I am getting really tired of emails telling me I should be all alarmed that the 'gay agenda' is going to take away all my rights? Come on people - the worst that can happen is the government backs out of charitable status for us. You know that might not be such a bad thing. Not that I think it could come to that, I mean think about this. Already we have historical precedence for not just marrying any Tom, Dick or Harry who comes into the church. Most of us like to get to know the folks we marry so that we can help them have the greatest chance of their marriage being a successful union. And by officiating we are standing with them in confidence that God will bless the union and that those present will also be along side for the journey to hold them up - cause marriage is sometimes really hard.
You know I am not convinced that marriage is such a "God ordained" deal. I mean really what we imply by the term marriage is the ritual that we religious folk have put around a civil legal contract. In biblical terms you shack up - you're married. Sure there is an evolution of ritual that surrounds marriage but that is our invention - not God's. God has an intent - He desires unions that are permanent and glorify His name. So I say in the eyes of the government - let everyone have legal marriage. Let's create a whole new ritual and be done with it.
I wrote about this in 2000 I think. Basically I feel that the majority of the Church is missing the boat on this and that the enemy is having a field day with getting us sidetracked from real Kingdom ministry. I reread that paper and it still reflects my thinking. It seems to reflect our percieved need to transform society - something that only God can do. What we need is not stronger right wing legislation - but rather people that will get on their knees and cry out to God. Folks that will go into the highways and biways and declare the Kingdom of God. People who refuse to let the culture of fear that plagues the church afflict them, and live in the joy of the Kingdom of God, faithfully serving their God.
The question might be in your mind as to where I stand on the homosexual issue. I admit in my paper I didn't take a clear stance. I really struggle with the whole issue in my heart. I have had the privelege of many gay friends over the years - and some of these folks have been very dear to me. Let me answer by showing how my struggles work out in my thoughts on marriage.
I don't believe that just because a couple is gay they shouldn't be able to marry like everyone else. I think that there can be a committed loving relationship between a gay couple. However, I have a few issues that would prevent me from in good conscience officiating such a union.
First, I am not convinced that this is God's best for people - having a gay identity that is. I haven't met every homosexual person out there but I have yet to meet one that didn't have obvious deep sexual brokenness (BTW most heterosexuals also have this brokeness) that needed to be addressed. What happens if at some point this brokeness is healed and a partner in such a union decides that their sexual identity was based on their brokeness. That would lead to a crisis of relationship I would rather avoid. I would do the same for a heterosexual couple that I was preparing for marriage and brokeness became evident. My advise would be to deal with the brokeness and then see where things stand. I believe in the sanctity of marriage - and like God, I am not a fan of divorce.
Second, I am not sure that the God, whom I serve, would really bless such a union. And for me I am not simply performing a legal solemnization of a union - this is an intensely religious affair. I want to bring God into it. I was asked to marry two non-Christian friends of mine (heterosexual couple) and ended up not continuing past the initial preperation because they were not comfortable with how much I felt I needed to bring God into the picture. You know I did want to stand with them - I did go to their wedding and even though they have moved to another city we still keep in touch. But they were better served by the non-religious officiator. I would rather ditch the legal aspect of marriage than have the rite reduced to a secular affair. If someone wants the legal side they could easily do that seperately - it is only paper. What makes a relationship last is a covenant (committment) and a lot of hard work.