February 11, 2006

"Traditions of Man"

One of the most common arguements offered by those who oppose the idea of same-sex marriages is the need to uphold "traditional marriage," that between only a man and a woman.

Here is a passage of scripture to consider the next time you hear that arguement:

Mark 7:8-9 (NIV)-Jesus speaking: "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions."

This response to Jesus was in response to the Pharisees asking Him why he ate food with "unclean hands." I think it is applicable to the issue of same-sex marriage. Certainly, it is traditional for a man and woman to marry, and I'm all in favor of that. After all, I've done that myself and it's work well for me. However, when tradition gets in the way of God's message, it needs to be ammended or abolished.

Traditions can be a good thing, a way of keeping continuity in society, but they can also be an obstacle to growth.

No one I know of is suggesting men and women no longer be allowed to marry. There is a battle being fought by GLBT people to make that tradition more inclusive, and I'm trying to help in any small way I can. The laws and policies of marriage are not clearly defined in black and white, other than the part about not getting divorced (and we know how that's worked out).

God will honor any relationship that He is a part of. If two GLBT christians want to spend the rest of their lives together serving God, how will He not bless that? How can we expect those who place restrictions on them to fulfill their own agenda and not His to not be held accountable by Him?

Think about that the next time you hear someone talking about defending "traditional marriage."

1 comment:

  1. "Traditonal" is one of those slippery words. Usually what people mean is "the way we do things around here." They may mean "the way we have done things around here for the last couple or three generations." All the word tradition means is something handed down. There are good traditions, there are bad traditions. The rightness is not inherent in it being traditional, but in itself.

    Few people who speak about tradtional marriage have read much about the history of marriage. One could argue that the most traditional form of marriage is one that is arranged between families for the sake of the financial security of the extended families. It had little to do with whether the couple being married loved one another. Most of the time they hardly knew one another. This is evident even in Biblical stories. It had to do with procreation only because it meant the continuation of the family name and line. Even among Christians, marriage in the earliest centuries was a civil reality, not even allowed to slaves and therefore not allowed to that large part of the early church that was made up of slaves. Marriage was a fluid concept.

    I am not saying that there is no value in the development of our understanding of marriage or of the sacramental meaning of it for two Christians. But be careful what you wish for when you wish for traditional marriage. It may have little to do with what you think marriage is about today.

    On a side note, I suspect that people getting married often want a traditional wedding. This is culturally engrained in lots of brides. Wanting a traditional marriage is another can of worms.