Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-Election Rant and Sanctity of Marriage



I have more follow-up on patriarchal lifestyle and fathers who own their daughter's heart, but need to take a quick diversion because my brain won't let go of this.

I'm in a foul mood - and maybe a fowl mood, too - as I'm looking at my kitty toss up a dead bird and play with it in the backyard.  Some of my friends on Facebook and Twitter have been airing their disappointment about different laws that passed or didn't pass, or who won or didn't win the election.  I'm struck that so much attention gets put on topics like gay marriage.  Are we to be the morality police for unbelievers?  This is the kind of question that has been floating around in my mind.  Do we as Christians have the marriage thing down and model Christ in our marriages so that we have the right to to look down and judge others who don't believe the same way we do?

I know what the Bible says about homosexuality.  I get that and concur with what the Bible says is sin.  But what is upsetting me are the Christians who are ranting about how gay marriage cheapens the sanctity of marriage.     Is gay marriage really what is cheapening marriage?  Or are Christians cheapening marriage by not taking their own marriages seriously?  How are Christians dealing with their own marriages - with domestic violence or broken marriages in the church?  When I see Christians complaining about issues like this and avoiding their own responsibility at home, with their families, with their friends at church, I get a bit irritated.  When I see pastors ranting about how sacred marriage is and then fail to help a wife who is crying out because of spousal abuse or her broken marriage, I wonder how sacred marriage really is.   Does anyone really care about this?  End of rant.  






40 comments:

  1. I'm with ya on this! The last I heard, the divorce rate amongst Christians was equal to non-believers. Add in to that the Christians who are faking a happy marriage just to look good - don't deny it - I've seen that many times!

    This world is not our home and our hope is in Christ alone, not in man made laws. I think Christians need to start understanding that and living that way.

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  2. These are good questions. As I've been deconstructing and trying to find my footing again in regards to my faith, this is one area I'm not sure what I think. I'm still torn between the ultra-conservative viewpoint of "homosexuality is utterly terrible and the worst sin ever", to "it is a sin, but it's not the 'worst' sin in the bible." I don't know where I stand, but I can definitely say that I'm not going to judge someone who tells me they are gay, but will love them instead.

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    1. Chryssie - we are in the same boat. I am rehashing everything that has been taught to me and trying to stick with the very basics - God, His Word and sort through these difficult issues. What I've found is a preoccupation of judging others without going into the trenches with people who are really struggling with difficult situations and relationships. I have found my previous church tended to be judgmental, label things as sin, tell people to confess, repent, and have some sort of magical formula to apply to sins. I'm not sure that is always the best way to handle things.

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  3. I can't tell you what a relief it is to read your words... I thought I was the only person who felt this way! As a Christian woman with a failed marriage behind me, I feel that it would be the height of hypocrisy for me to condemn gay marriage. Let's be honest, our own sinful selfish natures pose far more threat to the sanctity of marriage than anything that unbelievers may choose to do. And how much credibility have we lost by our rants about the "evils of the gay lifestyle"? May God forgive us♥

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    1. Thank you, Diane. - your words really resonate with me - - - wow, so true!

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  4. I'd like hear what you think about this post from Jamal Jivangee last year:

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/2011/09/why-i-decided-to-move-to-a-new-nation/

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    1. I read the post, and found myself nodding in agreement quite a bit. It points out one of many things that make me leery of the Religious Right in the States. Namely, their apparent obsession with turning the U.S. into some kind of Holy Nation of God.

      Certainly it's incumbent upon Christians to make a positive difference in whatever society we live in. But the fixation some seem to have with sanctifying their whole country misses the point of Christian salvation entirely. It also betrays a loss of proper focus -- as far as I can see, God is much more concerned with the holiness of individuals, not nations.

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    2. Are we as Christians establishing His kingdom in our own lives at home and at church first? I was reminded of this verse:

      2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

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    3. Headless Unicorn GuyNovember 9, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      It points out one of many things that make me leery of the Religious Right in the States. Namely, their apparent obsession with turning the U.S. into some kind of Holy Nation of God.

      Like the (fictional) Theocratic Republic of Gilead?

      Or the (RL) Islamic Republic of Iran?

      Because Absolute Power plus Utter Righteousness is a REAL scary combination.

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  5. I'm with you on this one. The first thing that came to mind when I read this post was the verse referring to "take the plank out of your eye before trying to take the speck out of your brothers" (or something like that, it's been awhile. There are SO Many other things I think Christians should be focusing on rather than trying to prevent gays from getting marriage. What I see is hypocritical actions - how many of those people loudly protesting that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry have a friendly relationship with someone who identifies as homosexual, or even bisexual? Are they comfortable interacting with transexuals? This kinda hits a sore spot with me... I better stop ranting now...

