By John Pierce
Years ago a congregation placed a classified ad in a Baptist newspaper to assist their search for a new pastor. Among the qualities and qualifications they sought was someone with “the mind of God.”
My guess (and hope!) is that the ad writer meant that the congregation wanted a spiritual leader with a “heart for God.” Too often, however, there are those who assume and proclaim to know the mind of God.
Such claims should come with a loud warning. While we may seek to know God and to know God’s will, it is a humble search that should acknowledge our great capacity to see God as we want God to be rather than to move toward becoming the persons God desires us to be.
Therefore, my skepticism is kicked up a notch whenever someone claims to know precisely “God’s design” for humanity.
During the American Civil War it was common for leading Baptist preachers and editors to claim with great assurance that African slavery was not only a white right but the fulfillment of God’s original design.
Male dominance, in many church circles — past and present — has been promoted as God’s design clearly expressed in the biblical revelation. The racial superiority of whites has been sold as God’s original intent as well European settlers forcing native Americans off of their land.
A recent and extensive report from CNN told of the ongoing challenges coming out of the Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage. A focus of the story was on an Iowa couple who shut down their wedding chapel after receiving negative responses to their denying a gay couple use of the facilities.
Legal issues and conflicting understandings of individual freedom arose. Those conflicts will likely continue for a while. But one irony was unmistakable.
According to the report, the chapel owners — who married several years ago after their first marriages ended in divorce — sold the facilities to a church and started a non-profit organization called, …drum roll, please…: “God’s Original Design.”
Its sole purpose is to promote “traditional marriage.”
It may take a bit of head scratching to figure this one out: Divorcees are erecting billboards in the name of “God’s Original Design” to promote “traditional (biblical) marriage” in opposition to same-sex couples being allowed to marry.
And the Bible (or parts of it) is the backing for this understanding of God’s original design. My, it must be hard to see those billboards with such a large log in one’s eye.