Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Monday, September 25, 2006

The courage of coming out

I have found a new way to finance my ministry. All I have to do is to "come out". Sure, those who support this ministry might be shocked and my wife's life might be ruined (the woman whom I pledged my love to till death do us part almost 5 years ago), but I am sure that after a couple of years, I could get a fairly decent book deal and find numerous sympathizers. I could then take the money and finance whatever I want to do. Some in the media would even call me "courageous and inspiring."

I've debated within myself whether I should write this post. For those of you who watch the news, you probably know by now that I am referring to the ex-New Jersey governor James McGreevey who came out of the closet two years ago in order to save himself from charges of political corruption. At the risk of sounding too judgmental, something I try to avoid in my writing, let me first say that I think it is admirable that McGreevey, a self-proclaimed Catholic, voluntarily recused Himself from receiving communion in light of his pro-choice views, saving his archdiocese from political embarrasment. I think that shows a bit of integrity.

Having said that, I am concerned about the near-heroic welcome he has received in the media for his decision to come out of the closet. Never mind the fact that he was unfaithful in his marriage, his "coming out" is a courageous act in the minds of many. Why is this? Because, as I've said in other posts, the new American religion is "to thine own self be true." Self-autonomy has trumped other time-honored virtues such as fidelity and self-sacrifice in the new American religion. Think of the film The Hours that came out a few years ago,where the art of leaving one's spouse and children is virtually portrayed as a saintly act. My question is "since when has selfishness become a virtue?"

I don't think that Christians should have a haughty and judgmental attitude towards homosexuals. I am a firm believer in "love the sinner, hate the sin." If Jesus were around today, I think he probably would be found in gay bars extending his hand of friendship while lovingly and gently calling them to repentance, much to the chagrin of millions of Christians in the "moral majority". This is why I was so embarrassed by the reaction of certain fundamentalist pastors in this country who told their congregation not to see the film End of the Spear simply because the filmakers chose to cast an openly gay actor in the leading role. I see nothing of the spirit of Jesus in these misguided shephards. Jesus befriended sinners and so should we.

Having said that, I think that all of society, not just Christians, should question the new American religion of self autonomy. If taken to its logical conclusion, virtually all decisions become moral decisions, no matter who they hurt, as long as one is true to one's self. I think this is a dangerous philosophy that will bring much harm to innocent people if left unchecked. One of the chief characteristics of our humanity is the ability of moral reflection. Morality should be grounded not only in what is good for ourselves, but also in what is good for others.

9 comments:

aus blog said...

I'm pro-life always have been. World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is anywhere between 20 and 88 million.
3,500 per day / 1.3 million per year in America alone. 50% of that 1.3 million CLAIMED failed birth control was to blame. A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all. That leaves 2%that had medical reasons. That means a stagering 98% may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.
What are your thoughts on birth control?

toby said...

Good ending point on morality being grounded also in what is good for others. I'm thinking that looking out only for one's own interests is ultimately self-destructive behavior. Too bad a lot of people in the States are headed this way.

aus blog said...

I'm pro-life always have been. World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is anywhere between 20 and 88 million.
3,500 per day / 1.3 million per year in America alone. 50% of that 1.3 million CLAIMED failed birth control was to blame. A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all. That leaves 2%that had medical reasons. That means a stagering 98% may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.

aus blog said...

I'm posting from aus and with what you got goin on I'm glad of that.
Could you tell me roughly what % of your christian comunity are (radical,fundamentalist's who want to impose their radical ideals and beliefs on the whole country)
All sounds a bit Taliban-ish?
Seems they have too much power, seems they have bush in their
pockets. Church and state should never entwine. That to me spells
Fundamentalist government(not good)
A good christian heart would not force their ideals on others,they are more likely to serve the people in any way they can offering assistance to those in need.
Some may appreciate their efforts and want to be more like them.-Ridicule and condemnation isn't the way to go- they'll never change hearts and minds that way.
Maybe they know that what they ask is ridiculous, so try to impose their will. I think if there were a god he would want people to find Humanity.
True humanity can only be achieved by concidering others/caring about others as much as,if not more than yourself.
Then and only then could we call ourselves a -Civilisation-

Over 3,500 terminations per day, 1.3 MILLION per year in the United States alone.
50 or 60 MILLION per year World Wide.

I am a pro-lifer who has no religious convictions at all . I didn't need the fear of god or anything else to come to my decision, just a good sence of what is right and wrong.
You see we were all once a fetus. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that when your mother first learned she was carrying you, she may have considered her options? What if she had decided to terminate? Would that have been OK?
You would not exist, if you have children they would not exist, and your (husband or wife) would be married to someone else. You would have been deprived of all your experiences and memories. In this day and age with terminations being so readily available and so many being carried out, if you make it to full term
you can consider yourself lucky. Lucky you had a mother that made the choice of life for you. Don't you think they all deserve the same basic human right, LIFE?
I'm all for contraception, prevention is certainly better than termination.
Did you know you can get an implant that is safe, 99.9% effective, and lasts for three years? Just think girls not even a show for three years, wouldn't that be great? I think too many people rely too heavily on the last option (abortion), I think if abortions weren't so readily available people would manage their reproductive system far better resulting in a fraction of the number of unwanted pregnancies.
World wide there are over 50 MILLION aborted pregnancies each year. In America 3,500 terminations carried out every day, that's over 1.3 million every year, 50% of all cases claimed that birth control had been used, 48% admitted they took no precaution, and 2% had a medical reason. That's a stagering 98% that may have been prevented had an effective birth control been used. Don't get me wrong, I suspect the percentages in Australia would be much the same.
Just a lot of unnessessary killing.