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    1. I know Christians who would not feel comfortable interacting with anyone other than heterosexuals. Too bad. That is their loss.

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  6. Recovering PhariseeNovember 7, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Amen! This was/is a HUGE issue for me too. I wonder how many "closeted Christians who have compassion for gay people" there are out there. I've become much more vocal on this issue now that I've left my old church. It's still risky though, in most Christian circles to touch this one.

    What it comes down to for me is, do you (the hypothetical Christian who is adamently againsy gay marriage) have any genuine friends who are gay? Do you see them as more than the sexual idenity label they wear (or perhaps even flaunt)? Do you see your sin as not as bad as theirs?

    I have several friends who are gay. Like, real friends. Who I talk about real life with. Most of them are so put off by the hypocrisy in churches that they won't touch christianity with a ten foot pole. Not because they are anit-Jesus, or anti-family or whatever other paranoia people have. Because they have been majorly burned by some hateful comment by someone in their life who professes to believe in God.

    I am more and more comfortable with my stand on this issue: that personally, I believe what God's word says about homosexuality. I also believe God's word about my own sin, and about the importance of showing love and mercy.

    Another thing, why is homosexuality viewed as so threatening to society but the divorce rate among Christians is identical to nonChristians, and that is considered private choice in the legal realm?

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    1. I am a sinner. We are all sinners. What is with the discrimination? I seem to be losing my tolerance towards intolerant Christians.

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    2. Julie: I agree. I am so tired of the self-righteousness of some Christians. It turns me off and I am a Christian. I shudder to think what it does to a non-believer.

      I hear and feel very little love from these intolerant Christians.

      IMO they missed the most important parts of Jesus message-to love others as he has loved us.

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    3. Tom, that last line: "to love others. . . " seems to be absent in so many areas where church has failed and is such a foundational issue.

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    4. Headless Unicorn GuyNovember 9, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Another thing, why is homosexuality viewed as so threatening to society but the divorce rate among Christians is identical to nonChristians, and that is considered private choice in the legal realm?

      Because Homosexuality is The Other Guy's Sin, and Homosexuals are The Other.

      But divorce? Keep that escape route open; never know when YOU might personally need it!

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    5. @Julie Anne:
      You wrote "I am a sinner. We are all sinners". I want to challenge that. Actually, I would like to suggest that this is a like Satan tells us to keep us in bondage. Also a like religion tells us to keep us tied to it.

      Before everyone freaks out here is my explanation:

      2 Cor 5:17 - If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation. The old has passed, the new has come.

      If you are "in Christ", you have moved from being a sinner or a part of this world to being an adopted child of God.

      Yes, we still sin but sin doesn't control us (unless we let it). It is our identity in Christ that is important. The more we are told we are "sinners" the more we are beat back into the mold of the world. I've been told this is pop psychology but read Col, 3:1-5.

      We need to keep our eyes fixed "on things above". We get dragged down to the worlds level so frequently.

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    6. Joel - Sorry I didn't respond earlier - I've been out at my daughter's volleyball game and my phone hasn't had great reception in the gym. Perhaps I should have worded it: I am prone to sin - we're all prone to sin.

      Thank you for the reminder that I am an adopted child of God. That is such a beautiful illustration of God's love for me.




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  7. This is one of those issues that rankles me to no end, partly because it is so personal, but partly because too many Christian's (and their churches) are hypocrites in this area.

    Christians, overall, have become entirely too soft on divorce and remarriage in the past century. What was once rare has become commonplace. Let me be clear, there are times when a divorce should occur, and one should indeed be counselled toward divorce by their pastor. I am specifically thinking about serial infidelity in a marriage, abandonment, and egregious cases of abuse. But in far too many divorces I've been privy to, neither of those elements played a role. It was more of a rough patch in the marriage; instead of getting some sandpaper (good counseling), the couple opted for the sledgehammer (divorce attorneys) instead. Far too often, churches turn a blind eye to this behavior, or worse, encourage it.

    We have one of the biggest critics of gay marriage legislation in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church officially proclaims, "one man, one woman, for life" and boldly sets herself up as a defender of traditional marriage. Yet the Catholic divorce rate is over 50%, and, it is relatively easy to be "remarried" as a Catholic through an annulment process, which declares that your original marriage "never existed" in the eyes of God. The ways that a marriage can be declared as never having existed are as wide as they are ambiguous. This includes a Catholic marrying outside the Catholic Church (it must be a Catholic ceremony for it to be valid), psychological issues, and even "immaturity" of one of the spouses at the time of the wedding. And yet, these same people with psychological and maturity "defects" (as they are called) are allowed to contract marriage again and again within the Catholic church. Read Sheila Kennedy's book, "Shattered Faith" if you want to see the inward workings of the annulment process.

