Some (more) thoughts on marriage
I share with you the following article by Pastor Steve Shipman from a recent Lutheran publication.
“Recently the President of the United States announced that his views on gay marriage have ‘evolved.’ Now he believes that ‘same-sex couples should be able to get married.’ Mr. Obama claimed that his change of view was due in part from ‘prodding by friends who are gay and by conversations with his wife and daughters.’
“Polls and media report increasing support for same-sex marriage across society, especially among the under 30-somethings, and even among Republicans. ‘Republican voters, unlike most of the politicians vying for their support, largely support gay rights,’ wrote Log Cabin Republican David Lampo in a May 4th opinion article for the Washington Post entitled, ‘Stop pandering, Romney: The religious right may be anti-gay but GOP voters aren’t.’
“Yes, America is “‘evolving’ on this issue and Orthodox Christians would be wise to learn from these events. While news and entertainment outlets present gay marriage in a favorable light, they also portray those (of us) who oppose same-sex marriage as nasties. ‘Bigoted’ is the word my local newspaper used to describe us.
“But we can’t blame the media. We have failed to make our case for marriage, especially to the young. And while we seek to advocate biblical teachings about marriage in the public square, we ought to realize that our personal example in speech and action often contradicts our arguments.
“There are some people who may be in agreement with our opposition to same-sex marriage but are extremist and don’t help our cause by their example. According to a recent Facebook discussion, ‘Rush Limbaugh says gay marriage destroys families. His first, second, third, and fourth wives were not available for comment.’ Ouch!
“Nor is our case helped by preachers who advocated placing an electric fence around all the world’s gays and lesbians or the one who told parents to hit their effeminate boys to make them straight.
“No, the confessing Church needs to make a case for marriage as more than the definition pro-posed by those in favor of same-sex marriage.
“Many years ago, before the gay marriage issue came to the forefront, I enjoyed a lunch conversation with Jim Burtness, a now-sainted theologian who was solidly orthodox. He noted that if heterosexuals are permitted to do anything we want, it violates social justice to deny homosexuals (the language we used then) the same freedom.
“We need to make the case for the reasons marriage as a life-long union of a man and a woman is important, and why the sexual relationship is to be understood not simply as entertainment but as creating and exemplifying a sacred oneness that in some way bears the image of the Triune God’s Oneness. (Check out Genesis 1; the ‘image of God’ is the male and female, not the male alone).
God-intended sex is not giving expression to my urges or enjoying my body while hoping my partner enjoys theirs. It is about giving myself totally to another person, in a relationship that in a profound way models the eternal self-giving love of God.
“We have no case against gay marriage if our own attitudes and actions are self-centered and if we only use another person for our own pleasure. We have no case if we walk away from solemn vows before God and Christ’s Body because we think we have found somebody else who will make us happier. We have no case if as older adults we engage in sexual relationships apart from marriage, for financial or companionship reasons.
“There is something almost sacramental about God’s good gift of sexuality. The oneness of a man and a woman sharing their lives completely, including their bodies, is caught in Adam’s joyful cry (with many sexual overtones), ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!’
“As our Lord notes (Matt. 19:4-6), God created us male and female so we can enjoy this level of oneness. And those who by choice or chance are single also have a special vocation in which they can honor God’s good gift. Jesus, Paul, and Jeremiah served God in singleness, as have countless others, and our Lord speaks of singleness as a gift. In Heaven, our Lord tells us, there will be no marriage and giving in marriage, because our oneness will be perfected. (Matt. 22:30)
“Here on earth, let us strive to uphold God’s gift of marriage first of all by our own chastity, which means faithfulness in marriage and abstention in singleness. Yes, even we seniors who still influence the young need to watch our behavior!
“And in these divisive debates, we must be careful not to give credence to the portrayal of us as nasty and bigoted fanatics. No matter what government eventually decides, we Christians can live as the Bible teaches us. Our example may be a more effective argument than all the words we speak.”
Find Pastor Kollmeyer at www.princeofpeacefayette.com