At the point of conception is when life began for you. This was the start of your existance. Your own personal big bang. Three weeks after conception heart started to beat. First brain waves recorded at six weeks after conception. Seen sucking thumb at seven weeks after conception.

I am convinced that in the not too distant future, people will look back at many of the practices of today with disbelief and horror.



ausblog

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Thank you for your comments ausblog. You make some good points. To answer your question, very few Christians in America want a theocracy in the sense that you are describing.

Your views on caring for others as well as the unborn can also be grounded in what theologians call "natural law" (which is another word for just plain God-given common sense).

Here is a question for you to think about. Since we are both pro-life, but for different reasons. Are my pro-life views invalidated since they are grounded in religious convictions? If I were to vote for a pro-life candidate because I believe the Bible says abortion is wrong, would that be an unfair mixture of religion and politics? If so, then would the conclusion follow that only atheists, agnostics, and deists should be allowed to participate in a democratic government?

You could also use the example of murder and thievery as well since they are in the 10 commandments. Just something to think about.

Chris P. said...

Re: The End of the Spear,
The casting of a gay actor in the lead role was problematic for me, but not the main issue. We really have no idea how many actors are not openly gay, so one could have been cast in that role without our knowledge.
While I am in agreement that Jesus would have ministered to those who practice homosexuality, He would have admonished them as He did all forgiven sinners, to "go and sin no more", i.e. quit practicing that sin.
1 Cor 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11
are quite clear that homosexuality is a sin. It is also just one sin among many on the list. I do not single out gays and lesbians to confront. Sin is sin, and we are all redeemed sinners.
My objection to The End of the Spear is that the movie was hijacked by those promoting the gay agenda, to advance the idea that the gay lifestyle is biblically acceptable. There is a movement in "christianity" that seeks the dropping of homosexuality off the list of sins.
If this is the case ,what about adultery, fornication etc.? Those who would like to practice these, could seek the same redress.
Anyway that is why I did not see it as of yet. The story was lost amidst the din of the controversy.
I do not think that is entirely the fault of the church.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Thank you for your comments Chris. Of course, I agree with you that homosexuality is a sin. Notice I did not say that Jesus accepted the sin of homosexuality. I said that He would "lovingly and gently call them to repentance". The key to my argument is that, though Jesus did not tolerate sin, He openly associated with sinners, much like the filmakers of The End of the Spear. The filmakers stuck their necks on the line at the risk of angering religious leaders much in the same way that Jesus stuck His neck on the line by eating and drinking with tax collectors and prostitutes (could there have been a few homosexuals in the list of "sinners" that the Pharisees accused Jesus of befriending?") The point is that He "associated" with them without engaging in the sinful acts. The fact that Chad Allen and the gay community may have abused this by promoting their gay lifestyle is not the fault of the filmakers. The message of the Auca 5 is far more powerful than any cultural or political agenda on both sides of the "culture war".

aus blog said...

Aaron,

Sorry to take so long to answer your question but finally here it is...
Our reasons have a common goal, to stop the slaughter of the defenceless. One thing that clouds the issue is the christians that want it all (no abortions and no birth control). In the world we live in this can never be attained.
And the Pro-choicers will bundle us all together calling us radicals who want to take away their democratic right to choose.
Their should be no such right, democratic or otherwise to take a human life. If we all stood together on this and accepted that the idea of abstinence is never going to be embraced in the real world we could achieve much.
In a short period of time we could see the number of terminations reduced to some where around 2% of the figures of today. Promote birth control and education for all. Is that too much of a concession to make for the greater good?

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Thank you aus blog for your comments. Most Christians are not opposed to birth control. I also agree that we need to educate people. I undertand that not everyone will agree to abstinence, so I am not opposed to educating people about the facts of condum use per se. I am opposed to high schools distributing condoms to students. I think it is very dehumanizing to teenagers to tell them "we already know you can't control yourself, here is a piece of plastic to protect yourself from your animal instincts."


I do think that abstinence should be held as the ideal. And why shouldn't sex be taught within the context of marriage? The current notion being taught in schools that sex is merely something two consenting adults do for mutual gratification has some serious societal implications. Divorcing sex from family values is a common trend, but detrimental to society in my judgment. I think one could even argue this from a Darwinian perspective as well. Nature itself seems to favor marriage and family over the "anything goes as long as it is consentual" mentality.