gay marriage

The Hidden Blessing in the Gay Marriage Movement

Let’s get this clear.  I believe as the Church fathers and the scriptures teach that homosexuality is a sin.  It is no more vile than any other sin, including fornication which no one bats an eye at these days.  Marriage is the sacramental union ordained by God between one man and one woman as described in the Adam and Eve story.  This sacred union imitates that of Jesus Christ with his bride, the Church. Technically, it is to be performed in the Church.  Both the man and woman are to be devout Christians and active in the Church.  The members of the congregation and the families are to provide whatever food, decorations, and whatever else is needed for the reception.  Thus, a wedding, when taken as a holy sacrament is not a business opportunity for florist, caterers, and photographers.  It is far deeper than a mere social event for family and friends.  And while it may be good for the state to record who lives together as a married couple, it is more than a legal contract.  A Christian wedding ceremony and reception is a celebration within the body of Christ.  With this in mind, I think the gay marriage movement may not be the worst thing in the world for Christianity.  In fact, it may be a blessing in disguise.

Bring back the crowns and what they mean.

As a result of modernism and money, Christians (even too many Orthodox) have relaxed their views and standards of marriage.  A sacrament that was once done in the church is now performed in mountain lodges, back yards, beaches, bowling alleys, or wherever the couple think the “mood” is right.  This act of holiness once done by pastors and higher clerics is done by local magistrates and anyone with a “certificate” including Elvis impersonators.  The event is planned by a professional coordinator working alongside professionals from the photographer to the limo service.  In some cases, the couple doesn’t even have to belong to the church they get married in or know the pastor that will perform the service (let alone agree to have pre-marital counseling) as some churches and clergy rent themselves out to whomever wants to wed.  Thus, heterosexual marriage and weddings have too often become mere productions and social gatherings celebrating love and a legal contract rather than the holy sacrament that Jesus and Paul held in honor.  Homosexuals have every right to demand that they can demand to have such celebrations as we heterosexuals do.  Rather than to try to pass laws against the inevitable, I believe we Christians should respond in a better way.

Pastors and congregations need to re-teach the sacramental nature of marriage and the communal nature of the Wedding  celebration within the body of Christ.  There is no point in a straight engaged couple shouting against a gay engaged or married couple when they are having sex before marriage and not repenting of it and confessing it before God.  The homosexuals are not in your bed, you and your future spouse are and you shouldn’t be yet.  Get the log out of your eye before worrying about the specks in someone else’s.  Pastors and other clergy need to put the holiness of the sacrament before the dollar signs. If the prospective couple are not members of some other congregation, they should either become members of yours, or have their pastor marry them.  You bear the responsibility for proclaiming salvation through the Gospel and taking care of people’s spiritual needs.  Blindly performing a ceremony without directing  the future bride and groom to some sort of spiritual accountability and preparation is dereliction of duty.  Friends, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ; you love this couple and you trust their taste buds and stomachs to strangers?  Really?  And does God concerned that the images of your special day was done with 60 megapixels?  Uncle Bob may have put part of his thumb over the lens of his smart phone.  But, he is the uncle that showed you how to make that soft ball pitch and knew how to solve that Algebra equation that you struggled with.  There are horror stories of Christian businesses being forced out of lucrative wedding gigs because some gay or lesbian couple is suing them for not providing services for their wedding.  But, is holy matrimony to be a celebration of divine love, or a pursuit of lucre and profit?

In the presence of God and these witnesses

No, I don’t support homosexual marriage at all.  It is a shame that good Christian business people have to choose between their faith and their bottom lines.  But, the blessing in disguise is that we Christians can take a hard look at ourselves and bring back our marriages and weddings to what they are supposed to be.

Gay Marriage & Christian Opposition: How About A Truce?

 

Though I don’t support gay marriage, I could really care less about it – for the most part.  I consider heterosexual adultery and fornication a greater threat to the blessed union of male and female than any man & man or woman & woman relationship.  I don’t have to go into anyone’s bedroom but my own.  I have my own sins to repent for and salvation to work out.  As long as a person is providing me a service or a co-worker is doing as they should, it is not my business who he or she is having sex with.  Modern America has turned this holy sacrament of the church into a contract that could be officiated by a midget Elvis impersonator at a drive-thru “wedding chapel” in Las Vegas.   American capitalism has turned what was a holy celebration into just another business opportunity.  Marriage in America need only be emotionally based commerce with a civil certificate.  So, it makes sense that homosexual couples should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals.

