Thoughts on "The Giglio Controversy"

Earlier this week, the story broke that Louie Giglio, a well-known pastor/speaker in the Evangelical realm who was originally going to pray at the 2013 inauguration, was not going to be doing that anymore. From what I understand, certain groups were checking up on him and discovered some 10-year-old sermon on homosexuality. From there, the story becomes more speculative. Some believe he was harassed by gay rights groups, others believe he was encouraged by inaugural committee members, and others believe he made the choice solely on his own. But, he withdrew from the event.

This is where I read about the story–followed by about 20 pages of vitriolic comments, at last count:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/10/16449097-pastor-nixed-from-obama-i…

To sum up the majority of the NBC News comments:

Joe: “God is a fairytale, and you are stupid to believe in him, and I wish you people would just go away. Why is a pastor at a government event anyway?”

Jane: “God is real {insert Scripture here}, and I hope you burn in hell. This is the beginning of the end of free speech. I guess speech is only free if you agree with the left-wing agenda.”

This post is addressed primarily to Christians, since that’s the group I identify with, but I would start by saying to both sides: by comments like these, neither side is exactly proving to be a shining example of your “life philosophy.” To the athiest: you hold up human nature as the pinnacle of achievement. Although I know many Christians can be jerks, why would you risk looking unenlightened by painting all of them with the same broad brush of dismissal? To the Christian: you hold up God’s nature as the pinnacle of human endeavour. Although I know many athiests can be jerks, why would you risk looking unloving by essentially damning them all to hell when they don’t just “take your word for it”? Even if you want to say we have some sort of “competition” going on, shouldn’t we be trying to “outdo” each other by what we do to benefit humanity, instead of by what we do to spite each other?

Anyway, that’s all I’ll say about that.

To the Christians who are panicking about state churches and God kicked out of America and no more free speech, I have one question:

Why does it matter?

Common answers might be: “Because it’s a sign of things to come,” or “Because our fundamental rights could be in jeopardy.” Let me rephrase the question:

How does this change your walk with God?

Here’s the thing. Jesus never said following Him was easy. In fact, He usually said the opposite. So why do we so often still expect a cushy Christianity? We have been the exception, not the rule. And sometimes, it’s nice to be the exception; it can have its perks. But it won’t last.

How does exchanging a pastor for another leader at a government inauguration affect your personal relationship with God? Will you be unable to pray? Will the Scripture you’ve read and remembered be taken away? Will God be unable to work in your heart and life anymore? No. In my personal opinion, those who are really bothered by this situation are really just concerned about the ease of publicly practicing Christianity for them and for the generations after them. They are worried about the consequences of a “God-friendly society” eroding away. Which is already becoming the case, by the way, even just in popular cultural opinion. Could Christians in the West face hard times at some point in the future? Of course, and I’m sure when that day comes–whenever it comes–it won’t be easy or enjoyable. But if we know Jesus at all, we can hardly be surprised. And, to me, this situation–no matter how you interpret it–hardly qualifies us to look in the eye and speak to a truly persecuted Christian in some other part of the world and say, “Yeah, I know what you’re going through. It’s getting bad here, too.”

We have been the exception for so long that we can’t comprehend the rulebook anymore. Christ’s kingdom is not in a country; it is in us! That is “eternal security”–not that we will always be sheltered from tough times that come with our calling, but that we will be faithful to follow Jesus despite those tough times.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” -1 Peter 4:12-13

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” –Romans 12: 17-18, 21

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