Same-sex marriage

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fallout


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Fallout. Some intended, some not. Some you see coming, some you don’t. Some you think you’re ready for… only to discover you’re not as invincible or as invisible as you think.

I haven’t published anything of substance since March 22nds opening the Gay Marriage Can of Worms.

*sigh…*

 

That’s 6 months ago!

 

This is my 4th 5th – I’ve lost count – attempt to write a follow-up post.

I scrapped the “thesis” post, the “argue-louder-I’m-angry-you-called-me-those-names” post, and the “mailbag” post…

So I guess that leaves you with the “fallout” post.

 

What’s happened since then

Lots of people read it, it ended up in places I could never have imagined. I shut comments down, I received more emails in a couple of days than the blogs entire lifetime – some nice, many not. I had coffees & catch-ups. Gay marriage was made legal… my Facebook news feed read

Congratulations mps on passing your new bill now you have legalised gay marriage and prostitution what next pedofilla and rape?

and the world didn’t end.

I ambitiously set about responding to all those emails, had some great discussions before crawling into a hole & escaping to blog elsewhere for a bit. I went to Uganda.

Which brings me to the most surprising thing that happened.

I did a City-to-Surf run to raise funds for a mission trip to Uganda… someone asked for their money back.

Yep, that actually happened (& wasn’t the only weird bit of overreaction).

 

If these were the views I was espousing they didn’t feel morally they could support my trip. Never mind that homosexuality is illegal in Uganda… what’s interesting is I saw more guys holding hands (and held hands with several men) in Uganda than you’d see in NZ… you see it’s not a gay thing its a cultural thing.

Which leads to the conclusions we jump to, two guys holding hands in Uganda are friends, two guys holding hands in a western country are gay. Conclusions we jump to.

Several emails I received were about how provocative this pic at the end of the post was.

holding-hands

Two guys holding hands.

Except it isn’t.

I just googled “holding hands”.

It’s interesting what we see when we’re a little riled up. I got a little riled up, it’s why I initially delayed a response. It’s interesting the space we go to when we feel under siege, part of me wanted to hit back, part of me wanted to do the “mailbag” post & answer every question…

Instead I’ll leave you with a few ‘fallout’ observations & then the reason why I wont answer all those questions, comments, accusations…

The original post was just some thoughts on recurring discussions I was hearing. A lot was cut out, I could have written a book, but even I don’t read long posts. It was to provoke some thought, to (I hope) be permission giving for some, to even begin a discussion or heaven forbid… have thoughts.

 

 

The Bible – this could be another book 🙂

why the lack? There are many books dealing with biblical interpretation, bible times culture & homosexuality. Some arguments are stronger than others.

Ultimately we pick what we want.

Then justify our method.

If I’d included some text that’s all I would have been doing, and that’s the reason why I said, the “surrounding issues are close to many peoples hearts”, the surrounding issue being the Bible & how we read it, that’s what it really comes down to, that is the core issue. Not just in the gay debate, but everything… women leadership, abortion, evolution. Different crisis, same issue.

You’re asking me to read my Bible differently than my tradition has prescribed, and so I can’t go there. If I do, my faith is kicked out the door

– Tim Keller

Whatever side of the argument we’re on we make the bible jump through hoops and conform to the views we hold. Ultimately we make the Bible bow to words like “authority”, “inerrancy”, “narrative” & “myth”.

 

 

A human face

I finally put my name & photo on the author page. We interact with things differently when there is a face attached to it. It’s the same with the ‘gay’ issue’.

When we lack a ‘face’ we lack compassion, we say “love the sinner, not the sin”, and while we can love liars (after all, we’ve all lied), thieves (I’m guilty), druggies (we’re suckers for a good “Saul/Paul” story), pastors who’ve had affairs (so much temptation out there), our love for homosexuals extends as far as wanting nothing to do with you.

For many of us there is no real face to it, we can’t identify with the struggle, it’s media stereotypes and fear of that which is “other” to us.

If I preach love & can visit murderers in prison but can’t give a gay guy a hug, then my love rings hollow.

The face for me is, my gay neighbours & their adorable wee boy. The gay family I stayed with overseas. Friends I’ve studied with in High School & Bible College. Those I’ve cried alongside with in the church, because wrestling with your sexuality & faith in a place that is hostile is just brutal. I can see why many choose to quit on church, I get why most choose to remain silent, I consider it a privilege to have journeyed a little with those who didn’t.