But, here is where I draw a line.  I do not believe people of faith should be forced to provide services for such marriages.  Many practicing Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians (as well as Jews, Muslims, and other people of other religions) believe whole heartedly that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  Suing people who refuse to photograph, cater, host, officiate, and provide other services to a practice that is clearly sinful according to their religion is wrong. 

A gay marriage is not the same as an interracial marriage.  The New Testament and the Early Church Fathers never forbade a Slavic Christian to wed an Ethiopian Christian.  Christians were to avoid being married to non-believers.  In cases where one spouse was a Christian and the other was not, the Apostle Paul permitted such couples to remain intact if the non-believer tolerated the faith of the spouse.  At no time did any jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church accept two men or two women to wed.  Although America’s racist past corrupted the Catholic and Protestant churches to forbid people marrying outside of their race, Christians today (mostly) accept mixed race couples.  Neither pope nor reformer ever considered the practice of homosexual marriage, much less that it would be equal to a heterosexual one. 

Being gay is not the same thing as being a minority.  If I were in a line with 99 gay black men and we were all wearing black suits and white ties, it would be nearly impossible to tell who the homosexual was.  But, dress me like and line me up with 99 white men and try to find the African-American and see how difficult that is.   So, by religion and sight, Christians are justified in refusing to participate in gay marriages.  Furthermore, Jesus Himself defines marriage to be between one man and one woman as he quotes the Creation narrative in Genesis.  The Apostle Paul declares that homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, liars, and murders will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  We believe being gay is a sin.  Gay marriage is therefore unthinkable for us.  Therefore, we have a right not to provide services to such marriage ceremonies. 

Rather than pick fights for punitive lawsuits, I believe the LGBT community should consider a truce with Christians on the practice of gay marriage.  For those who reject it, we may as well accept the fact that such marriages will be the law of the land.  We need not be bitter or hateful toward gays & lesbians as we refuse to offer them services for their ceremonies and receptions.  Give them a list of similar quality caterers, photographers, venues, and officiates that will be glad to serve them.  But, to the supporters of gay marriage, why not boycott those businesses and people who do not support these events?  During the Civil Rights Movement, when we African-Americans simply spent our money where we were treated fairly, a lot of racist businesses fell by the wayside.  By dragging Christians to court and winning outrageous lawsuits, you are only turning your opponents into martyrs as no one wants to be told by big business or (especially) big government what to do and how to live.  You are only contributing to the already polarized social political atmosphere as you are being vengeful.  That does not help your cause.

We Christians cannot win the fight against the rising tide of the acceptability of gay marriage.  Nor will gays ever convince us to change our belief in what we know is the truth.  Let us disagree without being disagreeable.  

Over-sexuality: How Orthodoxy Can Better Address the Real Problem

I think the Orthodox Church is making an awful mistake in its approach to abortion and same-sex marriages.  Of course, the ancient faith correctly stands against these sins based on the holy scriptures and the writings of the early fathers.  But, I have heard and seen several clerics and podcasters overlook the root cause of these evils and not promote the church’s best tools to fight against it. 

America is an over-sexual nation.  Boys start looking at porn as young as 8 years old.  In some cities, eleven year old girls have their first sexual encounters.  Even in our prime-time TV shows and other non-pornographic media, we are fed a diet of pursuing erotic gratification by any means necessary and legal.  We are taught that making love is the pinnacle of the human experience.  With such propaganda being such a part of our lives, unwanted pregnancies are going to happen.  Those attracted to the same-sex will seek social acceptability and flaunt their activity. 

The way to kill a weed is to kill the root.  Not the leaves nor flowers which can regenerate.  But, when the root is killed, the weed is killed.  When the root is weakened, the weed loses its vigor.  Thus to weaken and eliminate abortion and the gay marriage push,  Christianity must promote the fact that the pinnacle of human experience is union with God.  All other achievements and experiences are secondary and temporal.  In order for us to be eternal, we must seek the experience that is eternal.  When Americans understand and accept this truth, couples will reconsider how frequently they have intercourse.  Hetero as well as homosexuals will rethink their activity and better strive to put their will in God’s.

