There's a church nearby that bothers me. On the surface, it's seemingly simply aesthetic reasons, but the particular aesthetics are symbols of deeper problems--and while the aesthetics are certainly not aesthetically pleasing, the realities that they symbolise are somewhat more unpalatable. But really, it's the combination of meaning and the symbol used to represent that meaning, that bothers me most of all.
My problem with this church is with its garish purple doors. Now, normally, I have no problem with purple. I mean, I prefer certain colours to others, and I prefer not to wear certain colours, but every colour can be beautiful in the proper setting. Aesthetically, purple doors are not a good combination on a 100-odd year old brown-brick, black roofed church. As I said above, it's rather garish. I doubt anyone but the severely colour-blind (or the utterly blind), could find this combination pleasing. As soon as the paint job was applied, it offended my artistic sensibilities.
Obviously, the purple paint was not for simple aesthetics. This is further illustrated by the rainbow flag flying right beside the white flag with the blue square in the upper left corner, with a red cross in it. It was to make a statement. And, this being the Centenary United Church, that statement is that Homosexuality is Okay. This United Church not only is "welcoming" to those who struggle with same-sex attraction (as all churches should be), it openly proclaims that same-sex attraction is not sinful, but a perfectly natural sexual orientation. In order to proclaim this, they must reinterpret the Bible and ignore 2000 years of Christian tradition, giving into the zeitgeist which itself makes anyone who appeals to the Bible, Christian tradition, or even Natural Law and common sense, narrow-minded bigots in league with "pastor" Fred Phelps.
Now, it's bad enough that a church can reject its mission to call sin, sin, and people to repentance (even if that sin happens to be a rather popular one these days). But it seems to me that if one sin is now okay, then mustn't all sins become so labeled? After all, if homosexual acts are fine, then on what grounds can we decry theft, adultery, or even murder? If one serious sin is no longer serious, nor even sinful, then on what standard does this church call anything good or anything sinful?
Now, as much as all that bothers me, as it sends something of a mixed message to the world about what true Christianity is--and could be said to fulfil those Scriptures warning that in the latter days, perilous times will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but with itching ears will heap up teachers unto themselves (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4)--what bothers me even more seems to be the "Gay Agenda"'s very choice of symbolism to define themselves: Namely purple and rainbows (because it's not bad enough that they choose one colour to define themselves, they have to actually take them all!). My problem with their appropriation of these symbols are the Christian meaning of these symbols. It could be argued that the vast non-Christian homosexual community was unaware of the Christian meaning behind their new icons, but for a church to brandish them in such a fashion truly indicates to me a defiance to historical Christianity and a definite separation--though still claiming to be Christian (again, as 2 Timothy warns [3:4-5], "they will be treacherous and reckless and demented by pride, preferring their own pleasure to God. They will keep up the outward appearance of religion but will have rejected the inner power of it").
Why do I say this regarding their choice of symbols?
First, Purple has been used in the Church for ages as a liturgical colour denoting Repentance. It is the seasonal colour of both Advent and Lent, the first preparing our souls for the Coming of Christ, and the second to prepare us to participate in His Passion and Resurrection. Purple as a colour is a reminder to turn from our sins to the Life of Christ. But now it is being used to define a particular sin, and to say repentance and change is not necessary. What should serve to remind us to repent of sin now serves to celebrate it.
Second, the Rainbow has meant, from times even more ancient than the Church, the sign of God's Covenant Love. After He punished the earth with the Flood, he showed Noah the Rainbow as His promise to never destroy the earth again in like manner. Thus, the rainbow symbolises God's mercy and His faithfulness--though also His justice. But for Centenary United Church and the Homosexual Community as a whole, the rainbow celebrates their "diversity" and the "beauty" inherent in their lifestyle. The church, in particular, seems to want to celebrate God's Love while denying His holy Justice.
Thus, a group of people will, on the one hand, demand tolerance and acceptance from the "narrow-minded, bigoted" Church, on the other hand slaps that same Church, and the God she serves, in the face.
"Keep away from people like that" (2 Tim 3:5) indeed!