The fight against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation has suffered some set backs recently. The United Methodist Church and North Carolina both voted for exclusion and bigotry. That saddens me. Nonetheless, my frustration is greatest with regard to those who sit on the sidelines. As John the Revelator says, “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16. Here’s a little Persian parable from Herodotus that I came across this morning that seemed relevant.
As soon as the Lydians had been subjugated by the Persians, the Ionians and Aeolians sent messengers to Cyrus, offering to be his subjects on the same terms as those which they had under Croesus. After hearing what they proposed, Cyrus told them a story. Once, he said, there was a flute-player who saw fish in the sea and played upon his flute, thinking that they would come out on to the land. Disappointed of his hope, he cast a net and gathered it in and took out a great multitude of fish; and seeing them leaping, “You had best,” he said, “stop your dancing now; you would not come out and dance before, when I played to you.” The reason why Cyrus told the story to the Ionians and Aeolians was that the Ionians, who were ready to obey him when the victory was won, had before refused when he sent a message asking them to revolt from Croesus. So he answered them in anger.
God help us.