On September 15, 2018, the first annual TriPride Parade and Festival took place in Johnson City, TN. WJHL reported that 10,000 people celebrated at the Festival. In addition to this the Tennessee League of the South announced they will hold a rally at Sycamore Sholes State Historic Park on Saturday, September 29, 2018, at 9 am. According to the League State Chairman Tom Pierce, the purpose was to “draw attention to the continued assault upon our people and heritage.” They are protesting the fall of “Silent Sam” at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus. The question is how do we respond to these groups in our community?
First, I would like to point out that these two groups share distortions. Both groups are distorting God’s creation and plan for humanity. The LGBTQ community distorts God’s plan and the creation of gender, sexuality, and the family. God made two genders in Genesis 5:2. God established the plan for the family in Genesis 2:24 stating that a man shall “leave and cleave” to his wife, beginning a new family unit. Two genders fulfilling the earth through a God defined marriage is His plan for humanity. Anything outside of this plan laid out in Genesis is a distortion of God’s good plan and leads to greater distortions and brokenness.
The nationalist community distorts the value and equality of all mankind through racism. Genesis 1:27 tells us that all are made in the image of God. This includes all skin color. We are also told that all, if we believe in Jesus, are one in Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:28. The New Testament teaches us that justification by faith does not eradicate our gender, our vocation, or our ethnicity, but it does relativize all these things. Our first and most important identity is not male or female, American or Korean, black or white, but Christian. We are more alike then we are different.
Lastly, bible last teaches us that partiality is a sin, see James 2:1. And 1 John 3:15 tells us that everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. Hate is murder of the heart because it looks at someone else or some other group and thinks, “I wish you were not around. You are what’s wrong with this world, and the world would be better without people like you.” That’s hate, which sounds an awful lot like murder.
Here are some things to remember:
1. We must be salt and light, but don’t throw salt in people’s eyes or blind others.While it may be enticing to join the anti-protests in each group, we should avoid this. We must show love for the persons trapped in these principalities, and stand against their messages.
2. Remember the church brings together what the world defines as natural enemies. We are all one in Christ Jesus. The separating of peoples at Babel in Genesis 11:7-9 was a cure, but bringing peoples together at Pentecost in Acts 2:5-11 was a gift God gave us.
3. Be tough and tender, and be patient with all.Jesus was the toughest on Pharisees and tender towards people, like the woman at the well. We never back down from God’s Word, but we also need to have compassion for the brokenness of fallen human beings. Let us remember, were it not for the grace of God, we would most likely be in one camp or the other.