposed to explain how and if her "biases" have changed.  All of this is to be posted on a class forum that is shared by all the students in the class.   Is this a "test" by a liberal instructor? Is it the brainwashing we are seeing rampant throughout our college campuses?  Or is this professor just trying to get these students to think, engage the culture and exam their own positions.  Who knows.  One thing that is important in this dialogue is to realize that Christ dies for us while we were yet sinners, and we are all sinners.  Each of us is created in God's image - whether "gay" or "straight".  Sex really should not be someone's identity, no matter what their "persuasion" ,  but one can treat others with dignity and respect no matter how messed up they are, as we are only to examine ourselves to see that our own "righteousness" is but filthy rags without Jesus.  And where would we be without Him?  Ultimately we are a light that needs to lead and how do we lead if we snarl and snap and chase those that desperately need Jesus away?   I have no clue as to how our daughter responded but she started with prayer for God to help her see others as he does and to "weep" for those that don't know the One who can set them free.

  • Thomas Peck
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    As we continue to move towards the end times, this should be expected.  God is turning the world over to its own depravity as we roll back to paganism.Christians need to be concerned less about 'winning' political or legislative battles to fool ourselves into thinking that if we have a Judeo-Christian culture, that means people will be saved from God's judgment.  The reality is that only the only way to salvation is Christ, and that should be our imperative, not electing the president.

  • hawaiicharles
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    Hans, I'm sure that's true about ordinary people, who just want to live their lives in peace.  But the movement I refer to is driven by cultural elites who craft the entertainment we see on TV and in movie theaters, and who write and promote the lessons that our children learn in school, and policy makers (such as Houston Mayor Annise Parker) who actively push an agenda of perversion and sexual confusion onto the rest of us.  Be assured that these people most certainly do have a goal of normalizing depravity, and they are quite ready to do battle against those of us who will stand in their way.

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    Honestly, Charles, do you know any gay people? Have you ever talked to them about their experience? Because I have, and that just doesn't ring true. You might be fighting a culture war in defense of a passage in Genesis, but these are just human beings who are dealing with their own experience of life; it's not an abstract. That doesn't make it right, mind you. It's just a lot more complicated and deeply personal than a principled defense of gender bending.

  • hawaiicharles
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    I've pointed this out in other posts, but it bears repeating once more.  The agenda of the LGBT movement is nothing less than to completely blur any distinction between the sexes.  It's a direct rebellion against the clear statement in Genesis, "male and female he created them."It's easy to fall into despair as the days darken, but the fact is that Christianity has always thrived at the margins of society.  The coming persecution might reduce our overall numbers, but I believe it will also purify and refine the remnant.

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    Honestly, it really bothers me that Christians are so willing to buy into the idea that a person's whole identity is wrapped up in their sexuality. Some people in the LGBT community might consider their sexuality to be THE defining part of who they are, but Christians have a real opportunity to interact with people on a deeper level as fellow human beings who are made in the image of God. The Christian high school student and her lesbian teammate have far more in common than not. This is a perfect illustration of why the church continues to do such a horrible job at addressing the emerging acceptance of the LGBT community. We can't distinguish between "what you are doing is wrong" and "eww, you are a gross person whom I don't want to be around." It is high time that we get over ourselves.If this is a "test," it's a test to see whether or not a high school student is mature enough to be around people who she doesn't agree with. That's part of loving your neighbor and therefore part of the Christian mandate. It is also a test that Christians seem repeatedly to fail, and the more we insist that we actually have a moral obligation to fail it, the more we ensure the speedy and complete demise of our influence in the culture. 

  • DeeJay's picture
    DeeJay
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    Even if the coach meant the pairing to test the Christian girl, it could also been viewed by the Christian girl as an opportunity to let her light shine.  Just because the girl was a lesbian doesn't mean that she would be trying to have a relationship with her roommate.  Not reacting would be the best response.  If the lesbian girl brings it up, the Christian girl can be casual about it and may even have an opportunity to show God's love to the girl.

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    Our inability to distinguish issues is part of what makes our reasoning so ineffective here. A Christian high school student might have to share a room with someone who identifies as a lesbian? Oh, the horror! I am sure the lesbian girl is thinking, "I have to share a room with an annoying fundamentalist Christian? Oh, the horror!" Just be a decent respectful human being. There is nothing remotely disconcerting about this situation. I spent my years in the BSA sharing a tent with a gay friend of mine who was a fellow scout. Those were good times; we had conversations about faith, life, dreams for the future, and yes, even homosexuality. We were also good friends. Just because people feel uncomfortable doesn't mean they have a God given moral prerogative to feel that way, nor do they have the legal right to demand that other people assuage their feelings.

  • mamasen
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    It's a lot to ask of a high school kid, but I hope the girl was taught to treat the other student with respect and love even though this was a hardship. Homosexuality is a sin, but that young woman could be redeemed by the blood of Christ if she came to a saving knowledge of Him, just like any other sinner could. Our high horse doesn't communicate the gospel; our loving concern and winsome spirit has a much better chance of communicating even hard truths like sin and the need for repentance. We all have more in common with the lesbian than with the sinless Lord Jesus; our salvation is by grace.

  • Neil Evans's picture
    Neil Evans
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    I think we (Christians) have tended to think the battle is primarily cultural (political and social) rather than personal.  Our challenge is first to hate sin like God hates it, first in ourselves and then in others.  Secondly, we must learn to in-love weep for the redemption of sinners adrift without a Shepherd.  We must learn to not be drawn into the trap of treating others as one-dimensional persons.  Perhaps the coach was setting a trap for the Christian girl by requiring her to share a room with a lesbian teammate.  But the Christian must see the teammate as much much more than a lesbian.  When God looks at people He sees the multifaceted individuals we are.  God saw the zealot Saul not only as a persecutor of His Church but as the amazingly talented Paul whom Jesus loved so much He died and lives for him.  It is quite easy to recognize sin the each others lives.  Only by submitting to God's transforming Grace is it possible to sacrificially love sinners as Christ loves ourselves.  The battle will be won neither at the ballot box nor through cultural media.  It will be won as individual Christians see their coaches and teammates (neighbors) not just as homosexuals but as simply and awfully sinners like ourselves in need of The Savior who loves us not because we are lovable but because He is Loving.

  • Laneygirl
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    First, I have to get this out: There is nothing GAY about being homosexual. Second, the agenda of the same-sex movement has been clearly established. Does anyone remember when they just wanted to be left alone? That was step 1: Accept. 2. embrace 3. celebrate 4. worship.

  • socialworker
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    The weapon we have in the first test Belz talks about is the LGBT community's own mantra; diversity and anti-hate.  Surely some of them will see the ridiculousness of their position in light of their own holy words.  The second and third tests baffle me.  The truth is that gender is not a feeling.  You either are a certain gender (even through surgical transformation) or you are not.  Why can't the onus be put on the schools to provide private bathrooms for those who can't get past the "feeling" of being a gender that they are not?  Will there no longer be "girls" teams and "boys" teams?  Will girls have to compete with boys to make the A team and the B team?   

  • rom828
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:44 pm

    The world is a frightening place. However, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."