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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drawing the Line: Marriage 1

Okay, I will start with the most volatile and explosvie topic first. I have no control over you, dear reader, but I would appreciate you actually reading what I say before you respond. Peace on us all from Jesus.

When asked, "Do you believe homosexuals should be allowed to marry?," my response has always been, "yes, I thought they were not interested in marriage." What does that mean?

Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman before God. By definition, homosexuals are not interested in this sort of covenant with someone of the opposite sex. Therefore, they are not interested in marriage. I do not say this out of judgment or hate. It is a definition of terms. The word marriage has a meaning content. Man and woman together are the content.

What then of blessing same sex unions? My response is I am not authorized (by God) to do such a thing. What is the basis for saying this? The Scriptures are pretty clear. Some argue that the Scriptures are not clear at all (Church teaching is not all confused in this reading of scripture). Some argue the Scriptures are outdated or in error (which leaves authoritybeing the contemporary world view which is clearly not inerrant, and up to date changes every six months?). Some say that God is love and so could never be disappointed when people are in love (which raises all sorts of problems: start with the concept of fornication, move to adultery, then consider incest).

In many churches today, the discussions about this question has led to the formulation of new liturgies. It is a done deal. People advocating them sometimes sound very humble, but in the end they are implementing the services. Right now we are told that they are optional. The church powers will put up with those of us not willing to go along. They say our church in "a big tent" and we can "include" different opinions. At some point, the plan is to force it. So it is tempting to get angry and fight. It is tempting to name call and project any number of negative thoughts on those with whom I disagree. I have succombed to the temptation on many occassions. It is hard to be nice and respectful in emotionally charged fights. It is difficult to go into combat yet love your neighbor as yourself.

On the other hand, I have had a history which makes this theological issue a challenge for me personally. In my high school work I have counseled with young people who thought they were homosexual. I have seen several who have self-identified as such. These are people who are precious to me. In addition, some high school friends have reappeared in my life (Facebook). Some of them are also self identified in this way. This is a personal issue. My nature is to "live and let live" so I wonder, can't we just let this one slide? There was a time when I intervened to stop a "gay bashing" incidents at school. I did it because it is wrong to harm someone because they are different. I have intervened with a parent to love his gay son, because it is his son. There are other memories which I shall not share, but they are all real events and real people.

At our diocese's recent convention a lesbian shared her journey with us. I was impressed by her courage. I think it was really hard for her. I sent her a message to express that to her. My reputation in the GLBT community of our church is probably not positive. I think people were shocked that I could be so "gracious." Yet, part of the reason I could see her unease was because I felt my own. I am terribly uncomfortable with the direction our local church is going. I know that in the days ahead it will get worse. I know that failing to support "gay marriage" is equated with the Taliban in the minds of many Progressives. Being kind to this woman does not change any of that.

So where to draw the line? Do I simply say she is going to hell, when I cannot simply believe that? On the other hand, do I deserve to be under threat because I would not be willing to bless her relationship? Is having compassion for another human being what Jesus called us to? Can I share the truth with others and yet be in relationship with them when we disagree? Enough for today. I think these are hard questions. Tomorrow I want to wrap up this issue and move on.


  1. I love you and i respect you but we are on compleatly diferent sides of this . I want to ask you if one of your children were gay would you not want them to be able to have a loving life long relationship with a partner i have sean the UGLY side when familey shuts out life partners on death beds its heart breaking i dont care what they call it but two gay people should have the ability to care for each other

  2. Thanks for your affection and respect.
    I am seeking the truth here. To be honest, the status of my children is immaterial to what is truth. In fact, if my children are gay and I support gay marriage because of that, then you would have every reason to believe that I am trying to justify rather than trying to find the truth.
    I have heard about the horrors of the death bed issue. I do not doubt that it has happened. It is sad and awful. I still do not see why that means we need to change the institution of marriage. Legally a gay couple can declare who they want in the room when they die and who they want excluded.
    In the end, one question you have to face is are you willing to see me and others like me pressured, punished and otherwise injured because we want to submit to the authority of God as expressed in Scripture and the Church's Tradtional teaching?

  3. I have a step-daughter who is in an active same-sex relationship so I suppose that "qualifies" me to answer John's question.

    We love her dearly and she (and her girlfriend) are active in our lives and we in theirs. They know where we stand in our beliefs and we know where they stand in theirs. We don't engage in trying to change the other's minds and we have perimeters set in place that we all abide by.

    Is it tough? Absolutely. Is it ideal? Absolutely not. Does it work? Very well. So that's how we "manage" to balance standing firm in what we believe is right and true while allowing the same gift of free will to others that God grants us.