“I am deeply, deeply distressed that in the face of the most horrendous problems – we’ve got poverty, we’ve got conflict and war, we’ve got HIV/AIDS – and what do we concentrate on? We concentrate on what you are doing in bed.”
– Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
This man is freakin’ genius. Newsweek had pretty good feature a while back on how even those in American evangelical settings who still have issues with homosexuality are waking up to the fact that, at the very least, they should prioritize people who are actively dying and suffering before we argue about our differing opinions about sexuality. In Africa, where there is open conflict between Muslim and Christian, a statement like this is risky and meaningful. Trying to focus on the things that are vital for people of all faiths keeps the dialogue open.
For me this reminds me of Matthew 15, where Jesus has to explain to Pharisees that the old ways of thinking about ritual cleanliness will be rejected. (Although I’m not sure if it is the old traditions or the Pharisees themselves that Jesus means to call “blind guides.”) Of course, as Roman and Jewish Christians came into more and more conflict, this debate between adherents of “The Law” of the Hebrew Bible versus the Gentiles would amplify. To me, it seems very clear that a lot of us in the world have gotten confused between faith and adherence to religious law. How can we instead allow our faith to keep us alert to the changing face of our earth, ourselves as a people, and our relationship with God?