Anyone who fast according to Orthodox tradition gives up sexual activity as well as meat and dairy.  Thus, a married Orthodox couple permits themselves to make love only half a year.  Combine this with a woman’s regular cycle and time and energy spent in prayer disciplines and  other pursuits, married sex (as pleasurable as it is) does not mean quite as much as popular media promotes it.  Also, Orthodoxy offers the option of giving up one’s self to the monastic lifestyle.  People are free to devote themselves to celibacy and prayer.  This is a truly rebellious existance against the world of Sports Illustrated models and “pride” parades.  Orthodoxy has the tools of fasting and monasticism to attack the very root of abortion, gay marriage, and nearly every other toxic leaf and flower of our over sexed society.

But, too often, Orthodoxy clergy and laity settle for attacking leaves and flowers rather than the root.  There is nothing wrong with bishops marching for life.  But, why not have a march for celibacy as well?  There are atheist and secular voices who feel that too many people are thoughtlessly entering into sexual relationships and would like to see an option.  With over 2,000 years worth of holy men and women, I am certain that the clergy can find some common ground with these people as well as Catholics and Protestants.  Of course we should speak out against gay marriage.  But, the protection of our children from unnecessary sexual imagery and contact ought to be of greater concern.  I would dare say that most homosexual organizations are against the exploitation of children and would rather have gay teens pursuing academics, arts, and athletics rather than sexual activity.  Why not talk with the more sober-minded among this community?  As long as Orthodox leaders speak the same language as Catholics and Evangelical Protestants, the ancient faith will be seen as just another denomination of “hateful Christians.”   But if the Church has dialogue with the “pro-life” and “pro-equality” movements and offers God’s alternative, some of them may be led to Orthodoxy.  They will, at least, have more respect for your perspective. 

So to you bishops, priest,  scholars, and other Orthodox personalities (hello Ancient Faith Radio and OCN podcasters); use the tools of the great church you belong to.  It is because of your deep resources that some Protestants became attracted to Orthodoxy.

Here a Chick-Fil-A, There a Chick-Fil-A: Dormition Day One

So, I can be an idealist trying to make a better and fair world for everyone by boycotting a said fast food restaurant because it’s president told a religious magazine that he believes marriage should only be between heterosexuals.  Or, I can be a defender of the biblical principles and the first amendment by eating at a said fast food restaurant because it’s president told a religious magazine that he believes marriage should only be between heterosexuals.  I couldn’t have made up such silliness if I tried.

Firstly, I think the LGB&T community (it’s most radical elements, perhaps I should say) have picked a foolish fight.  Nowhere in Chick-Fil-A’s corporate policy nor general operations do they check the sexual preference status of potential customers or employees.  If this were the case, than legal argument can be presented.  But, the president of a company has every right to express his religious beliefs in a religious magazine.  It seems that you are showing the same sort of intolerance you want to defeat.  Hypocrisy only defeats your cause.

And to the conservative minded, I can’t help but to wonder where were your “Defend Freedom of Speech” voices when the Dixe Chicks were being boycotted and Rev. Jeremiah Wright was being cursed for his cursing.  Somewhere between 60% to 65% of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce.  Is this the result of LGB&T bullying, or that we are disobedient to the biblical principles that promote lasting unions between men and women?   Somehow, I don’t think eating fast food in the name of freedom will make these statistics any better.

There is a good reason why we should consider taking up the Fast of the Dormition.  That for the next 14 days we stop trying to have things our way and submit ourselves to God’s will.  That we sacrifice our pleasures and seek his purpose in our lives instead.  It will take more than two weeks of veganism to heal the social-political rift in our nation.  But, the Dormition is a good time for us to take a breath and think about something more important.  Putting aside sensual desire to bear something greater than one’s self.  Yielding to the will and Spirit of God even when it moves beyond one’s  expectations.  Mary did these things.

It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God.  More honorable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word.  True Theotokos, we magnify you.

