Oh my goodness! I mean, where do you start? Not only that! Where do you end? Even now I sit here and stare at the blank computer screen (except for what you just read…and this…) and am trying to gather my thoughts. I was hit with something today that caused me to take a step and say to myself, maybe I should look into that. My daughter’s friend made this statement, “My memere won’t buy Girl Scout cookies anymore because she found out that they give 50% of the money to abortion clinics.” Now I know that statement is wrought with inaccuracies, and may be what she thought she heard. But for the slightest of seconds, I said to myself, maybe I should stop buying them too.
So I went home and later that evening (ten minutes ago actually) and did a Google search and found ONE article on a blog from 2012, with such a questionable and obvious slant, that I didn’t trust the reported facts. However, researching other sites from different sources, I was able to believe that the Girl Scouts are subtly infusing a pro-choice and pro-GLBT (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered) agenda in some of their materials, namely the “Journeys” series. But this isn’t about the Girl Scouts, because I’m sure I could find objectionable things going on in the Boy Scouts too. This is about navigating the murky waters of matters of conviction and how far to take them.
But my first area of caution is this…CHECK YOUR FACTS!!! Did I make my point? One of the clearest warnings I can give on that point is to tell you about an absolutely egregious thing someone wrote based on their personal convictions and it displayed their absolute ignorance of the facts. This person obviously never checked to see if what he was saying is true. And that is stupidly dangerous on so many levels. This person was upset with the Kraft Corporation for supporting GLBT rights and pushing for marriage equality. As any good Christian should be, he was against it. He wanted to be sure that he didn’t spend a dime in that organization and called for a boycott by others. One problem! He said, “And that includes going to New England Patriots games.” Well Robert Kraft has nothing more to do with the Kraft Corporation (the Mac&Cheese guys) than I do.
So what this gentleman did was spread false info when challenging others to join in his boycott of the wrong entity. Imagine if crazy and unstable eccentrics threatened Robert Kraft over this charge the writer erroneously laid on him? When we urge others to act, we never know HOW they are going to act, so at the very least, get your facts straight first! Just like I knew “50%” of the proceeds were NOT going to pro-choice entities, I did do a quick search before spewing out my thoughts and opinions in this post. God forbid I should cause the whole town of Coventry to boycott Girl Scout cookies and thus be responsible for hundreds of sad little girls who can’t go to summer camp, and feel the ire of every stressed out mom yearning for a week-long respite. Check your facts. You don’t want to be responsible for the consequences should you be wrong.
One of the scariest things to pushing your convictions on others is how absolutely difficult it is to be consistent. You will be forever challenged when your convictions don’t match someone else’s, and they call you on it, as if not having their convictions is wrong. Imagine it this way. I won’t shop a box store “A” because they support GLBT causes. My friend doesn’t find the GLBT issue to be that big of a deal, but is mad at me for using a certain brand of shampoo because they test on animals, which in that man’s eyes is a grave sin. This whole thing leads to an argument. Even though there is enough biblical backing do defend one decision and dismiss the other, to each person, they are valid convictions that each feels the other should uphold.
Here’s one that’s very close to my heart. In the last ten years I may have seen TWO movies because I don’t support the obvious agenda that is coming out of Hollywood, and that is drugs, violence, promiscuity, anti Christian sentiment, etc. Yet, I see many live theater plays and musical every year, and the stereotype is that the theater is filled with gays. Broadway has many of the same agendas being pushed, such as GLBT (Avenue-Q), drugs and promiscuity (Rent), making fun of religion (Book of Mormon), but do I feel wrong paying for tickets to a Broadway show the way I do for a Hollywood production? The answer is a resounding NO! And I’ll tell the reason…as soon as I can figure it out for myself! I’ll have to get back to you.
That’s another point about sharing your convictions openly with others, what’s our rationale if anyone calls us on it? So I don’t think country music is all that wholesome, but I’ll listen to bluegrass. There are songs about drinking and promiscuity in both genres, but why will I be selective in bluegrass, but absolutely avoid country music altogether? I don’t know! Why will I avoid the cinema, but go to the theater? Again, I don’t know! Here’s a big, huge impasse between two people. Can you imagine me getting on another brother for going to the cinema for all the aforementioned reasons, and he says to me, “But you go to the theater! No different.” And I would have NO answer for him, and he may not have an answer for me on his end. Alas, an impasse at best, and an argument at worse. Even if you can have a reason for your decisions, and can stick to those convictions, where on Earth does it end?
If you won’t eat at a restaurant that serves alcohol, you shouldn’t go to ANY professional sporting events. In case you didn’t know, they serve plenty of beer there. If you don’t want to put money in the coffers of Hollywood producers and the local cinema because they peddle filth, so does the theater, and oh yeah, Barnes and Nobles too. They sell smutty romance novels there, and if you even buy so much as a coffee in the café, you are helping them to stay open to sell more objectionable materials. What if you found out that your local big-box supermarket gave large amounts of money to Christian organizations, but discovered that one of the vendors they stock on their shelves supports equality for marriage. Do you feel that just not buying his product is good enough? Shouldn’t you just boycott the store until they stop selling that line of product from a vendor that completely goes against your convictions? After all, that’s the logic you won’t buy a coffee from Barnes and Nobles, so as to stop the sale of more copies of Fifty Shades of Gray.
See, even if we keep our mouths shut about our personal convictions, and we never share them with anyone, we can avoid some pitfalls associated living out your personal convictions, but we still are left with the inner turmoil that is, where does this end? Do I move to the wilderness, build my cabin with raw materials, and grow my own food and kill my own animals with weapons I fashioned from rocks and tree branches? You can’t buy a hammer at the local national-chain hardware store…just in case. And to purchase a gun to hunt? Whoa! The NRA? Guns kill people! People kill people! Even if you can feel “OK” buying a gun, do you have to do your own background check on Smith & Wesson or Winchester…just in case. I know it sounds silly, but it’s not that far off from reality depending on how truly convicted you are about stances and how far you are willing to go to be as consistent as you can be.
So what’s a person to do? I don’t know (can you tell I have a great handle on this topic). Let’s start with the verse itself: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2nd Corinthians 6:17-18).
- Come out from among the unbelievers, unrighteous, and darkness (vs 14), infidels (vs 15) and idols (vs 16).
- We are then to separate ourselves. That’s what I’ve been so eloquently explaining all this time (NOT).
- After we separate ourselves, we are to touch nothing that is unclean, bad for us, forbidden to us, sinful in God’s eyes.
It all comes down to this for me. I want to have open doors and opportunities to minister in some way. I want to be credible. I want to have validity behind what I say, because people can see me live it. For my average friends, they won’t see me drink a drop of alcohol, when I’m at a restaurant that serves alcohol. That verse asks me not only to be separate, but to not touch the unclean thing. If I stayed cloistered in the wilderness with my hand made tools, I would not have the ministry opportunities I could have by living among the world. Going to a ballgame but not acting like everyone else is a great opportunity to be a testimony and light that will attract some darkness.
See, we want to influence the darkness to join US and not have the darkness influence us if we were to touch unclean things. If we touch the unclean thing, the way the unbelievers do, we dim our light. In my mind, I want to have my convictions be something I can live by, consistently, and that can be seen by others, as something different about me. That will lead to a question, which will lead to an open door. Being different, in a godly way, is how we separate ourselves. Touching not the unclean thing is how we demonstrate we are living separated lives.
This topic has always frustrated me…and this time was no different.