This is my contribution to another timely synchroblog. The invitation read:
For more than a decade, the issue of same-sex marriage has been a hot button issue; resulting in legislation, lawsuits and ballot initiatives attempting to either legalize or ban the practice. Division among religious groups have also resulted over the decision to recognize same-sex marriage or condemn it.It's amazing how fast things change. I realize it has not been fast enough - I have the luxury that none of my own skin is in this game (as with many other games, like the women's movement, and the fight for racial equality). But I remember the local political fight in Oregon, back in the early '90s. I’ve told this story before: when I was 12 or 13 my parents were card-carrying members of the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance (OCA), a radical conservative Christian group focused on “No Special Rights” for homosexuals.
Wanting to be a dutiful young Republican (and Evangelical) I strapped on my pink-and-white roller blades (the most heterosexual mode of transportation available to me) one Saturday and skated house-to-house, knocking on doors and delivering anti-gay-marriage literature. The forces of darkness and liberalism trembled in my wake!
A lot has changed in me. During the last decade, I have wrestled with the issue of homosexuality. I wanted to be loving and gracious without giving up my literal reading of Scripture. I wanted to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” I tried for a long time, changing my language, getting wishy-washy… I even went through a stage of calling myself a “Conscientious Objector” – not to homosexuality, but to the very question of homosexuality. I thought that I could extract myself from the debate, love people on both sides, and avoid taking a personal stance for the same reason countless pacifist Christians refused to go to Vietnam: the war was not worth the cost.
But maybe there are some fights worth having…
In the last couple of years, two of my closest friends have come out – both of them Christian. Suddenly, it wasn't a distant “them” I was talking about. They were now us. These are my friends. They are a part of me. So I'm going to advocate on their behalf, not just to the world around me, but to God. I want to make sure God knows that I have grace for them, because in Matthew 16:19 Jesus says, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
God, are you getting this? You've got promises to keep, because if we have the keys, we are given power as instruments of YOUR blessing and YOUR grace. We are the Body of Christ. Will we bless, or curse? Will we bind, or free? If Jesus is telling the truth, then I choose to LOOSE my friends and neighbors in heaven AND on earth. God, I just want to make sure you hear me weigh in on this, because I think it matters to you.
Liberal as I may be, I'm no modernist. I see little that is absolute beyond love (exemplified in Christ) and the inherent virtue of the fruits of the Spirit. So as a passionate but wishy-washy postmodernist, I have to acknowledge that I believe there is sin and virtue in all sorts of contradictions, paradoxes and shades of gray. Another one of my close friends leads a ministry for people with "unwanted same sex attraction." I love him, he is not the enemy of equality, respect or reconciliation. His is humble, personal spiritual conviction, and I honor that.
Now, I could take a side there, but which friends to I choose? Flip a coin? I believe our relationships with God are personal and existential - and sexuality in particular is far too complicated to reduce to the hanging chad on another ballot measure. So I affirm all of my friends who are seeking Christ in humility and reverence. I refuse to condemn, and most importantly, I refuse to pronounce my messy, imperfect judgment. Yes, I'll take a side when it comes down to supporting and empowering the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the abused - "the least of these." I support same sex marriage, LGBT integration and queer ordination in our churches. But I also pray that those churches that will not bend or redefine their theological stances will learn the grace to engage and affirm the Christianity - the shared spirit - the shared humanity - of those of us who have chosen a different way. And for those of us on the liberal end: I pray we find a constructive way to love and engage our conservative sisters and brothers without demanding ideological homogeny.
But demand equality in society? Absolutely. We must demand this. Join me in supporting same sex marriage.
"If you knew what these words meant, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent."
- Jesus Christ
As submissions to this Synchroblog come in, they'll be listed here:
- Kathy Baldock at Canyonwalker Connections -Marriage "I Do" For Who
- Dan Brennan at Faith Dance -Sexual Difference, Marriage and Friendship
- Steve Hayes at Khanya -Same Sex Marriage Synchroblog
- Sonja Andrews at Calacirian -In Defense Of Marriage
- John C O'Keefe -Exactly What Is Gay Marriage
- Liz Dyer at Grace Rules -Nobody knows why or how same-sex marriage is harmful
- Herman Groenewald at Along The Way -Same Sex Debate
- Margaret Boelman at Minnowspeaks -What Have We Done
- David Henson at unorthodoxology -ban marriage
- Erin Word at Mapless -Synchroblog: Legalizing Same Sex Marriage
- Joshua Jinno at Antechurch -The Church Is Impotent
- Kathy Escobar at The Carnival In My Head -It's Easy To Be Against Equal Rights When We Have Them
- Peter Walker at Emerging Christian -Synchroblog - Same Sex Marriage
- K. W. Leslie at The Evening of Kent -Mountains, Molehills and Same-Sex Marriage
- Tia Lynn at Abandon Image -Conservative Christians and Same-Sex Marriage