“…Men always ought to pray and not lose heart.”
First, I’d like to mention that once again I heard something I needed at First Alliance yesterday: not that it was what I wanted to hear, but God doesn’t just whisper sweet nothings to us – thank goodness. The sermon was on Matthew 5:6, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. The pastor emphasized the importance of a healthy appetite, that it indicated life and health. He said that we have to have tasted righteousness to want more of it, because you can’t want something you’ve never had; most of all, though, he emphasized that when you fill up on other foods, you aren’t so hungry any more. Filling up on other things life offers – books, movies, TV, sex, friends, work, family, drinking, the list goes on – all reduce a person’s appetite for righteousness. When you’re hungry, you know food will satisfy it, but if you’ve eaten a bunch of cookies you won’t feel the need for real sustenance. Similarly, filling up on the world’s joys may seem satisfying but in the end they will leave you unfulfilled. This ties back to the non-food fasting: giving up those things that distract bring us closer to God by allowing the hunger He put into all of us to reassert itself. Once the hunger is reasserted then we will listen to the Father’s offer of true satisfaction with a keen ear and hungry heart. (He also mentioned that he loved “Jigglers.” Is this some East Coast thing I don’t know about, or is he referring to the Jell-O jigglers we ate with our fingers as kids?)
We’ve talked a lot about “same sex marriage” (can’t say “gay marriage” at Clark for fear of being misconstrued as homophobic or perhaps closed-minded) in Analytic Reasoning. This comes up because it’s such a hot topic right now numerous editorials – good, bad, and exceedingly ugly – have come up and since the whole class is focused on carefully thinking through such arguments, it’s the perfect topic. Should gay marriage be legalized? The arguments against it seem to run thus, generally: it should not be legalized because a) it’s against Christianity; b) gays can’t procreate and that’s what marriage is for; c) it would open a Pandora’s Box of other deviant types of marriage that couldn’t be stopped. The best argument I’ve seen is that in Massachusetts the Court shouldn’t have the power to override the Legislature, and since the Legislature is the one who legalizes marriage, the Court’s ruling should be overturned. Also it’s dangerous to give unelected officials so much power. This is something of a checks-and-balances argument; the other alright one is that we don’t know the effect on children who grow up with gay parents, so until there is more data it isn’t wise to let gays adopt children.
The arguments in favor generally run along the lines of this: why should a loving, stable couple be prevented from legalizing a union they already live daily? Those people are being denied their rights as well as the benefits of a marriage (tax breaks, ability to act on behalf of the other person legally, other positives that I forget), and that needs to be remedied by allowing them to legalize their commitment to each other. Also, in response to the argument regarding procreation many proponents of gay marriage point to numerous examples of heterosexual couples who, for one reason or another, do not exercise their alleged duty but were allowed to marry (and remain thus). The response to the question of parenting ability is addressed by pointing out that a stable, committed, homosexual family is superior to the many unstable and tenuous heterosexual families children are forced to live in. They say there’s no evidence that children are at all harmed by being raised with two mothers or two fathers; indeed, those children grow up perfectly normally (I haven’t heard of any actual studies supporting this point, as with many of the claims made on both sides of the debate).
What stand should the Christian take in this debate? Many of the anti-same sex marriage people are fundamentalist Christians who argue on the basis of America as a “Christian nation,” and the danger of subverting it as such. What I’m not clear on is this: how is allowing two people to legalize their union destroying anything? I cannot condone the act of homosexuality when the Bible – my ultimate source of morality, since it is God’s Word to us – condemns it. On the other hand, I have not encountered any arguments against gay marriage that has any depth. Most of those arguments make me ashamed to call myself a Christian, since they are generally made by the same people who you see on TV yelling and waving anti-gay posters in rallies. Those people aren’t expressing any Christian love; God called us to love all people, not to judge them since God Himself is the ultimate judge. People are so limited, we can’t possibly step out to judge another flawed human with any semblance of impartiality. Gay marriage – what does it hurt? Marriages between heterosexuals fail a dismal 50% of the time (or is it higher now?); maybe we heterosexuals could learn something from two people who are so committed that without the official bond, they choose to stay together for life. If these gays are going to act married, to live together, to adopt children, to make a home together, what’s wrong with also giving them the legal status? – Because as a Christian, that is being an “accomplice” in the act. In the end, homosexuality is wrong because the Bible tells us it is, but if a gay couple is going to live that lifestyle, why discriminate against them further by not admitting to them the rights of a married and stable family? While I cannot condone gay marriage as a Christian – since such a thing would also be condoning the act of being homosexual, and that is unavoidably wrong – I cannot see the value of Christians opposing it as illogically as they do. You can see that I offer no compelling argument against it that would appeal to any but one who shares my beliefs, but I’d like to close with this: it’s wrong. But so is gossip, slander, adultery, greed, lying, and a thousand things that Christians do every day. Next time you think about gay marriage, imagine having a crowd around you, waving signs and denying you rights because of that.
Bob the afternoon driver told me the tale of his three-weekend wooing of his wife. Three weekends he drove from Chicago to Massachusetts to see the girl, and on the fourth they married, remaining happily in that state 55 years later. What a wonderful story! Is there something about this day and age that prevents people from being able to do such a thing? Have we become so shallow and unwilling to commit that such a move – probably too hasty – would never survive? I imagine they have been through trials together but when they married divorce wasn’t the easy out it is now. Weathering trials is a skill too many people refuse to gain when they know there’s an easy escape from all trouble (but not really). Maybe it’s because our culture tells us “Go with the easiest way. Drive your car three blocks to the grocery store, buy toxic detergents to save elbow-grease, use styrofoam cups to save the trouble of washing, watch TV to get your news quickly, and certainly don’t let yourself be inconvenienced by others. Easy is good.” Easy is NOT good when easy means avoiding conflict in marriage through divorce. (As a side note, I’m not condoning avoiding conflict at all; usually in the end it’s better to go through the pain of disagreeing and working out than keeping unspoken grievances inside.)
– KF –
19 days to my husband.
[Modified 7:45 pm]