Friday, August 16, 2013

Searching for God Knows What, 11-end

There is a passage on pages 187-189 that is almost worth the whole price of the book, all on its own. Miller was a guest speaker on a radio program, and the host asked him about "the homosexuals who were trying to take over the country." Miller asked the host for the name of this ambitious homosexual group. The host couldn't name any actual groups, but remained convinced that such an uprising was imminent. Miller's response is absolutely lovely:
". . . As a Christian, I believe Jesus wants to reach out to people who are lost, and, yes, immoral -- immoral just like you and I are immoral; and declaring war against them and stirring up your listeners to the point of anger and giving them the feeling that their country, their families, and their lifestyles are being threatened is only hurting what Jesus is trying to do. This isn't rocket science. If you declare war on somebody, you have to either handcuff them or kill them. That's the only way to win. But if you want them to be forgiven by Christ, if you want them to live eternally in heaven with Jesus, then you have to love them." (emphasis mine) Miller later reflects that, while we are in a spiritual battle, the battle is not sinners vs. saved. After all, we are all sinners. The battle is Good vs. Evil, and people lost in sin are hostages. "This battle we are in is a battle against the principalities of darkness, not against people who are different from us. In war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage." (pg. 190)

Obviously, Miller is implying that homosexuality is sinful, but he is at least advocating that we treat homosexual people as people, that we reach out to them in love, that we talk to them about love, and that we stop trying to start a war. Personally, i'm not convinced that it is a sin to be gay, but i understand why a person reading the Bible would come away with that interpretation, and if they have honestly wrestled with the issue (including lots of prayer and talking to people who actually are gay, bonus points if they are gay Christians) and still feel that it's a sin, fine. Just treat them as human beings who need love, rather than The Enemy who must be exterminated and repressed.

Overall, i like this book. It certainly has its issues, both of content and style, but for the most part it neither outrages nor inspires me. There are some books that you read once and they change you forever, but because they have moved you, you can never really love them again. You need to read them when you are at a certain place in your life, and once you have moved past that place, they can offer you nothing. Some books (the Bible, much of C. S. Lewis, Harry Potter, etc.) change and grow with you, and you can keep falling in love with them from new angles as you re-read them. For some people, "Searching for God Knows What" is one of the second type, one that they can read again and again every few years. For me, having read it twice now, i know i will never read it again. It was important to me once, and will therefore always be important in some way, but i think we've outgrown each other.

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