Benediction of the Morning and Evening Prayer, The Orthodox Study  Bible

Straighten Out Straight Marriage

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man

Genesis 2:22

Like anyone should be surprised that a liberal president would be in favor of a liberal cause.  I was more surprised about people being surprised.  I am also aware that our heterosexual marriages aren’t much to crow about these days.  Scripture and two thousand years of church teaching stands against homosexuality.  These things also tell us “straight” people that we need a healthier look at our relationships.

STRAIGHTEN OUT STRAIGHT MARRIAGE

Genesis 2:18-25

Introduction

  • Mr. Obama’s Biblical reference does not apply to gay marriage

Antithesis

  • Protestant doctrine has assisted in the ruin of heterosexual marriage
  • Capitalism has assisted in the ruin of heterosexual marriage

Propositional statement

  • Rather than be upset with gay marriage, we need to heed the story of creation to revive the best of our traditional marriages

Points

  • We should concentrate on the work God gave us and let him present us with the person we should have (v. 15, 18)
  • We should accept the person God has for us for who he or she is (v. 23)
  • We should be and create a bond where we are safe to be open and honest with each other (v.25)

It is not enough for us to say that heterosexual monogamy is God’s will.  We must seek God in our marriages to make them so.

Getting Our Act Together

The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.

Isaiah 52:5, Ezekiel 36:22, Romans 2:24

I believe President Obama is wrong in his support for gay marriage.  Jesus Christ taught the same standard for marriage as found in Genesis 2:21-24 when he answered the Pharisees about divorce in Matthew 19:1-9.  Male and female … For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh.  For homosexuals to choose a life partner and be granted a legal recognition by a civil authority may be suitable for this world.  But, homosexuality is a sin.  Thus, Holy matrimony for a gay or lesbian couple is not possible according to the Bible and Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant tradition.

With that said, we heterosexuals have a hell of a lot to answer for.  If we fear that gay marriage will make a mockery of the traditional family, I recommend that we take a hard look at the way we corrupt monogamy degrade sex on a regular basis.  The Chris Miller/Kim Kardashian “marriage” comes to my mind rather quickly.  Oh, it was a heterosexual union.  But, how serious was it?  Did they marry with a true spiritual bond with each other and committed hearts to withstand good and bad times together?  Or was it a sham based on their egos, sensual pleasure, and making a profit from a celebrity gossip hungry media?  If our nation can accept this perversion of holy matrimony, then two men or two women with a committed bond with one another getting married is not a far stretch.

In the liturgical church traditions; a sermon on the seriousness, love, and committment is a part of the wedding ceremony.  How many of us had a sermon at our wedding?  Weddings have become an industry from high fashion magazines, to professional planners and photographers (and photographers get paid far more than the minister who officiates the service and signs the legal documents).  These ceremonies used to take place exclusively in the bride’s or groom’s church.  At least in the home or on land owned by one of the families.  Today, anyone can go to Las Vegas and have Elvis as the minister backed up by a punk rock band, or just go through the drive thru chapel.  Or, one can spend thousands on one of those story-book weddings which may seem impressive enough to hide the fact that neither the bride nor groom are committed to life long monogamy.  And after the divorce, the bride or groom swears to have a bigger and better wedding than the first one.  If we heterosexuals participate in such shallow marketing of what was a blessed and honorable institution, why should homosexuals be denied the privilege?

And isn’t it strange how the language of sex is used as an insult to manhood?  Think of the particular word for intercourse is a curse word as is the slang term for the female genitals.  With the easy access to hardcore pornography and the general acceptance of softcore nudes and semi nudes in sexually charged situations, what was once to be done naked and unashamed has become an act of ridicule and recreational pleasure.  In fact, the sheer brutality women go through in today’s porn and the rate of sexual abuse against girls has brought the value of the female body in this society to an all-time low.  Should I be upset when two men want to commit to a union where they are unlikely to contribute further to this abuse?  Should I be angry when two women, who most likely suffered sexual abuse at the hands of men, seek solace in a marital bond with each other?

Chances are no one is going to vote for or against the president on this issue alone.  Therefore, I see little value of having a too strong of an opinion about gay marriage one way or the other (although I know where I stand).  We heterosexuals have done far more damage to holy matrimony than one man’s words.  Unless we are serious about cleaning up the mess we made, we look rather foolish trying to put limitations on someone else.

… and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Matthew 7:2