by Paul Detterman, National Director –
“There is a reason God gave us two ears and only one mouth…” Much in the flurry of mainstream and social media over the past several days proves the enduring wisdom of that old saying, and of the truth of its biblical counterpart, “There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7b)
To be sure, God’s people should not remain silent. For now, however, the “tidal wave” of response from the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage is still swirling around us. Before we speak, we need to listen closely to what people from all different perspectives are saying. There is much we can learn from them.. Some voices, from every side, will anger us. Other voices, from every side, can help us as we contemplate what the late Elizabeth Elliot famously called “doing the next thing.” And contemplate we must if we are going to live faithfully in this moment and “do the next thing” wisely and well.
In the early hours after the Court’s decision went public, a friend posted on Facebook, “So, I guess some court made a pretty big decision today. Wonderful… I get to watch my friends firebomb each other for the next 72 hours.” Truth. Will the the firebombing, verbal and otherwise, continue? In part, that is up to us.
There are moments in every lifetime when our world changes dramatically. For most of us, these come along so infrequently that we have little practice in dealing with them. This is one of those moments. It will be a long time before we even grasp the enormity of the change. It is imperative that we take time to recalibrate—theologically, emotionally, personally .
We need to maintain a gospel perspective. I’ve found a handful of articles particularly helpful in maintaining a sense of perspective:
- Mark Galli, “Six Things to Do After the Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage” published by Christianity Today
- Mark Labberton, “Love Matters” published by Fuller Seminary
- “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage” published by Christianity Today
- David Brooks, “The Next Culture War” published in The New York Times
- Trish Harrison Warren, “Rules of Engagement: Social Media and the Gay Marriage Decision” published on The Well Blog through Intervarsity.
- Judd Birdsall. “Amid Gay Pride Marches,Where is the ‘Religions Extremism’ Many Feared After Friday’s Supreme Court Ruling?” published in The Washington Post
- Rod Dreher “Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn to Live as Exiles in Their Own Country” published in Time
Now more than ever, it is absolutely critical for followers of Jesus who truly care about maintaining a faithful and credible witness to the radical uniqueness of the gospel, to be thoughtful and precise, realizing that our response, whatever form it may take, reveals a great deal about who we truly are and what we truly believe.
There is (and will always be) a time to speak. I believe this is a time for the radically counter-cultural and counter-intuitive task of keeping silence and listening—gaining perspective from people we trust but, even more than that, listening beyond the blogs and Facebook posts, to the voice of the only One whose voice really matters.