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."

February 09, 2006

"The People Want It"

That's one of the frequent justifications those who are pushing for laws and constitutional amendments that would prohibit same-sex marriage use. They're not anti-gay, they're merely trying to enfore the "will of the people." Here's a biblical case where the will of the people was carried out despite the better judgement of the political leader, Pontius Pilate.

Luke 23:13-24 (NIV) Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him." With one voice they cried out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)
Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him." But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

That's right, our Lord and Savior was crucified because Pilate was afraid of the people of Isreal complaining to his superiors in Rome and hurting his career. How many politicians are making decisions on the important modern-day issue of same-sex marriage based on fear of losing votes and going against their own conscience and thoughts on what is right.

I'm not trying to condemn anyone who votes differently than I would regarding same-sex marriage. I am, however, calling out anyone who is in a position of leadership yet lacks the courage to lead. I don't feel anyone who falls into that category deserves my vote or yours.

February 07, 2006

"Fighting The Holy War" - An Opinion

My friend Sharone made me aware of this exceptional essay written for the "Metro Weekly," a gay-focused magazine distributed in the Washington DC area.


The writer, Richard J. Rosendall, takes the religious right to task for, among other things "bearing false witness," and also takes the democrats to task for not having the courage to stand up to them.

Rosenthal states, "The religious fanatics cannot be defeated as long as we allow them to frame the public debate without serious challenge."

Along with other allies, that's what I'm trying to do in my little corner of the blogosphere. The Christ I worship is nothing like the Christ the religious right puts out there. I want to tell you, especially those in the GLBT community, that my Christ loves you as you are. He doesn't hate you like the false prophets of the religious right want you to think.

February 05, 2006

God Will Deal with the Messengers of Hate

One of the more frequent themes I have written about and readers have contacted me about is their anger at what we feel is a gross distotion of God's message by "fundamentalists" preaching hatred against GLBT people and those who don't vote Republican. In my bible study over the weekend, I ran across some scripture that addresses how God will handle that when the time for reckoning arrives.

Luke 20:45-47 (NIV) While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be published most severely."

Luke 11:52 (NIV) "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."

Matthew 7:22-24 (NIV) Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

If, as I so strongly feel in my heart, they are wrong, those preachers will be punished severely on judgement day. It it difficult but critically important for us to remember that no one on either side of any issue has the right to judge others--that is God's right and His alone. In these and other scriptures, he clearly promises that he will deal with those who have misrepresented His word and led others down that path.

What if I'm wrong? What if I have misinterpreted the leading of the Holy Spirit and I'm wrong about what I write here? I would face that same type of punishment detailed in the scripture above. Unlike many of the followers of the "fundamentalist" leaders, however, I have taken responsibility for the couse I am charting with my life and my writing.

I have, with guidance from my wife Brenda, my Pastor Dale, and other leaders at my church, worked very hard on developing my individual relationship with Jesus Christ. I have put the effort into bible study, prayer, and studying various teachings on important issues to educate myself and, more importantly, discern God's will for my life without it going through anyone else's filter.

If we have been influenced by a leader who has gone astray, we still have the responsibility to figure out God's will for our lives, not our leader's will. It does take some effort and committment. It's not easy. The bible is not easy to figure out. It can be difficult making ourselves be still and pray. That is where the nourishment of the spirit comes from, though. Without it, our spirit starves just like our body without food.

I went through a spell of my life where I starved my spirit, and it caused me to be less than I could be. I know many people are currently doing the same, especially GLBT people who have just had the living crap kicked out of them by the church.

Please remember, if you've experienced that type of rejection, that is is coming from man, not God. He loves you and is reaching out to you right now, right this very minute! If you reach back and open yourself up to His love, your life will never be the same. Leave the hatred behind, God will deal with those who inflicted it upon you. Just focus on His love and let the Holy Spirit into your soul.

No man, regardless of how much political power he amasses or how loudly he screams, can EVER take that away from you.