Friday, October 10, 2014

Reinventing the Wheel

I'm not sure when it happened.

In fact, I'm not sure anyone knows when it happened.

But it has happened.

The wheel isn't what it used to be. Its been changed. Altered. Distorted. In fact, I'm not sure it is even a wheel anymore.

What am I talking about? Well, let me try and explain. I don't know how to create cool images so I found this one and you will just have to bear with me as I use words to label it.

There used to be a day when the people understood that the very core of who they were was defined by their person-hood. The very core of their being was their true self. Not a habit. Not a fault. Not a vice. Not an ability. Sure we were people that did or didn't do certain things. Believed or didn't believe certain things. But those things did not define us. We were persons. Individual, unique persons.

So, in the image above, imagine the word personhood or self in the middle of the wagon wheel. Now imagine various words coming out of that center written on the spokes: loving, athletic, kind, alcoholic, loyal, prone to anger, etc.

An endless number of spokes coming out of one center, one core, one given truth for all people. So each wagon wheel of a person had the same core, but we were distinguished by our spokes.

Within the Christian worldview, that center is either sinful or righteous depending on our understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ. The center and very core of our person-hood is either tainted and corrupted by sin or redeemed and reborn through Christ. And yet, as sharp as a distinction as those two opposites are, they both are descriptors of the same thing: person-hood or self.

But that is how it used to be. That's no longer the case anymore. The wheel has changed.

Changed to what?

Well, if you take that same image and put person-hood on a spoke and change what is in the middle, then, it fundamentally changes the wheel.

Imagine with me that at the center of this different wheel is the word sexuality. This change changes everything. Because we know that the very center of us is the person we really are and if we become convinced that the thing that defines us as individuals, persons, and humans is our sexuality, then we lose sight of the need for our whole person to be redeemed. We lose sight of the concept of sin. We lose sight of the Biblical truth that we were made in the image of God.

Sexuality becomes our god.

Somehow, this has already taken place. We as a culture have adopted this new wheel. We now define people and accept people based on this false identity of sexuality.

It is important that the church wake up to this reality because, when we have discussions about homosexuality, Scripture uses the wheel of person-hood while our culture uses and the homosexual agenda pushes the wheel of sexuality. When we say sin defines a person at the very core of who they are, our society no longer hears that the whole person is sinful from the center on out. They hear us say that the churches view of a person's sexuality determines if they are sinful from the core on out.

So, when we say rightly that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle, we say it as a way to identify a spoke on the person-hood wheel which is an indication to the deeper person-hood problem, but when a gay person hears us say that their lifestyle is sinful they hear it as an attack on their very person-hood (core) not a symptom (spoke) of their person-hood.

So, the next time you have a conversation about homosexuality (and you will) remember that we are not all coming from the same starting place. The wheel has changed and the only way we can move the discussion forward is to reinvent the wheel.

Author's Note*** After finally writing this down instead of carrying it around in my head, it occurs to me that there may be many different corruptions of that original wheel out there in society today. Maybe once we lost the person-hood of the unborn we opened the door to many alternate cores for many different wheels. I know people who would define who they are by an ability (athletic, musical, creative). I know other that would define themselves by their jobs. Deep down inside I believe we know that it is not an ability or an occupation or even our sexuality that defines us, yet they are the false gods that have moved to the center of the wheel.Those of us whose core person-hood has been redeemed by Christ and His work on the cross would do well to remember that many of those we encounter do not use the same wheel we use. May we indeed seek to reinvent the wheel.