    Which leads to my final point: Perhaps the greatest abuses of the sanctity of marriage occur before the wedding. By this I refer to the great lack of marital preparation by many pastors. I believe if many couples laid a solid foundation of seeking (and heeding) good counsel before the marriage, many of the problems that lead to divorce could be greatly overcome within the marriage.

    Gay marriage is a scourge on society. But so is the divorce epidemic amongst Christians. My earnest plea to Christians and churches of all denominations is simply to clean up their own house first before trying to clean up someone else's. To do anything less than this is to play the role of the hypocrite.



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    1. Matthias: That is exactly why I was ranting yesterday - the hypocrisy of it all. It doesn't only apply to marriage/divorce/gay marriage issue. I also have issue with pro-life people who are hypocritical. If you're going to rant about these issues as if they mean so much to you, what are you doing to show that it means something? Are you helping pregnant mothers in practical ways? Where are you putting your $$? To me, the love of Christ is being the hands/feet of Jesus.

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    2. I like the way you put this, Julie Anne.

      There's nothing inherently wrong with the "March for Life" or supporting pro-life candidates. But for far too many, these two items are the exclusive means by which they identify themselves as being "pro-life." But let's be clear: Neither of these has led to an overturn of Roe v. Wade. Infact, we can say that abortion laws have become less restrictive since then. Nor have either provided for the needs of women who have found themselves in an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

      Let me share this story with you. I read an article some years back about a Catholic couple who married and decided before the marriage that rather than bringing more children into the world, they would forego the "marital act", and instead adopt children. They saw that as their personal ministry. I related this story to an acquaintance, who immediately piped in "but they're not really married" (consummation of the marriage is required for validity within the Catholic Church). Instead of seeing the beautiful thing these two people had done, this person chose to focus on the "irregularity" of this couple's relationship. I wasn't recommending that this person do this, nor would I recommend that most couples do this. But that doesn't take away from the beautiful, pro-life example.

      It's time for people to stop voting with their mouth, and start voting with their actions in a real and substantive way that shows both love toward God and love toward neighbor. Otherwise it would be better for them to just shut up.

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    3. Wow - I love that this couple decided to adopt and that is a great pro-life example. I get your illustration.

      But I sure hope that couple eventually got around to enjoying the gift of marriage - sex and all - for their adopted children's sake. It's definitely scriptural about the coming together as husband and wife in the union of sex. This act brings the couple together, strengthens marriage so that they can be united as a husband/wife team. Adopt kids, yea, but HAVE SEX! :)

      Coming from my Catholic background - we were taught Natural Family Planning NFP before marriage (sympto-thermal method of tracking ovulation by observing woman's fertility signs - not talking rhythm method AT ALL). This is pretty much the only accepted form of "birth control" in the Catholic church - and even in that NFP class, taught by staunch Catholics, we were told that to abstain was only for a season of fasting/prayer. This is Catholic teaching AND is found in the Bible as well.

      So that couple needs to turn in their coupon to get the full-meal deal: kids AND sex = family/marriage :)



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    4. "egregious cases of abuse".....what kind of abuse is not egregious, exactly?

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  8. A related issue is the use of the term "the gay (or homosexual) life style". I do not know what that means. Compare: "The heterosexual lifestyle". Does that include the "players", men who are out to see how many women they can bed in their lifetime? Does that include serial marriage? Does that include spousal abuse? What about pedophilia? Should we be condemning or condoning the "heterosexual lifestyle"?
    There are many different homosexual lifestyles, from monogamous lifetime commitments to the bathhouse culture (which has been decimated, btw, by HIV).
    In the first century, many local cultures included married men keeping a teenage or young adult male as a sex partner and mentee, and sex with the spouse was solely for the purpose of procreation. Perhaps that was what Paul was writing against.

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    1. Arce - I was not aware of that history in the first century. I learn so much from readers. That would really put certain verses in a different light.

      And when you mentioned the term "the gay (or homosexual) life style" - that reminded me that I should have re-read Dee's post about correct terminology. I would not like to offend anyone with my wording. If I have used words that are offensive - I hope people would feel the freedom to let me know (publicly or privately - makes no difference). I'm a work in progress.

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  9. Julie Anne, thank you for this blog. I am so tired of "Christian leaders" using homosexuality as a reason for hysteria. They rant about how it is destroying the sanctity of marriage, but never talk about adultery. That destroys more marriages than homosexuality. In my own marriage, it was my now ex-husband's serial cheating that caused our divorce. It was very painful to me and to our children who couldn't understand why their dad was living with another woman and wanted them to love her as another mom. I have conservative christian friends who go ballistic about gays, but shrug off the destructiveness of adultery. Okay, off my soapbox. Thanks again.

