In the Fourth of July parade, I sat on a bale of straw at the back of the PFLAG float. (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) The parade route took us along Maumee Street up to Monument Park. I waved an American flag and threw out candy to children lining the street. I saw some of my parishioners along the route, and they saw me — a rainbow Christian.
I am rereading Dallas Willard’s book Knowing Christ Today. He was a philosophy professor at USC. He names four primary questions in life. Our answers to them determine our worldview, the fundamental way we see ourselves and live in the world.
1. What is reality? What is real?
2. Who is well-off or blessed?
3. Who is a truly good person?
4. How does one become a good person?
Dallas Willard loved Jesus with a deep passion, and from Jesus he gleaned answers to the four questions.
1. Reality is God and his kingdom. To base your life on anything else is unreal.
2. A blessed person is alive to God, interacting with God daily, and they are blessed regardless of their life circumstances.
3. A good person is pervaded by agape love.
4. To be a good person, you become an apprentice to Jesus and follow where he leads.
Sitting on a parade float decked out in rainbows, I was conscious of all the arguments about the rainbow, a symbol of gay rights. I wondered how others saw me sitting there. Has he found the true faith, or left it? The organizers of the parade welcomed our float. But the arguments about the rainbow remain. They are hard to resolve because they rise out of conflicting worldviews, out of different answers people give to the four questions, in this case especially the third question. A worldview is built so deeply into us that to change it is an unsettling thing.
I love the depth, simplicity, and faithfulness to Jesus in the four answers Dallas Willard gives above. They have helped me to find my way along in a complicated time.