Monday, June 22nd, 2015
Over the recent years, I believed two people of the same sex should be able to legally marry, but I personally didn’t know how to defend the right to marry.
This week I finally worked it out in my mind and now believe whole-heartedly that marriage for gay people should be legal and it is discriminatory to not make this happen.
We’ve heard more times than we can count from religious people that marriage is traditionally and biblically should only occur when it’s between one man and one woman. Therefore they want to keep the laws to only allow for marriage benefits and advantages here in the United States when it fits that criteria.
As I look at what I see in history, and of course in the Bible, the obvious examples of marriage situations that are NOT one man and one women and include people God says are after His heart. But there are other things that stand out to me as being more common to a marriage historically that I believe are significant.
I see two people who make a decision to establish a relationship that is different than friendship, or companionship. They decide to live as one, a family with a common investment in the relationship and its life and future.
The relationship is based on love, care and nurture. In some marriages, there is the inclusion of children both natural and/or adopted. Based on the depth of connection and emotional investment, when desired or needed, the relationship is submitted to further knowledge and counsel for improvement or repair to maintain it.
There are often financial commitments and investments. Decisions are made together for home and family. Consideration is given for household investments and maintenance. A weaving of life and belonging that is significant and indicative of a marriage.
Extended family is included such as siblings and parents. There is a shared concern for their lives and wellbeing. In many cases, holidays and a shared history of tradition is built. There is an expectation for future years together. Weddings, birthdays, and funerals are also shared events with a deeper emotional connection each time they occur.
In most marriages, there is a decision to cohabit, to spend each day together in some significant way. A physical closeness is experienced for emotional support, comfort, encouragement, and sexual intimacy. Spending the energy to keep up with life events on a daily basis because each wants the other to know that someone cares and is a significant part of the other’s life. A deep knowing of the other, a looking in the eyes; sharing humor, grief, and daily life emotions is significant in a healthy marriage.
Spiritual bonds form through faith, religious convictions and practice. Stimulating one another to further growth in their faith journey is also significant for those who share a desire to do so.
When two people share a life together in this type of marriage the US government has offered a license allowing for legal benefits available for those who are married. In many states, when a couple has been living together like this for seven years, it’s called a common law marriage, recognized as legal. Some corporations and employers also offer common benefits such as medical insurance for couples that are married in this manner.
While many utilize clergy to facilitate the commitment, many others do not, taking advantage of a licensed person or government official for the vows. Marriage in the US is not always viewed as a God centered event, therefore the freedom of religion allows for this to be the case.
Some who oppose marriage for anyone other than an opposite sex couple, minimize the reality of this kind of marriage for couples who are of the same sex. They lack the clarity of thought and reason that can see that gender has nothing to do with real marriage. Two people, regardless of their gender, can emulate marriage as it has always been respected throughout history.
There are religions that do not approve of same sex marriage. That is their freedom and right to live within their own religious convictions. A religious pastor or leader who by conviction will not marry two people of the same sex are free to maintain their restrictions. In no way does another view of marriage nullify their belief. In the same way, our US government has seen fit to devise a system where one religion cannot be a guiding factor for our country. Our country has been built upon religious freedom and diversity.
Therefore, it is my conviction and belief that if two people decide to weave their lives together in a legal marriage, as described above, regardless of their gender, they should be given the right to the benefits and advantages afforded all married couples in this country. Their relationship should be legally recognized as set apart from friendship, or a business partnership.
All we have to do is to look around and see there are thousands of same-sex couples that are already married in spirit, but at this time are not allowed the benefits of opposite sex couples.
It is my hope that the Supreme Court of the Unites States will approve the order allowing same sex couples to marry and to see that any other decision would be to discriminate against same sex couples.
Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
A long time friend of mine posts fairly regularly on her FaceBook page concerning her conviction that it is not congruent with a relationship with God for one to engage in a gay relationship. She posts links from articles she finds that support her convictions and belief.
Karen is friends with several people who are gay but have chosen to pursue the route of celibacy and some who would say they are happier with their lives living within celibacy or marriage to someone of the opposite sex.
