Sunday, August 20, 2006

homosexuality and polygamy

With religious right fundamentalists and folks like Dr. James Dobson crying out against gay marriage, it has been in vogue in liberal circles, and many times the Emergent Church, to support gay marriage. The hope of many emergent Christians is that by allowing gay marriage, the Christian community will show the love of Christ to many in the homosexual community.

I sympathize with this line of thinking, while I don't necessarily agree. My hope is that the gay community would begin to experience the love of Christ and would reflect that in the way they operate in their relationships. My hope for gays who become followers of Christ is that they begin to live out a God honoring sexuality. But a new twist in current events has revealed the problem of gay marriage in a very real way.

I don't believe homosexuality is what God intended in His creation. Some of my friends don't believe active homosexuality is sinful. But regardless of all of the moral disagreement behind the issue, the legal question still stands. Should gay marriage be legal? For it to be legal, the definition of marriage has to change. Once that happens, who else do we "legalize?"

This past Saturday a rally was held in Utah in favor of polygamy. Polygamy is against the law in the U.S. But have we ever asked ourselves why? Most of us have just taken it for granted that polygamy is not right. But who says it's not right? And who's definition of "right and wrong" do we go with? Here is an article which describes the rally.

If we change the definition of marriage, what do we change it to? If you have ever seen Jerry Springer, you can imagine that there are different kinds of "marriages" that people would like to take place other than just polygamy or homosexuality. How do we know what to allow "in" as marriage and what to outlaw? My guess is that many feminists in the N.O.W. march in rallies for gay rights and gay marriage. And yet many of those same activists are appalled at polygamy, claiming that it is abusive and oppressive to the many wives who are involved. So the irony is that while they want to open the marriage door for gays and lesbians, they want polygamy to stay illegal.

So regardless of where you come out morally on homosexuality, the problem of gay marriage still stands. If we change the standard definition of marriage from what it has always been in the U.S., we would never be able to agree on what the new definition should be. New activists in every generation will rise up to claim their right for their own unique kind of "marriage." Should we allow anything to become a "marriage"? After all, who are we to "legislate morality?" Who are we to say marrying multiple wives is wrong? Who are we to say what someone can or can't do with their pet goat? Why should our morality matter at all when it comes to making laws?

Or, maybe we are called to draw the line. Maybe we are, as Christians, called to help manifest the Kingdom of God in our own culture, nation, and yes, laws. Maybe this means we advocate for a biblical view of marriage for our country and not be swept up in what's "politically popular" with our demographic.

8 Comments:

At 11:03 PM, Blogger The Confessor said...

thanks for your comment on my recent post. I would love to hear more about your ministry in the Baltimore area. Congrats on your recent marriage!

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Thanks confessor. I am really enjoying the married life.

Well, we are planting churches up here in the Baltimore area. So far two churches have been planted and I am a part of the second one.

We try to stay small. We try to get ride of hierarchy as much as possible. We try to love people well. We try to be creative with what resources we have. We try to multiply on all levels.

We usually do two staff per church. Right now I am the only staff at Horizon Church of towson, but that is likely to change in the future. I have a great team of small group leaders that helps to lead the community.

How about you? Where will your adventure take you next?

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger The Confessor said...

Currently, we're just exploring options, resting and being content with "wait and see". I just left a teaching pastor position in L.A., so the break after an intense season of ministry is a real blessing (as cheesy as that may sound, it really is a blessing). I really resonate with your description of what you are doing as a church planter. Having planted as well with what seems like a similiar approach to yours was an incredible chance to really clarify what I care about in ministry. Are you a non-denom or affiliated with a planting organization? How did you get the "itch" to plant?

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Horizon Church was started with funds from the Baptist Convention of Maryland.

We operate,however, more like a non-denominational church in the sense that we have folks from all kinds of different backgrounds at our church.

The way we understanding leadership, women in ministry, baptism and unity among believers is different than what most denominational baptist leaders would be comfortable with.

I began to get interested in church planting in seminary. Taking a church planting class helped to open my understanding of church. But mostly it was sitting around in coffee shops with my best friends dreaming about what church could be.

I had some connections to the guys who started the first Horizon church and so after seminary I jumped on board.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Mark,

Great words on the homosexuality issue. I found your site through emergingchurchblogs.info just randomly and decided to read your blog. I totally agree with your perspective. Thanks for putting it on the line like that and sharing.

Sincerely,
Josh
eternaldialogue@hotmail.com
http://www.eternaldialogue.blogspot.com

 
At 5:44 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

Mark,

I'm trying my hand at wordpress blogging. Here's the new site:

www.atthetable.wordpress.com

 
At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

Mark,

On the topic of gay marriages....

I flunctuate back and forth between your implied view on the issue and the "popular left opinion." While I'm always open to new evidence, so far my take on the issue biblically is that the marriage is a union that God intended to exist as coventant between a man and a woman. However, gay men and women who want to have a committed "marital" relationship to one another are going to have a "marriage" whether the government sanctions it or not. In a practical way, married homosexuals are asking for the same "rights and breaks" as heterosexuals. To deny them this almost seems un-american.

Not that I want to advocate for duplicity. (political me vs. spiritual me)

As for the other issues in defining marriage. Why not define it as a union between one person and another person. (Just for the sake of argument) Doesn't that take care of the polygamy issue?

 
At 7:06 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Jason,
I understand your delema. I feel that tention inside myself as well. So I am not against a civil union, if that is what it takes for "equal rights" to happen.

But even your revised definition of marriage is a problem. If we change the definition of marriage, we are moving from one standard to another. The question is, which "other standard" do we move to? Who's to say polygamy is wrong?

Why would anyone say its wrong? There are hundreds and maybe thousands of people in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (and probably across this nation) who believe polygamy is good and right. Why should we keep them from having the same rights as the rest of us? Who are we to judge their morality via "law"?

This is where I was getting at with my post. If we move from a biblical view of marriage (one man and one woman) then the door is open for any and all forms of "marriage."

If we changed it to "one person marrying another person" we are being oppressive against the rights of polygamists everywhere. And that seems un-American.

 

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