Thursday, May 2, 2013

Equality #3

3) I, Jesus, am a big fan of equality but not at the expense of a covenant relationship between one man and one woman which I created and instituted.

So, this is the post bound to be the most divisive in the opinions of those who read it.There are obviously so many ways to take this statement. As I have already laid out, Jesus is indeed a big fan of equality. In fact, if not for Jesus, equality would not be what it is in the world today. We then looked at how the very design of creation itself calls for both equality and diversity. We looked at how promoting equality above all other virtues is actually a diminishing of this great virtue instead of a promotion. And thus we get to the topic of our day.

In our culture today, the battle over "traditional" marriage is being lost, hijacked, stolen, abused, trampled, etc. depending on your personal leanings. For others, marriage is finally becoming and moving towards what it should have been all along: a place for anyone and everyone to enter into a loving relationship with the person they love.

As a seminary friend of mine pointed out, this war over "traditional" marriage stems from the government's involvement in the issue. What was a religious ordinance has become a governmental swamp. I agree, but this is only part of the problem. You see, wrapped up in this whole topic of "equality in who has the right to get married" are a whole list of issues. Let me point out the ones I am mindful of:

1) The word marriage itself. Christians lay claim to it (via God's instituting of it) and they should have the right to define it and defend it.
2) The religious vs. governmental rights and benefits of "marriage."
3) If those who oppose anything but one man + one woman = marriage back off that stance then they are in effect giving a nod to all those other types of "marriage" as OK.
4) If you are a Christian, #3 is a major problem because not only are you giving ground on the Biblical definition of marriage (Genesis 2), but you are allowing numerous possibilities for different forms of relationships that the Bible calls sin to now fall under the definition of marriage (#1).

I realize that there are probably many other shading of the issues and problems that I am not even aware of but for the purposes of this post those are the ones that strike me as important. So what are the solutions?

1) Everyone who has a problem with anything other than the 1 man/1 woman definition of marriage can simply give up. Let it be defined however society decides and just keep your head down and focus on other issues. * Let equality win the day*
2) Argue for and legislate for a separation of religious and governmental marital status. Thus allowing religious people to keep their definitions and the government to have its definition. *Let equality have its day at the governmental level but not the religious.*
3) Keep fighting and hope to sway the mind of the culture. *Hold the position that this is not an area for equality to take prominence.*
4) Any one of the first 3 options and also try to focus on making the marriages that are between one man and one woman as loving and vibrant as possible.
5) Something else?

Problems with the solutions:

1) Societies definition of marriage will become the standard of the day and anyone who opposes or speaks out against it will be labeled as hateful, intolerant, and could possibly face legal and/or financial repercussions down the road. In other words, we can't simply agree to disagree. People will have to agree or pay for it one way or another.
2) While this sounds good and would the be option I would want to see happen, the ramifications to this are staggering. If we take our rosy colored glasses off, we would see that this option would lead to all kinds of chaos at all levels. Imagine 12 people walk into a church on Sunday. Now imagine that all twelve SAY they are married. One man and one woman, two women, two men,  and one man and five women. We are already heading down this road. Doesn't this type of scenario cause chaos and confusion? And that doesn't even begin to describe how messed up it would be at the governmental level.
3) The way this national conversation is going does not show love. It simply doesn't. The tone is wrong. The arguments are wrong. The methods are wrong. And the generations coming up are noticing. Thus the younger generations are more pro-non-traditional marriage than ever before.
4) The second half of this option is essential but the problems with the first half are listed above.
5) ?

So, even though this post is already really long, I simply don't have a great answer. I believe that because God's Word is true and because we are called to stand upon it that the only real option we have is #3 BUT we have got to change the tone of the conversation. We must explain marriage rather than defend it. We must support marriage rather than fight a war for it. We must encourage love according to God's definition of it rather than being seen as haters of those who simply want to love a certain person.

Marriage is not something that can be equalized OR diversified for whomever in whatever way they see fit. God created marriage not for marriage sake but for His creation to understand the type of relationship He wants to have with us and will have with us when time has ended. Marriage is more than a relationship. More than a promise. More than a commitment. It is a covenant. It is deeply spiritual and eternally foreshadowing. It is a gift and a promise of what could be and what is to come.

I must be promoted as a glorious good not a limiting OK (as it often is in Christian circles). People should marvel at marriage not mock it. The Church is losing this issue because we have been lazy in the conversation. Now, we have an up hill battle to convince not only those outside the Church of the place of marriage but also those within the Church of its wonder.

So, that is why I believe Jesus would say he is for equality but not at the expense of marriage. May God use His Church to demonstrate His love for the world through the covenant of marriage.

Chris