A Lament for June

My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. – Ps 119:136

Lamentation is a familiar genre in the Bible, but a less familiar one in our churches today.

While making an appointment on my calendar in my iPhone, I realized that my phone now informs me that June 1st is the first day of “LGBTQ+ Pride Month” in the same way it just informed me that Monday was Memorial Day. It is just another reminder that the sexual mores of our country have changed massively both in their scope and speed. In 1996, Congress approved the Defense of Marriage Act, which explicitly opposed same-sex marriage and defined marriage as between “one man and one woman”, after it had received large bi-partisan support in the House. It was signed into law by none other than Bill Clinton. In 2004, Barack Obama explained, “We have a set of traditions in place that I think need to be preserved…marriage is between one man and one woman.” He does not change his views till 2012.

In the span of a few decades, thousands of years of tradition and understanding of the most significant institution of human culture has been redefined. The break-neck speed of this change has left our culture with a sort of whiplash. And the speed appears to only be accelerating. Now, homosexuality seems rather tame compared to where sexual/gender identity is headed. For instance, last year the children’s show Blue’s Clues released a special episode to Youtube in honor of Pride Month where a parade of LGBTQ animal characters marched by as a drag queen sang about LGBT families. The song included words like, “transgender”, “pansexual”, and “queer,” and even had a transgendered beaver with scars on its chest from “top surgery” (breast removal). Remember, this is a show for pre-schoolers. Similarly, in 2021 the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir released an original song called “We’ll Convert Your Children” where they sang:

We’ll convert your children, happens bit by bit, quietly and subtlety and you will barely notice it…We’ll convert your children…you won’t approve of where they go at night. And you’ll be disgusted when they start learning things online that you kept far from their sight.

These two instances sound like extreme examples of slippery slope arguments that would have been laughed at by advocates of same-sex marriage years ago, nothing but the fear-mongering of conservatives trying to stymy the progressive agenda. And yet, here we are, with the most influential companies of our day openly explaining that they intend on injecting “queerness” into their content, particularly content made for children. Lord, have mercy.

How should Christians respond when, in the words of Marx, “all that is solid melts into air”? Well, we respond with grace and truth. We hold out the offer of the gospel and the path to life to a world that is so myopic and self-centered in its navel-gazing that it has disintegrated into a puddle of infinite introspection, hoping that the next sexual novelty will bring healing. Grace frees us from pride and self-centeredness by lifting our eyes up and out, heavenward for our healing. Grace also kindly wounds us, humbles us, so that we know that deep down we are wretched sinners ourselves who have been redeemed by Another. We provide truth, good arguments for why the church disagrees with the current sexual zeitgeist. We train our children about the goodness of sexual difference, the integrity of their body, and the gift of sex enjoyed within our Lord’s design. We think seriously about the best ways to love our non-Christian neighbors in the public sphere that navigates the complexity of religious freedom while refusing to be complicit in, or approving of, sin. And we are careful about the influences that we open our families up to and pay attention to what content flows into our homes.

But here is another way we can respond: lament.

Consider Paul’s model:

  • For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. – Phil 3:18
  • I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. – Rom 9:2-3

When Jesus draws near to Jerusalem we are told that he “wept over it” (Luke 19:41) because their hearts had become so hardened that they were blind to their Savior. The world is familiar with outrage at what you disagree with–you don’t need to be a Christian to be outraged; it is less familiar with weeping over those you disagree with because you long for their good. For the next month as we see boisterous celebrations of what we are told incurs God’s wrath and judgment (Rom 1:26-27), rather than roll our eyes, let them “shed streams of tears” for those who do not follow God’s law (Ps 119:136).

While all sin brings wrath, and all sins can be forgiven through Christ, there may be no other sin our popular culture now endorses and celebrates and lionizes more than sexual sin. And any sin, whether that be the sin of sexual promiscuity or racial hatred or idolatry or anger, any sin that we champion and praise will eventually become a boulder of judgment heaped upon our head. A boulder that Christ will happily take upon His shoulders and bear away at the Cross if we will but confess and repent.

While the devastation left behind the wake of the hyper-sexualization of our children leads us to anger, maybe our world–our children–need to see our tears more than anything.

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