I would hate for you to fall on your own sword and miss the point, but even knowing the truth of the Gospels it is impossible to fulfill them to perfection because we are after all human.
But since you mentioned the narrow gate, let us begin with God is love. That is a pretty simple expression on its face, yet like all things pertaining to God harder to fathom. If God is love then we are not. But we are called upon to imitate, so we strive as best we can to be love. Some of course love less because of understanding, some because of inclination and some out of whatever human deceit is firmly held in our hearts as truths. In short all men fall short of the glory of God. One would fully expect to find that failure in whatever church one attended, and which is so easily pointed out to all Christians, or for that matter all people of faith, by atheists and agnostics, whom God loves anyway. But they are very observant of the discrepancy between what we say, and what we say the Gospels say, which is their prerogative, and so Christ said let your good works so shine before men that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven. In short, if you want to talk, walk and talk, don’t just talk.
As for how and why others reach out to the world with their faith, is it not their right and duty to do so in a way which you or I may not approve? For are they not obligated to God more than you and me?
It is accepted by all of the Book that God made man in his own image, in his own image he made man and woman. And from the first two he intended to populate a world, yet first one and then many angels left their stations and corrupted mankind and when Jehovah had seen fit he removed them from the face of the Earth, but not when Noah had seen fit, or Methuselah had seen fit, or even as Seth may have seen fit, but on his own timing and at his own discretion. This should be a lesson to all of us that God will act when it suits him, not when it suits us for Him to do so. Or to paraphrase, he isn’t a servant to beckoned with the ringing of the bell on our sleeves. Hence the Scriptural injunction, “I will show a waiting attitude for my God,” probably applies to us today as much as to them then.
As Charles Pierce points out in what would normally be a hat tip, Baal is considered by many to be a name of a god, when in fact the term would be equally correct to apply to any being that would be construed to be god by those of us humans not in the know. ( clk clk) Of course I’m being a little facetious here, but indulge me, I love to smile and laugh. Yet I digress.
Back to the narrow gate, few are finding it so one must ponder what that gate is, and if you have indeed found it why aren’t you shouting it from the roof tops? Perhaps because it proverbial that wisdom doesn’t shout from the rooftops? You and I of course can be forgiven if we think a blog post can hardly be construed as a rooftop, but maybe Joel doesn’t think the Summit and television are rooftops either, and so it seems harsh to contemn someone for doing what I couldn’t do anyway. That’s why there were twelve Apostles too, I suppose, fourteen if you count Paul and Rufus, because not every one of them could be Peter, as Peter was confused enough at times with just one Peter, heaven knows what he would have done with eleven or thirteen more of himselves. Talk about being an indistinct son of thunder.
Anyway, that doesn’t mean that you and I should be confused about the meaning of gate and the meaning of path, and especially you being a lawyer and trained to change the meaning of words should take care not to do so when Scriptural concepts are involved, as you have raised in your post. It is true that Christ made people uncomfortable, usually his disciples, but more acutely religious teachers, preachers and judges, and so far I haven’t left you out of any of those callings, so I’ll leave it at four while you’re still ahead and I’m not in any trouble with the Boss. But I will ask you if you are so certain of your love of your enemies, as Christ taught us God is, for he makes the sun to rise on both the righteous nad unrighteous, and the rains to fall in their season on those who know Him and those who do not, for God is love.
Now getting back to creating mankind in his image, then, whether you are white, or black, or brown, of whatever race, of whatever clan, of whatever tribe, you were made in the image of God. Whether you are fat, or thin, or tall, or short, homosexual or heterosexual, you were made in the image of a Living God. Seems to me discretion is the better part of valor, or fools rush in where angels dare to tread, and being an imperfect human being, it is not in my purview to pass judgement on other imperfect human beings when God has given that judgement to Christ, and the Christ has not yet ruled on any of the many matters you have raised and that various denominations and individuals have also concluded and passed judgements on, to their own satisfactions.
Now as far as gay weddings go, if done with the sanction of the heart in a vow to God, then however I may feel about your personal behavior in your bedroom, I am certainly not that interested in that I assure you, all I can encourage you or anyone else married in union with the Christ to keep your vows. I do not see any great advantage to heterosexual misconduct than to homosexual misconduct. Of course as I have said I’m an imperfect human being and so I could be wrong. Therefore I only urge people to err on the side of caution.
That having been said,
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
If an Apostle could say such things about himself, then in truth I ask you, what are we to say for ourselves? For we know that in God’s arrangement of things, first there is the Christ, then there are the Apostles, and then there are the prophets, and then the gifts, and then you and me.
May the spirit of the Lord Christ Jesus be with you as you read this, may his love be with you, just as you show it.