Monday, December 19, 2005

Pete's Take on Withdrawal

All the comments and email I've received point to a few major reasons why we withdraw from society. Mostly it's because of fear, the belief that our engagement won't actually accomplish anything and a gross misunderstanding of a few Bible verses.

To jump us further into this conversation, I'll quote the following over-the-top story from a book I've been re-reading. Dick Staub was a nationally syndicated talk-radio host in Chicago for years. He tells this story in his book TOO CHRISTIAN, TOO PAGAN (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000):

"The phone lines were jammed, and I owed it all to Ann Landers. Her column that morning told the story of a young man named Bob who was about to be married. Bob was asking if he should un-invite his father Jim's "significant other" from the wedding ceremony. Fourteen years earlier Jim announced that he was gay and left Bob's mother. Jim now lived with Greg, a man who by all accounts was a kind and thoughtful person. Bob struggled with his father's decision. While he didn't approve of his father's choice, Bob had come to accept him. On occasion Bob and his fiancee Carol socialized with Jim and Greg.

"When Carol's parents heard about this gay union, they were extremely upset and demanded that Greg not attend the wedding. When Greg learned of ths situation he said he understood and told Bob he would voluntarily withdraw from the event. But Bob's dad was deeply offended and asked his son to reconsider. You be the judge. What would you do in this situation?

"The calls came fast and were intense. 'The bride's parents are bring ridiculous. If Bob and his fiancee let her parents make this decision, they'll never stop interfering in this marriage.' 'Bob's dad is just reaping the benefits of his sinful act. First he leaves his wife, and then he takes up with a man. He should get over his hurt and accept the consequences of his own actions.' 'I think what Greg is doing is admirable -- this couple should accept his peacemaking offer as a wonderful gift.'

"Then Pete from Long Beach called. 'Not only should they tell Greg not to attend, they should make sure only born-again Christians attend their wedding.'

"'And why is that?' I asked.

"'Marriage is a Christian ceremony, a sacrament, and we shouldn't pollute it with the presence of unbelievers.'

"'Sounds like a pretty radical position to me!'

"'That's your problem, Dick, you don't understand the importance of separation from the world.'

"'Really! Tell me more.'

"'The Bible makes it clear. We are to have no fellowship with darkness. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Dick, if you believe this, why do you do movie reviews every Thursday on your show?'

"'And what do movie reviews have to do with it?'

"'We're not supposed to love the world or the things of the world. The world is polluted with sin, and God is going to destroy is anyway! Movies are of the world! We shouldn't waste our time talking about them, and Christians certainly shouldn't be watching them.'

"'Pete, just so I'm sure I understand you, would you invite movie-going Christians to your wedding, or are they on the non-invite list with all the gays and non-Christians?'

"'A real Christian wouldn't go to the movies, but you know what, Dick? You're a jerk, and I don't want to waste any more time putting my pearls in front of swine like you.' Click. Pete hung up." (pp. 34-35)

Anyone ever met Pete? Anyone have something constructive to tell him? How do you approach Pete and make a case that might change his mind?