Tuesday, June 30, 2015

my views on same-sex marriage

for days now the news that the us government has legalized same-sex marriage has been a source for a very lively discussion. though i live in a country that still values the institution of marriage based on the Bible, i am still affected and deeply saddened. though the decision does not affect us legally it still is felt globally because of social media; my own social media accounts are very colorful because of the rainbow colored profiles in support and celebration of this ruling. 

i felt that i have to say something about this issue and i remember that i have read something about this topic written by a perceptive and gracious woman. in it she summarized what i felt and believe.

this is what charissa wrote:

picture taken during the time we went to dahilayan park
I’m tackling a different and far more difficult topic today that I usually address on my blog. For the past few days I’ve been weighing whether anything more actually needs to be said but, my heart is heavy over it and there are some things I’d like to say.
If you comment here (and I hope you do), please write with honesty but, more importantly, write with grace. Remember behind every “problem” there are people. Living, breathing, feeling, loving human beings. We don’t need to flog each other with our words in order to communicate.
This post is an extremely simplified look at homosexuality and gay marriage.
For me this topic is one of the most difficult intersections of my faith and life in our world today. I’ve wrestled with it academically (in a counseling program), emotionally (with friends who are gay) and prayerfully as I tried to reconcile a God, self-defined as love, with the church’s heated and often scathing response to this topic. 
I understand why it generates such strong responses. This topic touches on every aspect of who we are as humans – the emotional, relational, spiritual, moral, cognitive and, of course, sexual. Responses are fueled by each of those components.
We’re holistic people responding to a holistic issue.
What breaks my heart is the way many are responding. I am not gay but…what if, as a Christian, I struggled with same-sex attraction? Would I find a place of safety, friendship and grace in the church or with fellow believers? 
Not with the majority, I wouldn’t.
Jesus was neither homophobic nor a gay rights activist. We misrepresent his character when we force him into either box. We seem to allow ourselves only two categories; liberal and loving or conservative and cold.
Those who are conservative must, must find a way to also be loving.
I should pause here and openly state that I fall into the conservative category on this topic. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
I believe it for some reasons I hold extremely sacred and, since boundaries are what preserve definitions, the way our cultural understanding of marriage is shifting scares me.
Christian marriage is representative of so many spiritually significant things.
God created two institutions: marriage and the church and marital intimacy is meant to reflect the larger structure and intimacy of the church body. Marriage is a divinely gifted, symbolic institution.
The intimacy between husband and wife represents the love of Christ for his church, the sacrificial love a husband should have for his wife imitates the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His leadership of the church, a wife’s submission to leadership is reflective of the believer’s submission to their God. Marriage, at its core is spiritual (even though no marriage always feels that way).
“Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?” – Malachi 2:15
There are aspects of God’s character a man represents and aspects of his character a woman represents. Together they are meant to be the fullest picture of God to a very hurting world; strong, sensitive, gracious, protective, loving, courageous, nurturing and warm.
A man and a woman’s one flesh union is deeply intimate. The way our bodies were created to connect is astounding; a man and woman are two halves of a whole. Symmetry, connectivity, life-long companionship.
That definition of marriage is foreign to our post-Christian, secular world. When sex is a past-time marriage is, at best, a loose contract. The reflections of the Divine grow fainter and fainter. 
Yet, I cannot abandon that definition. It’s written on my heart.
My faith requires I accept certain limits, certain boundaries, but it demands I love and serve everyone regardless of whether they fall inside, outside or around those limits.Just like my Savior did.
I also cannot forget the struggle many of my gay friends are facing. Their longing for intimacy, companionship and, yes, marriage is no less legitimate than mine. Sexuality is complex and, while a discussion of the supposed “sources” of homosexuality is far outside the scope of this post, I am strongly amiss if I suggest such desires can be easily resolved (for those who believe they should be)  or easily “dealt with” through heterosexual marriage, counseling or repression.
Let’s not confuse two separate issues – homosexuality and gay marriage and especially, let’s not belittle the emotions and desires of those who are gay by suggesting those things don’t matter.  Those of us who hold a conservative position on this topic also have a sacred responsibility to speak our view with grace and truth. We walk a fine line suspended over beating hearts.
I realize this post does not reflect the popular opinion, even among Christians, and I’m not sure how it will be received. The truths included are not new but there is much I didn’t touch on. I hope what was said has been communicated with both honesty and grace.