my (incomplete) thoughts on gay marriage

In the past four days I have filled up 21 pages in my journal. It might just be a new record. Most of it are my scribbled thoughts, ideas, prayers, & struggles with the church’s response to the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States, if you’re not good with acronyms) decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

For the record, I support the decision 100%.

And I still love Jesus and believe he is the way, the truth, and the life.

I support the ruling for several reasons. And I’ll hopefully share them later. There are so many many layers to my thoughts and feelings.

But the biggest reason? Because it’s fair. And that’s what America is about (or should be, when everyone is following all the rules).

Christian friends, the government is not the church. The laws of the land are created (and often amended) for one reason: to ensure liberty and justice for all.

If the freedom you’re asking for doesn’t hinder anyone else’s freedom then, chances are, you’ll be allowed to have it in America (again, if everyone is playing by the rules).

Does allowing women to vote violate the men’s rights in any way? Nope.

Does freeing slaves violate the already-free white people’s rights in any way? Nope.

Does allowing Christians the freedom to worship the God of the Bible violate the Muslims’ rights in any way? Nope.

Does allowing two men or two women to get married violate the rights of men and women who want to marry the opposite sex? Nope.

(I read this today and believe it’s so true: When someone tries to take away your rights, that’s called persecution. When someone else gets rights you already enjoy, that’s called sharing.)

I know know know know know that homosexuality goes against God’s plan for marriage as laid out in the Bible, but America’s laws are not based on the book only Christians believe to be God’s truth.

As Gabe pointed out today, America was founded on the inalienable rights of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, NOT life, love, and the pursuit of godliness.

In America, people are allowed to live together & have sex without getting married (the Bible says no) and get divorced for most any reason they want (the Bible says no) and get drunk if they’re 21+, don’t drive, and don’t physically hurt another person (the Bible says no).

In America, men can have long hair and women short hair (the Bible says no). And lots and lots of other things.

We can’t be all for separation of church & state (and the pursuit of happiness) when it suits us and rail against it when it doesn’t. We might think we want Christianity legalized in our country, but Constantine did that once upon a time in the Roman Empire, and it ENDED BADLY.

And, besides, which Christians would get to make the laws? It’s not like any of us really agree on everything the Bible says (see: Christian men with long hair). We all interpret it so differently. And we all think we’re right.

Sigh.

I’ve been saddened by the fearful, doomsday response by many Christians to this landmark event in American history. I think it’s a crazy-amazing opportunity to show the world the love of Jesus, and I’m afraid we’re going to blow it. My stomach is all in knots, and I feel like people are going to run even faster in the opposite direction of Jesus and his “followers.”

But God has been whispering to me, “So you think this is too big for me, huh?” and I’m reminded that, no, it’s not.

God is still on his throne.

For people who are scared of this ruling, this is good news. For people who are scared of what the people who are scared of this ruling are going to do in the name of Jesus, this is good news. 

And I’m slowly, prayerfully, reading back through the Gospels and asking the Holy Spirit to give me the eyes and ears and mind and heart of Jesus.

One thing that keeps repeating in my brain: “Are gay people going to be more likely to listen to us talk about Jesus if we 1.) graciously give them the rights we already have or 2.) fume and lament that they’re allowed to get married??

(Never mind the huge chunk of people who identify as both gay AND Christ-followers. Another post perhaps?)

I know many people disagree with me, but I so, so firmly believe that we should LIVE JESUS FIRST before we ever ever say THE BIBLE SAYS YOUR LIFESTYLE IS A SIN.

My job? Love. Holy Spirit’s job? Conviction.

One of the things the Spirit convicted me of this weekend was that I need to react with love, not frustration and anger, when (I think) people are being hateful. And I need to make sure I’m not hating in return. Grace for all.

Anyway.

Lots more to say on the topic. (I meant this to post to be about 100 words and a bunch of links. Ha.) But, for now, sooooooo thankful for others who have been saying what’s all jumbled up in my head, gut, and on the pages of my poor journal.

Stuff to Read:

1.) I’ve heard lots of Christians talk about how much persecution we’re under now.

2.) Another thing I’m hearing: God is going to judge our nation for this.

3.) Why I don’t give straight answers about homosexuality (because everyone starts yelling).

4.) Yes, homosexuality is absolutely a choice.

5.) Distorted love.

6.) Everyone’s a Biblical Literalist Until You Bring Up Gluttony.

7.) Could this ruling actually be a gift for evangelical Christians?

(If you have a link to share, have a go at it in the comments. I’ll try not to let it get sent to spam.)

I do want to keep this conversation going, but I know there are so many other things we want to talk about too (racial reconciliation, depression & suicide, Cambodia, other justice stuff, third culture kids, living our passions, how awesome Jesus is…). So little time…

Someone also asked me recently if I hate America & white suburban Americans (she asked in the nicest way possible, and I’m leaving out the context), so that might be something I tackle on here as well. (The short answer? No. The long answer? No, but…)

Until next time, peace to you, friends!

12 thoughts on “my (incomplete) thoughts on gay marriage

  1. Rosanne

    I appreciate your words – I don’t completely agree. I’m not really 100% for this decision for a lot of reasons – one being that it is not constitutional in the way it was done and because it overthrows state’s rights/wll of the people. I do think it will lead to some issues for religious organizations, but at the same time, I also feel very strongly that the church’s response to gay people as a whole has been pretty atrocious. I blogged about this at http://www.divineordinary.com/2015/06/gay-people-arent-the-enemy . I think this ruling is both a wake up call and an opportunity to love people like Jesus did – and I think that is something we can do whether we agree with the ruling or not. 🙂 I really appreciate your heart, Marla.

