Last night I was involved in a Bible Study with several of our students at a local Coffee shop that will go nameless, unless it's name is Purdy's Coffee Shop, but that is a story for another day. However, we were discussing scriptures and we end up talking about random things such as "what new flavor of coffee would you create?" Our next question was historical in nature, "What additional President would you add to Mount Rushmore if you could?" The answers were various from random choices to more thought provoking reasons. This was fun to hear their young minds move through history to make a choice.
So that made me think about history and scripture; how we see scriptures as a finished story on this end of history BUT we are making history right now. How we are making choices everyday affects history. Take this story for instance as it is unfolding.
"There is a country where the people rule. The rulers make laws, rules and try to interpret what the winds of popularity are of the people. There are understandings, hot buttons, hot topics and topics that once they are invoked it gets emotional responses but not necessarily thought provoking conversation.
The culture had set up this idol if you will about how sexuality should be viewed and anyone that dare oppose that idea or idol, would be dealt with in the most ugly fashion. Those that refused to bow to this idol whenever it was brought forth on the stage of conversation would suffer the consequences.
In this story there are 3 men, let's name them Dan, Tim, and Jeremy and they are all in different fields of vocation, stages in life, and all have similar beliefs; contrary to the cultural idol. One of these men is in the area of business, a very successful business, grossing sales over 4 Billion dollars a year with a very simple concept. One of the men is young and was successful when going to college winning many awards and accolades for his abilities. He was sometimes over the top with emotion even wearing his faith as it were, under his eyes of all places. The final young man played sports and did not get all the rewards and was considered by many a failure even sleeping on some one's sofa as he was down and out. However, he never denied or walked away from his faith or his beliefs, no matter what those around him would say.
Dan, Tim and Jeremy all stood strong for what they believed. Even when the culture traded them to other teams, ridiculed their abilities, and boycotted their businesses, they stood firm in what they believed.
One day because of the stance of Dan in answering a question about his beliefs that did not go well with those of the culture trouble began. The people were outraged and got politicians, leaders, and others involved and heated up the stage of debate 7 times hotter than it had ever been before. They called for picketing, boycotting and even demanding his business be closed in various places. They would show this man that you can't have your opinion, thought or belief system, after all that is intolerance of the culture.
(Side note, Tolerance is defined as: noun
1. a. fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices,race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
4. the act or capacity of enduring; endurance: My tolerance of noise is limited.)
If Dan did not retract his words or his beliefs he would burn in the furnace of popular thought and culture. If Tim and Jeremy want to be successful they have to compromise their ideas, beliefs, and thought processes because that is not tolerance to believe differently from the 'norm'.
The day came for the boycott, the taking a stance against this belief system and something happened. It started small and then it grew and then it swelled. Support for this belief system, faith, and freedom of speech. It came from all areas of the culture and country. Many who had been silent for so long arose to support truth and even showing love for those that didn't believe the same way that they do. They attempted to show tolerance for all people. Sure not everyone will agree but civility must prevail. Sure there are pockets of bigotry, and intolerance, but that happens on all sides and not not acceptable on either front."
In this story the days are being played out before us and how will it end? Well that is up to you the reader because you are in the story, a player, and participant of the final outcome. However, I know that NOT participating in the story is not an option because silence, failure to stand, and not participating IS participating.
So this is a story being played out before us and in history when our children and grand-children ask about this kind of thing in the culture, I hope you can tell them about truth and life and faith. That you can use this story A Modern Day Parable to help them understand.