Landmark Day

26 06 2013

Around the corner from my new home is the Landmark Mall.  I stopped by the other day to check it out and I’m sorry to say it was a very sad sight.  The two anchor stores — Macy’s and Sears — seemed busy enough, but the rest of the place was deserted.  It’s clear that the mall has seen it’s day, and that now it is just biding it’s time until some developer buys the land and bulldozes whatever is there in order to start over.  Unfortunately, at least for my family, the Landmark Mall is nothing more than landmark for something that was both outdated and irrelevant!

So it was no surprise when I discovered this week that next spring, a major portion of the mall is going to be demolished so that a new, outdoor, ‘mixed-use town center’ can be built in it’s place.  Macy’s and Sears will stay right where they are; but the landscape around them will be altered to reflect the needs of an ever-changing community, brining beauty, relevance, and new life to an institution that was mired in the past.  So as a new resident to this part of Alexandria, VA, I’m excited to see what is going to become of this ‘landmark’ decision.

Today, our nation’s highest court is also going to make a landmark decision of it’s own, and I’m even more excited to see where that decision is going to take this country that we all love and call home.  

Now it will come as no surprise to some of you that I am have some strong opinions on what the court’s decision should be.  At my denomination’s national meeting last year, I took my alloted two minutes on the floor of the gathering to challenge the Presbyterian Church USA to stop following our culture, and start leading it — to boldly declare that new wisdom and movenents of the Holy Spirit were now calling our community and the rest of the world to recognize that same-gender marriage is not only NOT forbidden by God in Scripture, but in fact, like any committed marriage relationship, is a covenant relation that can bring honor to God! The church had the chance to redefine marriage, and become one of the first institutions in the world to speak a Godly truth, to powers and principalities that were rooted in a pious and puritanical homophobia.

But we didn’t!  Instead of taking the lead in choosing love and not fear, the denomination that I love so much chose to wait for someone else to seek justice and to love mercy.  Afraid that any actions that challenged the staus quo might cause further decline in our numbers, commissioners clung to the past and closed their eyes to the ‘new thing’ that God is doing in our world today.

So now its the court’s turn to take a stand. And if they declare DOMA unconstitutional, and make it legel for ALL Americans to enjoy God’s gift of marriage, then once again it will be our culture that is setting the course for this nation, instead of the church.

No don’t get me wrong! I’m content when anyone takes the lead in speaking God’s truth to the world today, even when they may not know it is God’s truth that they are speaking! But how I wish it could be the church — the group that claims it is committed to seeking and doing God’s will . . . the community that proclaims it’s mission is to love God and neighbor . . . the body that declares it is all about living in world where justice flows down like waters.

On more than one occassion I have been accused of allowing my walk to become warped by the world. I have been accused of caving in to the culture, and neglecting God’s Word as I seek to live out my faith. But that is not what has happened to me at all! My walk hasn’t been ‘warped’ by the world; it has heard the Spirit speaking through the world because the Church had silenced it. I’ve not caved in to my culture, I’ve heard Christ speaking through my culture and saying what the Church was failing to say! And I never want to neglect God’s Word, but rather I allow the Word to continue to speak newness of life into my old ways of thinking and being.

The church has let so many people down, and for so long, that today I am hoping for the courts so speak up and take a stand. Today I am hoping that they have the courage to give us a Word from God, the courage to give us the justice for which so many are yearning. I pray they will stand on the side of love, not fear, and do what needs to be done. The time is now. A landmark decision is needed. So in this decision, may the Spirit breathe on us all, and bring a fresh sense of beauty, relevance and newness of life, to the institution of marriage.


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8 responses

26 06 2013
Marilyn Warren

Amen and Amen! So the court has ruled . . . yes, the Spirit is alive and well in our nation. May it be so elsewhere!

26 06 2013
John Lilley

Bravo, Bob.

26 06 2013
Kay Duplantier

I am sharing your wonderful blog with my sweet sister-in-law, who recently married her life partner of 26 years in DC. Much joy in our family today! Reading this makes me miss you so very much! Hugs!

26 06 2013
Kelsey Lilley

Very thoughtful post, Bob. A landmark day indeed!

26 06 2013
Bob Melone

I didn’t delete your comment Abby – I just hadn’t read it. Sorry for the delay.

27 06 2013
Don Chudd

Bob, I have always felt that it would be great to have you as my pastor. I still do!

27 06 2013
Bob Melone

You’re very kind Don – peace!

29 06 2013
Kelly Bogart

Bob,
I’ve often wondered if my beliefs had been over-influenced by culture. Thanks for explaining it in a way that makes sense!
Kelly

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