 

 

Love & God on opposite sides?

This comment drew a lot of attention.

If when it’s all said & done,  and I stand before God & I’ve gotten this wrong, I know I will have erred on the side of Love, and that is something I can live with

I guess what I’m saying is that, in this moment I’ve made what I feel to be the right decision for me & my faith journey. But I recognise that 12 yrs ago I thought the world had to have been created in 7 days & it was dangerous to think otherwise, so things change. Ultimately I recognise my own shortcomings, I’m not perfect, and I’m not God.

 

 

why no ‘mailbag’ post

I don’t have all the answers, I’m still trying to figure stuff out.

I don’t think the topic of “how we interact with those who we see as other to us” is a question that should be answered, a box to be ticked, a solution filed away…

rather it is something we should always wrestle with, so I’ll leave it open…

wrestle, read, have conversations, think, pray…

because there will always be minorities.

 

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opening the Gay Marriage Can of Worms


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Gay-Marriage

As a Christian, as a follower of Jesus, as a human being, could I… would I vote for Gay Marriage…

Can of Worms – Once we open it, more than what we expect will come out.

In the past whenever the subject has come to the forefront I’ve kept quite on it, didn’t think it was my place to say anything, that I could add anything to the conversation…

or maybe realising if I did it would change things… not being willing to live with the repercussions.

 

I understand this subject & surrounding issues are close to many peoples hearts, so before your knee jerks I’d encourage you to read the Disclaimer, leave a comment, send an email pillscoffeeheresy@hotmail.com

… or say a prayer.

 

Why now? I guess of late I’ve been asked a lot, I’ve found myself in several conversations, I’ve found myself.

I guess of late I’m happy to wear the fallout.

By no means comprehensive, here are some thoughts on Gay Marriage, pros, cons, thoughts on cons, thoughts on thoughts… thoughts on the worms that crawl out of the Can.

 

My Cons list

I wouldn’t vote/support Gay Marriage because… If I did it would/may change various peoples relationships with me, may change the level of involvement I’m able to have  with various groups/organisations that I really enjoy working with…

may lead to my being labeled & boxed in, any contributions on any other subject ignored because of thoughts on this one…

may cause myself or people I care about to endure unnecessary harassment… may cause the trolls to come out from under the bridge.

 I’m selfish.

Really, when I think about it that’s the only con I have… selfishness. None of the other cons stack up for me… and selfishness, I don’t want that to be a part of me.

 

Thoughts on Cons

Gay Marriage will make a mockery of marriage – lets say it does, wouldn’t that just lead to a case of the pot calling the kettle, “black”. We have a few 1000-yrs head start on making a mockery of marriage, a divorce rate indistinguishable from those who don’t attend church, scandal after scandal that seem as dependable as the changing seasons.

I’m protecting the institution of marriage! – no you’re not, most likely you don’t like change (if the sanctity of marriage is a legitimate concern read the section below “marriage & marriage”).

gay_marriage

Seriously, read some sermons around the time of the civil rights movement, “if God had wanted the abomination of inter-racial marriage he wouldn’t have created the separate races”.

The Bible clearly states homosexuality is wrong – to be honest it’s not that clear to me… and that’s besides the point, let’s say you believe homosexuality to be wrong, choosing to oppose Gay Marriage won’t mean there are less homosexuals, just more who are angry with you. You can’t “law” people into the kingdom, you just create barriers & resentment.

In whatever context someone is in it should have salt & light, and love & hope breathed into it.

 

Thoughts on thoughts

It’s culture shaping Church & the Church should be shaping culture – look at slavery, look at civil rights, at women’s rights, women’s suffrage, child labor… there have been Christian leaders at the forefront of those movements and we claim them with pride. But we do so without realising that they were the minority voice within the church, that the majority of Christians were indifferent, apathetic or straight oppositional to those changes, that the church as a whole has never been an early adopter. That the reason it is so shaped by culture is that the majority is indistinguishable from culture. That the only time we seem to engage with culture is when we feel our position of comfort slip away – left longing for 1950’s white-middle class-America.

 

Thoughts

Humanity – On couple of occasions my life has been touched by suicide & back in the day this would have led to being buried upside down, discarded or in an unmarked grave. I have a friend whose mother is buried in a grave separate from the churches because she had a child out of marriage. We have a dark shameful history of treating people as less than human, as lives not worth remembering, or celebrating.

We do the same with marriage.