We have dialogues on FaceBook at times and I’ve decided to post one of our dialogues for you to see that people can discuss this matter with respect of one another.
This week she posted a link to an article by Robert Mohler. Robert is addressing the recent decision of Tony Campolo to come out as a supporter and advocate of gay people and their covenantal same sex relationships.
This is my first response to Karen’s post:
The earth is flat, (heretics challenged this belief): Slavery is backed by the Bible (heretics challenged this belief): Women should remain silent in church (heretics challenged this belief)
I find it interesting that respected, well heeled, prayerful, Bible honoring, Christian leaders are looking more deeply into the true message of the Bible on same gender covenantal intimate, God honoring relationships. Tony Campolo did not come to this place captiously, or quickly. In his own words, he waited, prayed, studied, prayed, and has now come to say he believes we should welcome same-sex relationships into the church fellowship with full inclusion.
There will be those who will remain on what they say is the “narrow road” of truth, but those numbers are shrinking.
We will soon come to accept that a same sex covenantal relationship can be both God honoring and moral in the very same way an opposite sex covenantal relationship is.
Biblical interpretation and understanding has always been an evolving thing. We need only to look through our most recent history to see that over time our interpretation of certain long held beliefs has changed, leaving the truth of the gospel unchanged.
To my FaceBook friends who will read John’s comment……you know, I could delete his comment so no one can see it, and he would not know. But, I’m letting it stand for a couple of reasons…..one is because John and I have been friends for many years, and though I disagree with him vehemently, I consider him a friend, still. Secondly, I’m hoping that if some of you respond, it will be respectfully and thoughtfully. I post many articles regarding this issue, but I rarely editorialize. I post them because of my hope that some of my homosexual friends and their supporters will allow their hearts to be pierced by the truth and then repent.
My second response:
I have found Karen to always be respectful and I hope to respond with equal respect. As Karen has stated, we disagree on whether or not a gay relationship can be part of a person’s walk of faith and can glorify God in the process.
My husband has two master’s degrees in theology, and a Doctorate in Pentecostal eschatology. He has been a bible teacher in the Church of God, licensed by the Church of God in ministry, and very well respected by those in his childhood church and many in his denomination. Like many very conservative Christians, Larry has deeply studied homosexuality from all perspectives and has an entire library on homosexuality and faith by men and women of conservative faith. He spent 52 years as a celibate Christian who struggled his entire life with being gay, and being a conservative Christian.
Larry’s story is not rare, and becoming even more common as more and more information is available through Christian believers who have taken the time to pray, listen, study, and study some more, on homosexuality.
As Karen knows, I have been in full time ministry to those who are gay for over 25 years. I’ve seen it all, all experiences, all walks of life, all diverse expressions of homosexuality within the Christian faith. I’ve known those who believe they can change, those who commit to celibacy, those who are in committed monogamous relationships, and those who live promiscuously.
I’ve experienced the pain, the anguish, the desperation and in my own personal walk with God have come to the conclusion that the Bible is unclear on a gay relationship, therefore like many, I have chosen to trust more in God’s love and character on this part of my life.
Some would vehemently argue this point as though it were taking away the very gospel of Christ to be gay, and embrace a same sex spouse. Others see this as secondary to the gospel and therefore are less passionate about it.
However, the destruction I’ve seen in relationships with God and others when a belief against gay relationships is held tightly is myriad, and exponential – not only in the individual’s life, but in their families and friends. In no way do I see the spirit of God through this type of resistance to opening ones heart to prayer, thought, and potentially a change of viewpoint.
I’ve seen parents enter into deep depression over having a gay child, a depression that lasts for many years. I’ve seen that depression lift when a change to trust God with their gay child and begin to loosen up on their opposition to them as people, gay people.
I’ve seen men and women die haunting deaths over being gay and people of faith. I do not see this as the spirit of God.
I’ve seen people develop psychological disorders over their angst with this issue. I’ve seen the psychosis diminish and at times dissipate completely when they begin to accept their homosexuality and trust God’s grace in their lives enough to embrace one of life’s most tremendous joys, a love relationship of depth and intimacy with someone of the same sex. I believe this is within the context of the spirit of God’s desire for us as his children.
