Is Your Path a Little More Narrow Today?

When I was in middle school I joined the Science Club just so I could go on a spelunking trip to Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee. We began our journey into this large cave by entering a little opening in the side of the mountain. Immediately enveloped in darkness, we had no other source of light than the flashlights we carried. The journey through the undeveloped and primitive cave took us over treacherously deep ravines, muddy "floors" and twisting tunnels. But at the end of our journey we landed in a large cave "room" where we  spent the night, joined by other spelunkers who had arrived the same way we did.

The part of the cavernous trail I reflect on most often these days is the narrowness of some sections. I believe they called them things like "lemon squeeze" or "creepy crawly." Not only were these extremely tight places, but some of them actually required getting on your belly and crawling through. Talk about a claustrophobic's nightmare!

Wednesday, as the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional and made history by taking a major step toward full-on support for same-sex marriages, I began to feel the parameters of the narrow path I'm on close in on me even more. Did you feel it too?

Not only did the highest court of the nation open wide the doors leading to complete legalization of all homosexual unions, but the media partied in the wake of these decisions. I watched Diane Sawyer report, with a twinkle in her eyes, on the "good news" for 15 minutes without ever even mentioning that roughly 43% of Americans still oppose the legalization of gay and lesbian marriages. That may not be half, but it's a sizable contingency...that wasn't joining the party.

Then today I read the predictions that more and more marketing on mainstream venues will include pro-homosexual orientation advertisements. Evidently U.S. companies are just going to ignore the results of J.C. Penney's forays into advertisements featuring gay and lesbian couples. (Some may blame the retail store's cutting of coupon promotions for its 25% decrease in sales, but no one can deny the public outcry that resulted from the same gender Mother's Day and Father's Day ads as well.)

I don't know about you, but the in-your-face promotion of the pro-homosexual lifestyle movement is making me a little claustrophobic. Not homophobic, by the way, just claustrophobic. I'm not a bigot and I don't shun or treat badly those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle. Some may say that if I don't want to grant them legal marital status then that constitutes shunning, but I disagree. I think we can give respect and love without legitimizing open sin.

No, I'm not narrow minded, but I simply continue to stay on the narrow path paved by God's Word, regardless of the signs of the times. The truth is that God created, ordained, and defined marriage in the beginning. Marriage is one of two God-ordained institutions (for lack of a better word), the other being the church. And I am no more prone to allow our culture to redefine marriage than I am to let someone draw me a different diagram of the church, the body of Christ. (Granted, our culture has tried to redefine the church as well, saying there are multiple ways to know and experience God and not just One. That's a topic for another time.)

God defines marriage as a lifetime, exclusive commitment between one woman and one man. And He never redefined or broadened that definition throughout the thousands of years over which the Word of God was written. In fact, He had plenty to say about marriage, adultery and even homosexuality, and it was all very definitive. So we can't say this is gray area. It's not.

But hey, I'm not an editorial writer. That's not really what I do here at Off the Beaten Path...not because I don't feel strongly about current trends or issues. I do, obviously. But I just don't have a lot of confidence in myself as an editorialist. There are others on the forefront of Christianity who do a much better job at explaining and interpreting the road our culture is on than I do, and they also have more finesse at telling us what to do about it. I've already ventured, in the previous paragraphs, into water above my head. 

But I thought it was worth the swim in order to say what I want to say to you now.

The purpose of Off the Beaten Path Ministries is simply to equip women who have chosen to walk the "narrow path" established by Jesus Christ with truth, encouragement, and companionship for the hike. 

And so today, since many of us are feeling the squeeze while our world widens the boundaries of the wide path traveled by many and subsequently narrows even further the slender trail we have chosen, I offer you just companionship, a little encouragement, and the Source of truth.

When you turn on the TV or are confronted with the tabloid headlines in the grocery store checkout line or hear the reports on the radio, keep these things in mind:
"Enter by the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide,
and the way is broad
that leads to destruction, 
and many are those who enter by it.
For the gate is small, 
and the way is narrow
that leads to life,
and few are those who find it."
-Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14)

Today I'm choosing to turn off all sources to the media. I've heard what they have to say. Now I'm listening exclusively to the words of Jesus. 

I want to remind you of one other thing. Sister, you're not on this path alone. There may only be "a few" of us in comparison to the numbers partying in the streets this week over a "landmark" court decision. But I'm here and you're here. Let's stick together and stay on the "ancient path, where the good way is."

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