Thursday, May 16, 2013

You Gotta' Fight For Your Rights (or do you?)

I think that young folks today tend to think outside of the box more than the previous generation. We often look at a question, talk about it, and solve it in ways that seem illogical or wonky. This kind of thinking infuriated our parents when we were young and frustrated us when we took multiple choice tests. But now it has the potential to open up new possibilities for how we see the world and work to bring about God’s Kingdom.

I’ve lived in China for 9 years and during that time I’ve become really suspicious of our society and its love affair with “rights”. It seems like every argument in society revolves around rights – the right to life, the right to an abortion, the right to bear arms, the right to eat Grade D beef on a taco, etc. And a lot of the time when we find ourselves getting angry during the day it’s because someone has violated our rights, whether by intruding into our carefully painted lane on the road, breaking into line at the store, making us waste our precious time because they’re late, or worse.

And that’s why I love Paul’s words to some Christians in 1 Corinthians 6. The people he’s writing to are struggling with the exact same thing. They’re all caught up with defending their rights and arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong according to the law of the land. But Paul (in a very postmodern way) offers a totally different way of thinking. To those people caught up in the argument he says, “Who cares? Who’s right, who’s wrong – does it matter? Isn’t it better to just drop the issue and love each other?”

And as simple and unappealing as it might sound, I think there’s a bit of wisdom in there for us as Christians today. Instead of getting caught up in debates and trying to prove the other side wrong, I think that we can cut across the very current of the debates rather than getting caught up in them & we can short-circuit the whole situation by living out alternatives that are completely unexpected. What would it look like if Christians suddenly dropped out of the political debates surrounding gay marriage, guns, abortion, etc and instead started living out their answers? Is it realistic to think that we could actually address these questions in legitimate ways through love and creative action instead of arguing about our rights?

For too long, the typical response of the Church has been to dive head-first into these debates and try to prove our idea based on political ideas, logic, and “rights” language. But what if we just quit trying to be right and instead did like Paul said to those Christians in Corinth? What creative, love-filled, and Christ-like answers can you think of to the pressing issues of our society today?

**TODAY'S POST was written by PMP contributor Dale Taylor.  Dale is a Fuller Theological Seminary student, mission practitioner, and all around awesome guy...follow Dale here!

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