In a moment, I am going to invite you to jump into the conversation so get ready.
But to set the stage, let me begin here. With this.
Do you recognize her name?
She is the County Clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky who went to jail because she would not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples because doing so, she claimed, would go against her deeply held religious beliefs.
Let me say this:
- I appreciate and respect deeply held religious beliefs. I like to think I have deeply held religious beliefs. As do you.
- I think she is wrong about how she reads and understands the Bible and about same sex relationships.
- I am cautious about the backstory to all of this. I think some part of this, if not all of it, is being staged which makes me wonder about where and how deeply held religious beliefs really plays into it. While I cannot and do not know Ms. Davis’ heart or mind, I am troubled by the political manipulation around this situation. And, I read this week that Ms. Davis has now signed a book deal and has been honored at the Values Voter Conference in Washington, DC.
But with that said, I have been thinking a lot about Kim Davis.
Well, not so much her, but conscience and convictions and about what do we do with or about deeply held religious beliefs when what we believe or what we deeply value runs counter to what is being asked of us or to the cultural pressure around us to conform?
So in these circumstances, what would you do?
- What decision do you make about the deal that will put your business on the road to success and provide security for your family and jobs for others, but the ethics around it are questionable?
- What if your child loves the sport they are playing and loves the team they are on, but the way the coach leads the team goes against how you believe children should be taught and treated?
- What if the water cooler conversation or your friends conversation in the hallway between classes suddenly becomes racist or homophobic or Islamophobic? Do you say something or silently walk away?
What and where are those lines of conscience and conviction for you? Maybe they are not as clear cut or stark as I just laid out, but they are there, aren’t they? Choices we face and make each and every day about what we believe given expression in what we do and what we say and how we spend our money and our time.
And, the Bible gets mixed up in all of this, doesn’t it?
We take it seriously.
You take your faith seriously.
So what do you do with the passages from the Bible with which we began our worship this morning?
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart…
Just some words? Some thoughts? On specific days like today?
Whatever you do, in word or deed…
Whatever you do whenever you do it.
Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No…
No finger pointing. No yes, but...
It gets complicated, doesn’t it?
At the meeting of the church’s governing board last week, I ask them to respond to the verse from Matthew and to tell me what first came to their mind when they heard the word conscience. Some of their responses…
Doing the right thing.
What words would you add?
So, to further set the stage for our conversation, besides the questions I have already asked, let me add these.
- What are those lines of conscience or conviction for you?
- How does your conscience or your deeply held beliefs guide you?
- Where and how do your deeply held beliefs bang up against the challenges of life?
- If you were Ms. Davis or in a similar situation, what would you do? How do you decide?
- What were the challenges you faced this week between what your faith tells you and what the world tells you?
And, we did.
Please feel free to join the conversation.