Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Christian Response to Macklemore’s “Same Love”

Macklemore’s song “Same Love” recently received a Grammy nomination for “Song of the Year.” At the awards show, Macklemore performed the song while 33 same-sex and opposite-sex couples were married.

 How should Christians respond to this song?

 First of all, Christians should acknowledge that Macklemore makes several statements that are absolutely correct.
The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion 
Some conservatives have indeed perpetuated this type of thinking. While homosexuals, just like heterosexuals, certainly have the ability to choose to refrain from engaging in sexual activity, people do not necessarily have the ability to choose to stop experiencing same-sex attractions. Human sexuality is complicated, and at least some of the factors which may influence sexual orientation are entirely outside of one’s control, such as upbringing and genetics.

Furthermore, while the gospel promises believers the strength to resist temptation, I do not find any verse in the Bible which states that Christians are promised permanent relief from temptation in this life. Just as an unmarried heterosexual called to a life of singleness should not expect God to give him permanent relief from his sexual desires, a person with a homosexual orientation should not expect God to give him permanent relief from his sexual desires. (God may do this, but he has never promised to.)

Macklemore also states,
God loves all his children 
Of course, this is also true. As the apostle Paul said to the pagan philosophers in Athens, “We are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29), and the Bible is abundantly clear that God loves his offspring.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8) 
Note, however, that in these passages the love of God is always tied to the problem of sin: because God loved us, he sent Jesus to save us from our sin. As I have stated before on this blog, a theology with no room for sin is a theology with no room for the cross, and a theology with no room for the cross is a theology with no room for love.

Macklemore, however, has little tolerance for the notion that homosexual behavior is sin.
We paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago 
Here Macklemore is apparently dismissing the Biblical commands against homosexual behavior because the Bible is ancient. This is rather inconsistent, since Macklemore ends his song with an appeal to the Bible.
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind 
This is a short quotation from the famous thirteenth chapter in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8) 
But if Paul’s vision of love was so profound, should we not at least consider what else he said in the very same letter?
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10) 
Obviously, Christians cannot force non-believers to accept the authority of Scripture, but folks like Macklemore should think long and hard before dismissing the Bible wholesale. If 1 Corinthians 6 is hate-filled rubbish, why should we listen to 1 Corinthians 13?

Now Macklemore is certainly to be commended for denouncing hatred.
If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
"Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we're saying
 A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em
 Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser 
However, Macklemore finds hatred not only in spiteful pejoratives, but also in the moral exhortations of the church:
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned 
These lines express what is really the key fallacy underpinning Macklemore’s entire song, namely, that the anthem “live on and be yourself” is the only response love can give towards those experiencing same-sex attractions. However, if homosexual activity is actually sinful (as the Bible teaches), and if sin is indeed destructive (as the Bible teaches), then the anthem “live on and be yourself” is hardly an expression of love.

Now Macklemore is certainly free to disagree with the Bible. He must make his own choice. However, it is unfair for him to evaluate the motives of Christians without considering the belief system which they hold. Perhaps Christians denounce homosexual activity because they harbor some secret, irrational hatred towards those experiencing same-sex attractions. But is it not rather more likely that Christians denounce homosexual behavior for the same reason they denounce heterosexual fornication, namely, because they actually believe that such behavior is sinful and therefore ultimately self-destructive? Dismissing such an obvious alternative and jumping straight to the conclusion that Christians are hateful is hardly compatible with the vision of love, tolerance, and mutual understanding which Macklemore purports to advance.


Unknown said...

Why do you bother trying to orient the ignorance of some unbeliever to the Word of God?
What is the edificational objective? Rom 1 thouroughly excoriates homosexual behavior, against men AND women, not just "gay" acts. in verse 27 "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." God describes exactly the reward of anal sex. How much more must God have to condemn this behavior before all realize that that sin is a particularly significant one. It marks the homosexual man as one "given up" upon by God. It is not the domain of some backslidden believer. It is the result of God giving men over to their own core lusts, as one whom God no longer wishes to strive with. Please get some learning.

foundationsofsapphires said...

I thought this was a well-written response to the song. We know that God will give men over to their lusts and no longer strive with him. We see this happening more and more today and it will just get worse. People will hate us because we love the truth but we must keep speaking the truth. Good job, Murray, keep doing what you do. I enjoy reading what you have to say.

Unknown said...

God IS Judging His church/body/eklesia NOW. Judgement begins at the House of the Lord. The Lord Judgeth the Righteous, and the Lord is angry every day. ( And judgement does not end at the House of the Lord. So confess and praise and maybe you will live to see God's wrath upon the unbelieving wicked and evil ala Romans chapter one.