You may have noticed that a few, or maybe a that a few thousand of your friends’ Facebook profile pictures are now covered with a transparent layer of rainbow joy in celebration of the Supreme Court decision last week to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide.
Regardless of where you stand on the court decision, or even on the act of rainbowing a Facebook picture, this is a huge opportunity to discuss some important issues with the teens in your sphere of influence. After all, with over 26 million people participating in this social media phenomenon, you’ve got a lot of leverage to start a conversation.
Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the many celebrities changing their Facebook profiles to celebrate the supreme court decision.
The teens who share your genes or show up at your church are undoubtedly taking notice of all this social media activity. In fact, according to the Media Insight Project, 88 percent of Millennials (young adults aged 18-34) get news from Facebook regularly, and over half of them do so on the daily. So, how can you use the rainbow connection to start a dialogue?
Here are 4 ideas that you might be able to use…and remember, this is a self-proclaimed Christian liberdependant republicrat talking. I don’t really know what I think on many issues. I’m still figuring that stuff out myself.
Before you get into the heavy stuff, consider bringing up Unicorns, Hello Kitty or late 70’s Houston Astros’ uniforms to provide a great segue into rainbow discussions.
Surprise your teens with overwhelming love-speech for your LGBTQX community. If you don’t have any love, you might need to pause and reflect on that. (By the way, if you’re not used to seeing the Q and X, the Q stands for “queer”, as in gender and/or sexual fluidity or in a reluctance to label oneself. The X stands for all other undefined possibilities.
Anecdotally, the 7 adults I know seem to be mostly talking about morality and social norms, constitutional implications and other topics that come up on the Mark Levin Show (that’s some guy on talk radio who yells a lot). Now, there’s no problem with talking about these issues, but what I would LOVE to hear from my Christian friends is more concern for the individual people excluded from things like retirement, healthcare, visitation, housing services and YES that did and does happen even with civil union benefits in place.
Let’s fight for and care for all our brothers, sisters, and those who don’t feel like they’re in either category. Let’s demonstrate our concern verbally and tangibly. This is the spirit of Christ. Once our teens see the right spirit in us, they might actually care what the Bible says about the subject. They will be driven to try to reconcile how or why a loving God would seem to disallow homosexuality. As it stands right now, many teens’ “B.S. meters” are going off because our stated beliefs in other-centered love and our actions aren’t matching up. As if we only reserve our love for those who fall into the “approved lifestyle” category.
Also, let’s talk less about the“gay agenda”. Yes, there probably is one. Chances are that there are a few people who see a way to get fame or wealth from the situation—and those people will drive an agenda. However, anecdotally again, the five gay people I know really just want to be able to live their lives without fear of getting evicted from their apartments, or shamed publicly. That’s their agenda. They want to be treated like humans. Yay for humans!
3. Single-minded duality
Do you realize how amazing a Christ-follower is? Christians have a single-minded duality that sets us apart and allows us to act differently. What I mean is that we have a high standard—a single-minded centeredness on Jesus and the righteousness that will follow from knowing Him. We also have a duality of mind allows us to interpret something like homosexuality as a sin, but still absolutely love the person who may be committing that sin.
You’ve heard that phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”, right? This duality makes sense to us. (Though I must give a shout-out to the author of this article for rejecting the categorization of “sinners” as a cop-out). We can realize that we are convicted of and called to a certain standard, without being hateful to someone for not subscribing to that same standard.
What’s interesting is how foreign that concept is to some non-believers. Awhile back I attended a talk by some friends at By Beholding His Love, a ministry that shares about God’s love and power to overcome. This talk was about homosexuality and a young man in the audience spoke up during the Q & A time.
This guy just could not reconcile how anyone could find an act of homosexuality an abomination, according to their faith, but still actually love the homosexual person. He said that we just naturally hate the people who do things that we disapprove of, so it must just be an act, a cover-up at least and mere tolerance at best. All I could think was “yes, I guess that’s not natural.” I believe that the ability to see deeper into a person’s heart and truly love them, despite any actions that we might find abhorrent or against what we choose for ourselves is a duality that is sustained by understanding God’s love and grace toward us in our states of sin.
4. God’s Design for Marriage
Use this opportunity to have a discussion with your teens about what God designed marriage to be and do. You probably think you know where I’m going here, but I might just have a trick up my Hello Kitty trademarked sleeve! Sure, you’ll probably talk about the one woman/ one man concept from Genesis, but please don’t let the discussion flounder in the shallows. The truth is that we who claim to believe in the sanctity of Biblically-defined marriage need to rediscover and educate our own people on what God wants for marriage. It’s not just a sex and stability benefit program. It’s a “one-flesh” physical, spiritual, emotional, sexual, mental and economic union.
Let’s talk with our teens more about the real point. I love how John Piper puts it in This Momentary Marriage, saying “The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people.” Wow. Our unions are supposed to be a living testimony of God’s relationship to his people!
It’s living out this covenant that would have protected the definition of marriage as many Christians interpret it. Think about it: would this discussion even be happening if marriages inside the church were happily holding together at a rate of 98 percent while “the world” struggled at 50 percent? Doubtful. It would be obvious to others that the Biblical method worked. People would be asking Christians what the secret was to get a blessed, forever-union. They’d be grabbing onto your robes like the guys from Zech. 8:23 to ask for advice. Let’s put our marriages where our mouths are! Wait, is that weird?
In closing, I’m praying today that the words coming out of our mouths will be full of grace and genuine longing for those who don’t know or don’t care what the Bible teaches yet. Additionally, I’m hoping we can use these rainbow profiles to engage our teens and get them thinking for themselves—shopping in the marketplace of ideas and asking questions that will ultimately help them see the beautiful character of God.
What about you? What interesting and non-expected discussions have you gotten into with your teens because of the explosion of rainbows?
See you soon!
Other helpful/interesting links:
By Beholding His Love
A Christian View of Civil Marriage
Magical Facts About Unicorns