  2. Adrian

    I love many of the points you made. Very well written and said from the heart of our Lord as to how we as believers should see the state and it’s laws. We are not of this world.

    Only thing I struggle to see is that this is an equal rights issue at all. I’m not so sure it is. The LBGT community has always had the same freedoms AND limitations as those who do not share the same physical attractions. The person who convinced me of this orginally was not even a “bible thumping” Christian. Here is something he wrote in response to a microcosmic decision that was made several years ago that parallels the SCOTUS decision. Very succinct and clear, I thought. I don’t agree with all of his views on God and Government but, this seemed to make a lot of sense.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2010/08/11/gay_marriage_myths_and_truth/page/full

  3. Doug Murphy

    I want to say right up front that I appreciate your heart… It seems like you are trying to be very kind in this. But this is a huge issue not just in the biblical sense but legally. This was a 5-4 vote with incredible dissent from the opposing judges. I am not sure if you have done much research on that. The judges took away from the people and the individual states the right to decide. That is a major issue. I believe that this country is a democracy and the people should have the right to decide what they want in regards to civil unions. Marriage is however a Biblical Covenant. We could give all rights that our government has given to a man and a woman regarding marriage and I would be okay with that if that is what the people choose. But taking the name marriage and what it is to represent leads to other things… If you aren’t aware, ask yourself why the LGTBQ community wouldn’t be satisfied with a civil union that provides all the equal rights… Why did it have to be marriage. This has been a huge fight for the name, not the rights. I am sure you are aware as the that there is already talks of polygamy and pedophilia being introduced as a sexual orientation… Lowering the age of consent, etc…. I can make a stronger biblical case for allowing these than gay marriage, although I don’t want too I could. Read Jude 17-23…. You seem very kind and tenderhearted, I really appreciate that and I respect you and your husband in how you express your lives and faith, but I think in trying to be a peacemaker you are maybe overlooking some other critical issues here.

  4. Tiffany

    Thank YOU! Pretty much what I’ve been saying and praying about. Would love a post about Christians who believe acting out on gay behavior isn’t a sin and your response. (It’s a tricky one) lol

  5. Lesley

    Thanks for writing this. I was just thinking about many of these points yesterday. I find it interesting which sins the “church ” rises up against. It seems like people choose sins that are removed from their circle. Kind of like a speck plank thing. It isn’t like the ruling is changing the amount of sin in the country. I sometimes feel like I disagree with everyone because I don’t have strong feelings about this topic.

  6. Rebecca Perkins

    Thank you………..finally, someone gets it, puts it in writing and shares. I can not thank you enough. May God Bless you all. Tell Janelle I said hello……you guys enjoy your time together.

  7. Inspire Hope

    I agree that God is still in control. I am very concerned for the children of America. This is the first experience in my lifetime where America has separated from being a Christian nation and it’s very hard to stomach. People in Canada are put in jail for their Christian marriage beliefs and they made this ruling only 10 years ago. I do wish that we could just say overall, now there is an American marriage and there is a Christian marriage and those two things are now obviously different.

    1. Judy

      I don’t agree with Marla on this hardly at all. In fact, I don’t think she likes or understands Christians like me very much. I’ve felt more judgment and betrayal from fellow Christians in the last week than I have felt in my whole life. I am concerned about this ruling because I don’t like when laws turn away from truth. This will affect Americans spiritually, just like the laws and rulings that made this ruling possible have already affected us. I lament for the damage that will be caused. I hate the increased persecution that will happen because of this ruling. No matter how much other Christians tell me my concerns are silly.

      Here’s the big but… Talk to some non whites, especially blacks and Native Americans and ask them if this country has ever departed from being a “Christian Nation.” Study the Trail of Tears and the Indian Removal Act and see how Christian that was. Look at the sexist ads of the 1950s and see how Christian they were. Read the racist statements of early 20th century presidents like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Study the history of redlining and the racism of the New Deal after World War II, not to mention Jim Crow and the violence of the Civil Rights movement. Talk to blacks today and see how differently they’re treated by law enforcement. Look at the Justice Dept.’s report on the systemic racism in Ferguson, Mo. Read about the involuntary sterilization of blacks and poor whites that took place in North Carolina and other places until way too recently. I could go on, but you get the point.

      I think this ruling is a cause for lament and concern, but to think that this is the first time we’ve turned from God is nowhere close to being true.

  8. Alicia

    A friend of mine linked to this and I think it hits the nail on the head (especially his 2nd, 3rd, and 5th point). http://careynieuwhof.com/2015/06/some-advice-on-same-sex-marriage-for-us-church-leaders-from-a-canadian/?utm_content=bufferba81d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    This may be slightly off topic, but what do Cambodians think about same sex marriage? Is it something that’s condemned in their culture (like in Muslim nations) or is it accepted?

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      Oh, that was SO SO GOOD. Thank you for sharing!!! Same-sex marriage would definitely fit in the “taboo” category in Cambodia. The gay men here are stigmatized and ostracized. It’s not an acceptable cultural norm. (Maybe I can blog about this one sometime too.)

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