I've seen it before.
The Seattle Times has turned the spotlight on Seattle's Roman Catholic Archbishop, J. Peter Sartain.
Why? Well, they say, the archbishop "remains somewhat of a mystery to many in Western Washington."
The Times reports that the archbishop who arrived in Seattle in 2010 is a nice, warm, relational man who is humble and serves as an excellent mentor to other younger pastors. Well liked by many---but not all.
The Times reports, "But it's Sartain's other priority---promoting marriage and family according to the teachings of the church---that's garnered the most attention. That was especially true of his decision to urge parishes to gather signatures for Referendum 74 to overturn the same-sex marriage law."
Okay, so its not a spotlight---its a blowtorch. They disagree with his position on biblical marriage.
The Times says it like this: "A portrait is emerging of a man who is warm, humble and kind, while at the same time a leader who can be out of touch with the lives and concerns of some in his flock."
They say he is particularly "out of touch with gay and lesbian people and liberal Catholics."
They are suggesting that the church must be shaped by contemporary culture, rather than being a beacon of light and guidance and shaping individual lives and the culture with timeless biblical principles and Truth.
KOMO's Ken Schram took on the Archbishop when he asked his parishes to gather signatures. Now the Times is, in different form, carrying the torch.
The Times says this is, "One of the archdiocese's most forceful thrusts into the political arena in years."
It isn't a political battle, it is a spiritual one.
The Times quotes Rev. John Whitney, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish on Capitol Hill, as affirming that Sartain is nice enough but, "He reflects a trend in the hierarchy that the answers are already there and if you need it, we'll talk about it until you come to my position."
Herein is the crux of the cultural battle.
Sartain is expressing his (and that of his church) belief that the Bible gives the absolute model for marriage, which is the model of one man and one woman defined at Creation. A model that Jesus Christ Himself affirmed. A model assumed and practiced by every successful civilization in history and advocated by every major religion. Pastor Whitney's frustration is likely based on his willingness to redefine not only marriage, but Scripture as well, while ignoring the value of historical, natural marriage in every culture.
To Sartain, the answers are already there. We are not making up truth as we go. And it's interesting that whether it is Janet Tu at the Times or a homosexual activist who is advocating for redefining marriage, they will always refer to deeply held biblical beliefs as "your" position, rather than a "biblical" position, because they can only see things through the lens of relativism---in this case secular relativism. And see, nor recognize anything higher than the human dimension.
Whether you are Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Mormon---whatever, if you stand for biblical marriage with any influence, you will be called out. And there will be an attempt to undermine you in some way. Sometimes overtly---sometimes subtly.
I commend the Archbishop for his stand for marriage and would urge my evangelical brothers to lay aside the restraints that sometimes silence us and both stand and speak the truth.
This is the time.
Be Vigilant. Be Bold. Be Discerning. Be Blessed.