I could go on and on, but I’ve seen it all to a great level of depth.
I wonder how many who hold themselves far away from any movement to accept gay relationships as congruent with faith in God and God’s grace for humanity, have experienced all of this in study and life example? And yet, they continue to shake their fist at any thought of God’s acceptance of a gay covenantal relationship.
Personally, I’m tremendously thankful for men and women of God who have invested the time and prayer into thinking this through to an extent where they see that it’s okay to be gay and love God. I could list the growing numbers of faith filled men and women who have written from their studies.
Thank you Karen for your respect.
Karen’s second response:
And, I have friends who WERE involved with homosexuality who have turned from it and are happy and complete.
I replied, “I’ve known them as well.”
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
It’s Not About Being Happy, Caitlyn Jenner!
So many people believe that we have to be happy in order to represent a successful life. Is life all about pursuing happiness? Is God’s first priority to give us a happy life? Many years ago I let go of that expectation. I’m not necessarily pursuing a happy life.
Caitlyn Jenner’s story has certainly brought out many diverse reactions and comments. Something that stood out to me yesterday was from someone who said that it’s not likely Caitlyn will be any happier now. He said that none of the transgender people he’d known of were happier after transitioning.
I hope Caitlyn isn’t expecting to live a happy life. That could be a very disappointing thing to pursue. I’ve read stories of transgender people who got depressed after their transition, which doesn’t surprise me, really. There isn’t a one size fits all result of someone choosing to make such a huge life transition. Maybe they didn’t find happiness in the end. Did they miss the real benefit of coming out while they were pursuing happiness? Was their depression due to external realities?
For me, the transition from being ExGay to being an out gay man and marrying my husband hasn’t made me happier! I can’t say I get up each morning with a huge smile on my face and say, “Oh, happy day!” I have days when I am happier. I also have days where I question my transition and feel some pain and discouragement. I don’t think I’d be human if this weren’t true.
I’ve heard from men who go through tremendous struggles after they come out publically. I know women who face many daily emotions that are unhappy after they admit they’re lesbian. There are many consequences that stem from moving into a fuller gay experience. Loss of friends, rejection from family members, job changes, and guilt coming from religious convictions and experiences all become a reality.
I’m sure that Caitlyn will go through tons of feelings stemming from reading the comments on line from people who think she’s done a terrible thing. Not all of Caitlyn’s family is supportive of her transition which no doubt brings about lots of discomfort and pain. So, what’s in it for Caitlyn? What was in it for me to come out after living in such a public ExGay story for so many years? Was I looking for a happier life? Have I found a happier life?
No, I haven’t found a happier life.
But one thing I have found is a deeper inner peace. I’ve experienced a greater sense of integrity and personal truth. I wake up each day with less angst, less fear of the deception that I lived in for so many years. I no longer worry about lying to someone, or hiding parts of my life from friends and family. I wake up knowing that today, I am honest and have integrity. That’s worth it’s weight in gold.
For so many years I felt like I was two people, the public story, ravaged by the inner turmoil of a life by trying to be someone I couldn’t be. I think this is what Caitlyn has been through too. I think her experience will be like mine. I think she will find many days when she is very unhappy, or even grief stricken. I believe she will discover rejection at a very deep level that will be very painful and will produce unhappiness. But from what I have seen and heard from her in her interviews is that she has found a life experience with a deeper level of integrity. I think she will wake up most days with less angst of the double existence. Think this was her motivation and hopefully she will find that to be significant to her new life. In her potential unhappiness, it is my hope she will discover a deeper peace that will smooth all of this out.
I believe in time Caitlyn will find more happiness but if she doesn’t, I trust that she will find more peace, just as I have.
Does God want us to be happy?
’ve heard many times that living a life with God isn’t about God wanting us to be happier. It is my belief that God does want us to live in integrity and honesty. The TRUTH does set us free. My personal truth has set me free from years and years of anxiety. Well, maybe sometimes I am happier. But when I’m not, I do have that deep inner peace of living in truth today.