picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

I am a Christian, so I support same-sex marriage.

on September 7, 2012

I am a Christian.

To me that means 2 things. First, it means that I believe in God. That doesn’t mean that I think there’s some old white man who looks like Santa sitting on a cloud shaking his finger at us. When I think of God, I always think back to The Secret Garden and Mrs. Sowerby’s description of “the big good thing,” something or someone that encourages goodness and gives us strength through troubled times. Second, it means that I try to live my live the way that Jesus taught, and that also boils down to 2 things (I don’t know; is there something about the number 2?): Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10: 27).

A very wise man, now gone from us, once preached a powerful sermon on the topic of the former commandment that has stuck with me. He spoke first about loving God with all your heart and soul, and said that that’s fairly self-explanatory. You let that love show in all that you do. You revel in that love, and you see God in everything and everyone around you and love them too.

He then spoke about loving God with all your mind, saying that that is the part that people often have trouble with. Using the example of evolution, he said that he had heard people talk about how believing in the concept of evolution is totally at odds with what the Bible says and is the “greatest danger the church has ever faced.” He paused for a moment and then said, essentially, that that was hogwash. If you love God with all your mind, you honour the mind that God has given you and you think with it. And if science, or society, has made new discoveries and come to new understandings about topics that the Bible, in its historical and geographical context, once described differently, you think about those concepts in relation to those new discoveries and understandings using your God-given brains, and you maybe realize that what the Bible says, outside of that historical and geographical context, doesn’t make sense. So in order to love God with all your mind, you recognize that God wants you to come to realization, that the times, they are a-changin’, and that your beliefs need to change along with them.

An extremely thoughtful and articulate young man, Matthew Vines, gave a sermon recently that has been now been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people and has been changing minds all over the world.

Watch the video here – it is an hour long, but well worth the time.

or

Read the transcript here, but a lot of the power is in Matthew’s presentation.

He makes a compelling argument that if you look at what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, taking into account historical and geographical context and nuances of language and translations, not only should the Bible not be seen as condemning same-sex relationships, but in fact that 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul says, “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” should be interpreted as encouraging marriage between two people of any gender who love each other. He also points out that Jesus himself has given us a litmus test to weed out false teachers and false teachings: In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit – therefore, good teachings will have good consequences and should certainly not lead to the destruction of human dignity and tearing down of self-esteem.

Very soon, my church will be embarking on a journey that I really hope will lead to a new understanding of how to love our neighbours. We will be making a decision about whether or not to change our marriage policy, which currently prohibits marriages between same-sex couples in our church building. The people at my church who wish to keep the policy as it stands do not consider themselves homophobic. Their understanding of the Bible is that it prohibits same-sex marriage, and they feel that they can accept and welcome gay people as neighbours and church members while still being true to their belief that the Bible dictates that marriage is between a man and a woman. I disagree — strongly — but I also have to acknowledge that for many of them, even coming to that point has been a journey in a positive direction. I just hope that over the next few months, with thoughtful discussion, they will come even farther on that journey and we will become a truly accepting and welcoming community.

To me this situation epitomizes the question of “What Would Jesus Do?” If two consenting adults are in love and wish to have God be a part of their marriage, would the Jesus who told his disciples to “Let the children come unto me,” really say, “Nope, not on my watch!”? I believe that my church could be a good tree, but right now the fruit we are bearing is a little hard and underripe. I hope that in the next few months we will plant some seeds that will flourish and grow and soon come to bear plump, juicy, satisfying and life-sustaining fruit.

~ karyn

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13 responses to “I am a Christian, so I support same-sex marriage.

  1. Lynn Mueller says:

    Thank you, Karyn!!! Well said!!

  2. Marilyn says:

    Your articulate writing is great to read! Keep the thoughts coming

  3. […] The committee to prepare for a congregational vote regarding the marriage policy, as described in a previous post) is hosting a lunch and discussion session this coming Sunday. Racked with guilt because I cannot […]

  4. stasisonline says:

    I agree that Matthew Vines presentation is compelling for many. But I have found it far less compelling in light of the critiques of it that have sprung up around the internet in response. In fact, in light of those, I found the presentation one-sided and misleading.

    What would Jesus do about the question of gay marriage? I suggest that if lawmakers asked him, he would say “thanks for asking, but civil laws are not my concern.” If a pastor asked him, he would say, “have you not read Matthew chapter 19?” Christian marriage is about following the pattern of Adam and Eve to bring together man and woman into one flesh. Civil law may bring together members of the same gender, but only opposite genders can become the one flesh that is Christian marriage.