You’re allowed to & you’re not. You’re love is to be celebrated & yours shunned.

Less than human.

 

Marriage & Marriage

Have you ever watched two people have a conversation about what they believe is the same thing, but each is talking about something different? Simultaneous comedy & tragedy.

Marriage is the same.

There is the cultural understanding of marriage  – two people committing to each other, to love for life.

There is a biblical understanding of marriage –  of God being involved, of symbolism/embodiment/reflection of trinitarian relationship, of Jesus/church, of  promise/hope/Resurrection, echoes of Eden, of covenant…

these two ideas of marriage aren’t the same, you don’t unwittingly stumble into covenant…

A marriage between two friends male/female who don’t believe in God bears no implication of marriage in the biblical sense…

the same for a marriage between two males who don’t believe in God.

It doesn’t help matters that most Christians couldn’t tell you the difference, and it’s interesting we don’t protest our straight-atheist friends getting married, we celebrate with them.

The Church gave marriage over to culture a long time ago, there is no renaming or trying to reclaim it, but of understanding. Understanding that to a faith community marriage has deeper implications than our cultural understanding. Realising that cultural marriage isn’t an attack on that of faith or vice versa. That both are beautiful, have significance to their communities & are to be celebrated.

 

Judgement – If when it’s all said & done,  and I stand before God & I’ve gotten this wrong, I know I will have erred on the side of Love, and that is something I can live with.

 

 

Ultimately I can’t think of anything more beautiful than two people committing to each other, to love, to journey through life with…

that is cause for celebration, be they straight, gay, religious, coloured, rich or poor…

whether it’s a ceremony of commitment to each other or of covenant with God…

Love is to be celebrated.

holding-hands

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Atheists, Gays, Politics & other non-family friendly Christmas tales…


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I must be a bit of a Grinch for posting this on Christmas day…

so maybe you should read it tomorrow.

It just happens that everyone is napping off Christmas lunch and I have had spare moment to finish this off.

 

 

I’ve found myself much more interested in politics than years past, partly as a result of it being an Election year,… and on the way to casting my vote I learnt a few things.

1) For 3/4 of my christian friends, being christian meant I couldn’t vote Green, to suggest so would be met with  a shocked gasp.

2) For 1/4 of my christian friends, if I didn’t vote Green I clearly didn’t love God.

3) I’m not Family Friendly. It’s true. It came as shock to myself, but if you have a family it’s best you keep them away from me.

4) It now appears as if the best Christian advocate within parliament is an atheist.

This video has been bouncing all over the place this last week,  it’s worth the investment of time. Dr. Norman (co-leader of the Greens), not only seems to understand more about aspects of Christianity than most christians do, but spoke more on them than I recall any “christian” politician ever doing.

Well said.

And surprisingly “family friendly” for a non-family friendly MP/Party.

Which brings me back to the shocking discovery that I’m not family friendly.

Along with all the other political stuff posted by my dear friends on Facebook one chart interested me in particular. It was a chart comparing all the party’s views on certain issues & awarding them smiley faces :)if they were family friendly towards the issue…

I didn’t get many smiley faces 😦

Lets take Gay marriage for example, to oppose it would earn a smiley face, to be for it or ambivalent towards it would earn a sad face or frown. Now maybe I’m just naive or ignorant, but how is gay marriage detrimental to the family?

Clearly I am naive, as for others, both here & around the world gay marriage is a huge issue. Big enough to yell abuse & wave angry signs, big enough to march on parliament. Yet strangely if you drop the “marriage” & call it something else, even if it’s essentially the same, this is not worth protesting about.

Big enough, that judging by the christian reaction its far more important than say,

poverty, neglect or child abuse,

no one marches on parliament for these glaring issues within our society. In fact friends who struggle to raise funds for volunteer organisations which work with kids from backgrounds of abuse & neglect would probably be better served by promising to transform these kids into placard-waving-anti gay protesters.

Can’t we check our priorities over what the big issues are, over what really is a threat to the family? I struggle to see how a gay couple are  worse for families than domestic violence.

Of course it’s easier to be anti gay than actually do something positive for a stranger, a struggler, someone marginalised or minimalized.

 

So while I may not be family friendly, I’m glad my family is friendly & I get to spend some time with them these holidays, some time thinking about my priorities, what I value, what I should be valuing…

Some time being thankful for a God who intervened in history, one who does care greatly with how we treat each other & the world around us. Thanks Dr.Norman, great sermon speech.