The conservative culture predominant in Texas has increasingly alienated it from areas of the United States which are drastically more liberal. Those liberal areas likely view the culture in Texas as ignorant and even evil, especially related to social issues such as gay marriage and LGBT equality. That contrast makes the recent controversy in Fort Worth schools over transgender preference of restroom and locker room use that much more surprising.
These debates are no longer debates in predominately liberal areas but the front line is in Cowtown. Fort Worth isn’t just in Texas; it’s conservative compared to its next door neighbor, Dallas, which is conservative compared to the state capital, Austin. Of course, Austin is a left-leaning island in the Texas sea of Republicanism.
The conservative culture in Texas is predominately driven by the Christian culture in Texas. Church is normal and Christianity is assumed. There has been practically no alienation or stigma regarding faith in the Lone Star State while Christians in some other areas of the U.S. are in the minority. With conservative values being driven by religious beliefs, it’s fair to conclude that the reaction to Fort Worth’s restroom policy is from church folks at least as much as it is from anyone else.
I was asked about the issue and my reaction was less passionate than some other believers. It’s not because I don’t have an opinion but instead because I’m not surprised. Times like this are here and coming and Christ-followers need to accept God’s promises regarding the reality of these times. Instead of working from a premise of moral superiority, we need to accept a reality of social inferiority.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
Everyone who wants to follow Jesus is going to get to enjoy the position of the persecuted, not the moral majority. The differences on what is right or wrong are not going to get easier and Jesus will not prevail via a Republican congress. He will not be seen and heard through laws and/or preservation of conservative culture. For what it’s worth, I’m really not sure He cares at all about what the Supreme Court says about marriage or what the Fort Worth ISD decides about restrooms.
Jesus is about the glory of the Father. He invites children of God to be His glory carriers, but we are children of God “if indeed we share in his sufferings” (Romans 8:17). Suffering includes alienation, rejection, discomfort, disregard, etc. It’s part of the legitimacy of Christianity; taking up our cross to die to the need to be superior. From that submitted place of humility, we have a shot at accomplishing the point 2 Timothy 3 which concludes with “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I have opinions and beliefs regarding all the social issues and have greater belief in the love of Christ and glory of God. I want in on what He is going to do in these times and, according to Scripture, can only be part of that by accepting that I will get to suffer for those beliefs. He doesn’t invite me into the conviction business, He invites me into the “good work” business. If I can find it in me to love everyone as He loves everyone and express that love in good works, I won’t have to compromise my beliefs one ounce and can enjoy all the accompanying social rejection and other forms of suffering at the same time. It’s good to be a son.