    • picklesink says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment! I must disagree with you though – I find Matthew Vines’ words no less compelling in light of the critiques. I believe that the strength of his message is that he provides fresh insight in the Bible passages commonly seen as applying to same-sex relationships that is in line with what Christians like me feel in our hearts about human rights and marriage equality in this day and age. Conversely, I see the critiques as repeating the historical interpretations of those passages without providing anything new. Simply put, the critics are saying, “You haven’t changed my mind,” but the beauty of the video to me is that so many other people are responding with, “You’ve opened my eyes – thank you!”

      • stasisonline says:

        The sense of having your eyes opened is a good feeling, yes I agree. That’s how I felt when I reviewed critiques of the presentation. For example in the presentation, Vines says that Matthew chapter 7 is about determining false teachings. But then when you look into it, you find that it specifically is about determining false prophets, and that the interpretation given in the video wouldnt make sense if you were to apply it more broadly. And again I felt like my eyes were opened when I found that although the presentation kinda basically off the Greek word ‘arsenokoites’, additional information not included in the presentation, links it with passages in Leviticus, making it’s meaning much clearer. Did you not feel let down that Vines didnt include those insights to present a balanced picture?

        Certainly there are good aspects to his research, but I suppose I should point out that even he does not claim that he brings fresh insight. An article here
        http://www.kansas.com/2012/05/19/2341482/gay-christians-video-draws-praise.html
        states that “Vines acknowledges that he used scholarship done by others and that his arguments don’t break new ground. That wasn’t his goal.”

        I think this issue raises the question of what defines a Christian. Is a Christian someone who goes with what their heart feels is right, or is it someone who follows what Christ taught? Christ loved everybody including gays, but he taught that Christian marriage was between a man and a woman.

  5. stasisonline says:

    Opps, I meant to write “…Although the presentation basically wrote off the Greek word ‘arsenokoites’ as ambiguous, additional information not included in the presentation links it with passages in Leviticus …”

    • picklesink says:

      Thanks for the clarification – replying to your comment as a whole: I agree that the issue raises the question of what defines a Christian. First, as I discussed in my original post, Christ taught that the most important commandment, above all else, was to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Luke 10). I believe that blindly following what the Bible says, after multiple translations, and willfully ignoring historical context, is not loving God with all of your mind. Second, you are incorrect about what Christ taught. Jesus never taught about Christian anything – when Jesus was alive, there was no such thing as Christianity; how could he possibly have defined “Christian marriage” when such a thing did not exist? Thank you for reading my blog – I’m afraid we will have to agree and disagree on the subject of marriage equality.

      • stasisonline says:

        Yes we agree on some things and disagree on others. I agree for example that interpreting the Bible while wilfully ignoring its historical context, is not loving God with all of your mind. But if historical context is important to you, why does your post only cite Matthew Vines on this issue? He claims that that homosexual relations in Jesus time and culture, were just considered to be “excess lust”. Such a claim flies in the face of the records from Flavious Josephus and others, and is therefore an unbalanced account of the historical context.

        I encourage you to consider your logic. You have quoted from the Bible (Luke 10) to argue that the Bible is not a reliable source. But if it’s not a reliable source, then surely it’s questionable to affirmingly use it’s own reasoning as substantiation for that argument? If Luke 10 is a good basis for making an argument, then presumably 2 Tim. 3:16 is equally a good basis for making the case for the opposite; ie that the Bible is a reliable source. But if the Bible is not a reliable source, what basis do you have for your Christianity? Is it just what you feel in your heart? If so, wouldnt it be more accurate to call your religion by a different name, perhaps ‘heartianity’ rather than ‘christianity’, since it’s your heart you are following rather than Christ?

        Yes alas, I think our discussion has devolved. You will probably think my suggestion of calling your religion ‘heartianity’, to be silliness. I acknowledge that such a name does sound odd, although I do actually think it would have a more accurate etymology, would it not? But I also think it’s silly to claim that “when Jesus was alive, there was no such thing as Christianity”. Im quite happy to accept that the term probably didnt exist – for a start they were not speaking English. But the contemporary understanding of the term ‘Christianity’ is that it refers primarily to the ideology attributed to Jesus Christ. The first disciples were following that ideology about how to live according to Jesus’ principles; ie according to what we now call Christian principles. So yes, I suggest most would say that ‘Christianity’ did exist in Jesus’ time. And the Bible portrays those Christian principles as including marriage being between male and female and not between members of the same gender. Historical records generally confirm such a position being practised by committed Christian communities ever since then.

        I hope I dont sound harsh, but I do encourage you to think through and perhaps research your position further.

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