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    1. Kate: Please don't get off your soapbox. And - - in fact, if you'd like to type up your story, I'd like to post it. Your story is not pretty, but it is the reality of so many people in so many churches and it's time to quit faking it. I want my blog to represent the real deal. Please think about it. We can talk more if you e-mail me. bgbcsurvivors@gmail.com

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  10. What about the destruction to marriages of all shapes and ages when available internet pornography takes hold in the hidden darkness in the home. The destruction to the marriage covenant is evident and devastating.

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    1. You are so right, Barb. That is definitely another marriage destroyer. I have heard more about porn from the pulpit than adultery. I wonder why that is?

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    2. Headless Unicorn GuyNovember 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      Same reason Rush Limbaugh was Number-One Fanboy of the War on Drugs while fighting a secret Oxycontin addiction?

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  11. I cannot tell you how much I love you! I have never believed in legislating morality. My friends' common response that gays will ruin the sanctity of marriage is that homosexuality doesn't ruin marriage, divorce ruins marriage.

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    1. I have to tell you, Shakes - about 3 hrs went by before there was one comment on this article and because it is controversial, I was wondering if I just lost all my readers - lol. I have decided that if something is gnawing at my heart so strongly, I'm just going to say it. And I hope my readers feel the same here because so many of you fuel my posts (as you well know!).

      I don't have all the right answers and I'll bet if someone checked my posts from the beginning of the blog until now, they might see how my views/opinions have changed. I am a work in progress. I like the challenge and good debate - even if people don't agree with me. I might even change my mind. I've learned so much through this process.

      The mother I was when Hannah was a kid is a different mother today. Poor Hannah!

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    2. "Legislating morality"... yet another beef I have with the Religious Right. For myself, I can't see how restrictions on homosexual marriage can be defended, except on moral or religious grounds. And neither of those is the purview of a secular state.

      The attempt by so many conservative Christians to force Christian morality (or their version of it) on nonbelievers contradicts one of the basic truths of the gospel... that a relationship with God must start from within. No one can made holy by a bunch of laws and rules.

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    3. Serving - This reminds me of an article I read today. The laws and rules don't mean a thing if they don't get it in their heart first.

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  12. I'm glad to read so many responses in support on this subject. Equality does not threaten the sanctity of my marriage at all. Now "The Bachelor", "The Bachelorette", "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" (although I think that one died off, I don't watch Fox much these days), this month's Kardashian Wedding Special 2 Hour Event..........those are a different story!

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    1. ^^^ HA True story - - ack that room thingy at the end on the Bachelor/Bachelorette. I 'bout died the first time I saw that. Good grief, hmm, eenie, meenie, miney, moe, which one of the three do I want after sleeping with them. ewwwwwwwwww

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    2. Headless Unicorn GuyNovember 9, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Whichever was the best lay?

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  13. Headless Unicorn GuyNovember 9, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    I'm struck that so much attention gets put on topics like gay marriage.

    Based on what they KNOW is IMPORTANT, a lot of Christians (at least the political activist kind) seem to be more genteel versions of Fred Phelps.

    Are we to be the morality police for unbelievers?

    After Taking Back America and Establishing a Christian Nation, YES. "With stake and faggots." (Or the whips they use in Saudi. Or the piles of rocks they use in Talibanistan.)

    This is the kind of question that has been floating around in my mind. Do we as Christians have the marriage thing down and model Christ in our marriages so that we have the right to to look down and judge others who don't believe the same way we do?

    You mean that high divorce rate among Christian(TM) marriages?

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  14. A few years ago I was dealing with a social issue that caused me to make contact with pastors all over the county in which I live. I stopped by one of the larger Baptist churches in my home town hoping to find the pastor in his office. He was gone, but I waited for his secretary to contact him.

    I noticed they had a hand-out (maybe for converts). I read through it briefly as I waited. Pastor RAILED against the gays big time! On and on it went. Later I told my wife, "Ya know, this is a small town in Indiana, I doubt if he has ever had a gay person walk into his church. For sure they are NOT welcome. And he wanted to make that really clear!

    My mind drifted back to my school days when kids would make fun of the kid with the glasses, or the overweight kid. I said, "It's easy to pick on the underdog, especially when he/she is not around."

    I have more trouble with the hate-mongers than I do gay people. How about that Westboro Baptist Church?

    BTW, pastor of that Baptist church never found time to meet with me. The issue was not of interest to him.... (It was not a spiritual issue, but a health issue... He didn't care.)

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    1. Where's the love, huh, Sheep-Dog? Some people get confused between hating the sin and the sinner. What a shame.

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