(I apologize for this weeks post being late; I was sick since Friday.)
Last week I met with a pastor to talk about and schedule worship leadership by Faith - Hope - Love. We ended up talking about a lot of other things too. Even though we never met, we knew many of the same people in ministry. We also talked about the wonderful experiences we have had in ministry as well as the challenges we face.
One of the challenges he and his congregation is having is with marriage equality. Discussion of a pastor marrying gay and lesbian couples can be filled with strong feelings and heated arguments. I think much of that comes from preconceptions and stereotypes: people are turned gay and lesbian; gays and lesbians are promiscuous; gay men are pedophiles; homosexuality is a sin. Some who are opposed to gay and lesbian marriage believe at least one of these things.
I'm not going to hold back: I am for marriage equality and have no problem with pastor’s marrying a homosexual couple. I do not believe a pastor or a church should be forced to conduct a marriage ceremony for them though, but they should respect the legal rights that come with marriage.
Now let’s be more specific about the reasons given against same sex marriages. One of the “proof texts” used is from Genesis 2, the story of Adam and Eve: “It’s Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve”. First of all I look at this part of scripture as story (like a fable) not as history. The first sentence in this story begins “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’” Because the helper as a partner for Adam is Eve does that preclude that the helper as a partner for another is of the same sex? I have known many committed homosexual couples who would never think of being sexually unfaithful to their partners. Yes, there are others out there who are unfaithful, and some who are promiscuous. But the same can be said of heterosexuals. You just need to look at the popularity of the Ashley Madison site to know this is true. Heterosexual men and women prey on children of the opposite sex. In Matthew 19:6 Jesus says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Yet we accept divorce between heterosexuals as commonplace.
A common “proof text” against homosexuality in general comes from Genesis 19:1-11.
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the square.” But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.” Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they replied, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.
The ones that the men of Sodom came to rape were not men as the men of Sodom called them, but angels, messengers of God. Could this not be a story about the sin of attacking God’s angels instead of welcoming them, and not one against homosexuality? Why is there not any outcry for the sinfulness of Lot who offers his virgin daughters to be raped? Finally, the angels blind the men with light before they have a chance to do any harm to anyone in the house.
I leave it up to you to share and discuss these or other passages that you believe deal with the subject. My hope is that all people will come to see homosexuality as a part of nature and not a life style choice or sin. And I hope that we can celebrate when everyone finds there helper as a partner for life.
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