Tag Archives: gay marriage

Photographing a Gay Wedding . . .

3 Mar

Photographing a Gay Wedding . . .

Ross Douthat is an excellent editorialist and social commentator.  

He analyzes both sides of the gay marriage controversy with clear-eyed clarity.  

When A Fundamentalist Loves a Gay Person . . .

28 Feb

I had an hour-long discussion online with one of my college friends the other night.

It was an amazing exchange.  I think I cried the entire time. 

Maybe my friend did, too.

You see, I am a fundamentalist Christian.  A Baptist.  I believe God inspired every word of the Bible, in its original languages, and that God never changes.

My friend Scott, while having been married to a woman in a relationship that produced four children, now identifies as a gay man and is in a gay marriage up in Canada.

Our conversation, carried out in public on his Facebook page, concerned the issue of states trying to pass laws to protect business owners from being compelled to serve as photographers, florists, or bakers for gay weddings. 

We differed on that issue.  However, the amazing aspect of our conversation that I haven’t seen in any other exchange thus far is that we both understood the viewpoint of the other and could explain it, while disagreeing with it. 

That, and the fact that we held our entire exchange with the respect due between old friends, never once slipping into snarkiness to score a cheap shot, as such public conversations always seem to do eventually. 

Scott was once a pastor.  He can explain many of my theological points just as well as I can.  He just has different beliefs now.

And while I could explain that Christians cannot be separated into parts so that they can leave their beliefs about gay marriage at church and live out another reality during the week, I also could totally understand that Scott cannot be separated into parts either. 

He perceives that a company refusing to photograph his wedding earlier this year would have been exercising discrimination against a relationship that he regards as just as legitimate as a heterosexual marriage.  Even if it were my company and he could understand intellectually why I hesitated to photograph his ceremony, the refusal would still hurt him.

In fact, when he saw my original post about photographers who only wish to shoot heterosexual marriages, it distressed him so much that he was distracted at work for the rest of the day. 

And that made me sad at such an elemental level that I not only cried as we communicated, but I felt as though I were going to throw up.  I would not hurt a beloved friend like that for any amount of money. 

Only I did.

We went through a lot of theological scenarios.  And I reiterated that, just as I cannot be divided into parts, and Scott cannot be divided into parts, so the Saviour and His Scriptures cannot be divided into parts.  It would be so much easier if we could just do that, or if we could de-emphasize the parts of Scripture with which we have a hard time. 

But such is the integrity with which man and woman have been created, modeled on the integrity of God Himself, that we cannot be divided.  One part of us, whether sexuality or religious beliefs, can’t be given a lower priority than another part.

They all make up the essence of who we are.  Therefore, it feels like a wrenching inside of us when someone else, even a beloved friend, would suggest that we can just leave an essential part of ourselves behind.   

There are no easy answers here, folks.  I know that Scott and I are both still works in progress.  God never changes but we are undoubtedly not now the people we will be when we die. 

In the meantime, however, I believe we are the very best kind of people to talk publicly about this issue because we love someone deeply who is on the opposite side of the issue.

I would say this discussion needs to be conducted with tears running down both faces.  Until that happens, we are not truly listening, we are not truly understanding what that other person, also made in the image of God, is trying to convey.  

There are no easy answers here.  I understand that, by the mere suggestion that a gay friend would consider celibacy to honor God’s image in him, I have asked of him one of the hardest things to do and one that would be nigh on impossible for me as a married woman. 

If I don’t see that, I could be guilty of the most obstinate hypocrisy—expecting others to obey God on a much more elemental level than I myself am willing to do. 

What hard things am I willing to do to honor God?  It is a fair question and one I hope gay people will feel free to ask of their fundamentalist friends. 

May we long continue this conversation as a respectful and loving dialogue. 

I love you, Scotto.



Happy Valentine’s Day, Virginia!

14 Feb

Happy Valentine's Day, Virginia!

So much has changed since yesterday in the state of Virginia, but yet so much remains the same.

The gospel of Jesus Christ still remains the antidote for the sin problem of the entire human race. Our problem with anger, our problem with selfishness, our problem with sexual sin, our problem with wanting to make a name for ourselves independent of God, and independent of the design and plan He built into the human race.

When Jesus came, during the Roman Empire, He defined marriage as between one man and one woman for life. So many of us nowadays fall woefully short of His definition.

Jesus then went on to concentrate on bringing the gospel, His good news, to broken, sinful people.

He did not rage against the machine.

He didn’t preach against the polygamy that was occurring in every part of the Roman Empire except Israel at that time.

He didn’t preach against the marriages that were marriages in name only, to produce heirs, while the men involved in them carried on with dozens of other women, or men, or young children.

Jesus addressed sin as sin; He addressed sinners as sinners. Yet He did more. He loved sinners. Often they received His love. They were then loved back into wholeness by the very Son of God!

Jesus is still doing that only . . . He is using the hands and feet and hearts of people who are alive in Him on earth right now. His Holy Spirit empowers us to love sinners and to lead them to Christ, that the Holy Spirit may dwell in them, too, breaking the hold of sin over their lives, as He has broken the hold of sin over our lives.

John, the Apostle of love, writes often of how Jesus said that that would be the only way the world around us would know that God is real and that He is love–when they see our love for each other and for lost people around us.

That is God’s plan for redeeming a lost world. Us. So we had better take it seriously.

Remember, the only time anyone ever threw a sexual sinner on the floor in front of our Saviour, He told her He did not condemn her.

And to go and sin no more!

That is our message for a broken world, and our message for Virginia today.


Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, Will Be in the History Books on Gay Marriage

30 Jan

Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, Will Be in the History Books on Gay Marriage

Our attorney general, Mark Herring of Virginia, knows history. 

He knows that the 1967 Loving vs. Virginia case pitted our state against the U.S. Supreme Court. We were ruled to be wrong in our miscegenation laws which forbade “interracial marriage” (in quotes because the concept of races is, itself, a modern concept traceable to Darwin).  

Virginia was wrong in that case.  Virginia came down on the wrong side of history.  

Mark Herring is determined that that won’t happen again.  After being elected to uphold the laws of Virginia as attorney general, he has decided, within his first month of office, that the Virginia state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, established by popular vote in 2006, must be set aside.  

Mark Herring has joined forces with two men in Norfolk who have filed suit to gain the right to marry in Virginia.  

Mark Herring believes that this time Virginia will be on the right side of history.  He believes that the U.S. Supreme Court may use the Virginia case, which might be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, to pave the way for gay marriage in all 50 states.  

Mark Herring is seeing his legacy in the history books here.  The man who bucked a constitutional amendment in his own state to open the way for the South to recognize gay marriage, then for the rest of the country to have it be established by law.  

That will probably be how it plays out.  Really!

There is no shame in recognizing what the playbook looks like.  

God told us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. We have to realize that the pull of popular opinion leads many to try to cement their “legacy” rather than to look to God’s Word to see what is right. After all, we teach that all that stuff can be repented on one’s deathbed, right? So someone can both gain a legacy by opposing God’s ways, then renounce it during his last moments on earth and . . . be in a win-win situation. Or so it seems to man . . .  

It is possible to realize that, while God’s view of homosexuality has not changed (because He loves homosexuals and has something better for them than giving in to urges that will only harm them in the end), humans will regard Mark Herring as being on the right side of history.

He will do what, to humans, will seem to be the heroic, loving thing to do.  

Even now, eight years after Virginia’s constitutional amendment, at least one poll shows that a majority would vote to allow gay marriage in 2014.  

Being on the right side of history in a republic has a lot to do with going with popular desire.

But being on the right side of history as God views it is a totally different thing.  

We will not be on the side of righteousness when we legalize gay marriage.  

I believe we will legalize it, but God’s Word and God’s standards will not change.

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