Thursday, June 26, 2014

why the church shouldn't fight gay marriage

Many people will disagree with this post. Hopefully there will also be many who agree or are at least willing consider this perspective. And why even post something when I know there will be a large number who disagree and want to debate? My purpose is not to stir things up. I don’t want to start debates. I’m not looking to cause problems. But, I do believe my thoughts are worth sharing. These are my thoughts and my opinions. No, I don’t have it all figured out and I don’t have all the answers. And there is very little I am 100% certain of. But my thoughts matter. And this subject is important to me. I sincerely hope that someone may benefit from me voicing my thoughts. Maybe it will be the words you’ve been looking for but didn’t know how to say. Maybe it will cause you to reconsider your current viewpoint. Maybe you won’t change your viewpoint but can still respect mine. That’s why I even bother writing a post that I know people might want to argue with me on. If even one person can benefit from me speaking up, it’s worth it.

The number one reason I hear (perhaps even the only reason?) for people being against gay marriage is because they say it is not biblical. It usually comes from the church, of course, because only those claiming Christianity would even care if something is biblical. But let me ask the church this— are you really fighting for biblical marriage? The church says same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legal because it’s not biblical. Let’s start with why that even matters. My opinion— it doesn’t. We are not a Christian nation. Why does the church expect the entire country to follow their rules and adhere to the Christian religion? Religious groups can believe whatever they want about homosexuality and marriage, but should not expect people who do not claim their religion to follow it. (Also, I should note, I realize there are christians and churches that accept homosexuality and support gay marriage. In this post, when I say “christian” and “church”, I am simply referring to the vast majority that do not.) The bible is against divorce, yet I don’t hear churches fighting to make divorce illegal. I haven’t seen pickets outside of courthouses to make gluttony illegal. The bible speaks SO OFTEN about giving to the poor and caring for the needy, yet churches aren’t fighting to make it mandatory that we do so. WHY? Besides the fact that the church picks and chooses what it feels is important and worth fighting for from the bible, I think the church knows it can’t expect everyone to follow their guidelines and standards. So why expect it with marriage?   I’ve heard it said that marriage is defined by God, and that’s why the church fights for biblical marriage laws. If it’s a sacred religious ceremony to you, I support that. I don’t want to take away your biblical idea of marriage. But then, the thing is, we need different words. “Marriage” is just an English word. And when the bible was translated to English, it was stuck in there. I haven’t researched the history or origin of the word, but I don’t want to get into that— just stick with me. My point is that it’s just a word. We decide what words mean and how to use them. Not everyone views marriage, even straight marriage, as a sacred religious ceremony. Why is the issue of gay marriage the only time I hear the church fighting for biblical marriage? Why isn’t the church fighting to make all marriages that are not biblical illegal? People get married all the time that are not religious. Should atheist not be allowed to get married? If the church is worried about profaning their sacred, biblical ceremony of marriage, we simply need different words for it. Everyone deserves the same legal rights that come with a marriage union. Everyone deserves to be able to have that union. But not everyone sees that marriage union as defined and established by God. Again, why is gay marriage the only time the church is worried about a marriage not being biblical? I’ve never heard a peep or seen a petition or picket sign with concern for marriage not being biblical regarding any other issue. 

So that’s why I ask this question to the church— are you really fighting for biblical marriage? If so, you’ve got more work to do outside of gay marriage. Or maybe, just maybe, we could agree that everyone deserves the same legal rights, regardless of the fact that their religion or perspective differs from yours. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

perspective, attitude and poop

Our perspective influences our attitude. In fact, I would even say our perspective forms our attitude. How we see things determines our mood and outlook. And we tend to see things as if everyone is out to get us. That car that pulled out in front of me-- how dare they! I know they saw me coming, and they just pulled out anyway! @*#&!! $%@*!! We assume they intintionally pulled out in front of us. They probably did it solely to piss us off. We make it all about us. The car that cut us off. The noisy neighbors. The seemingly unfriendly cashier. The person holding up the line. The strict boss. We make it about us. And when we do this, when our perspective is all about how something will influence me, how it affects me, this usually leads to anger, jealousy, bitterness and hatred. We get angry at the car that pulls out in front of us because we only care about their actions in how they influence us (although, let's be honest, when they cut us off… it really, actually… didn't affect us… at all).

My dad and I recently took a trip to Houston, where my brother had moved just a few days before. My dad and I went to help him move in to his new apartment. As we were out and about a lot, running errands and purchasing things for the new place, we determined that Houston drivers are a bit crazy. Sometimes it was humorous. Sometimes it would piss us off. And all the time it left us saying, "What the…?!".

I don't remember the situation exactly, but I suppose someone cut us off. It was just one of those situations where you watch the other driver and wonder what the hell they're doing. After initially being frustrated, my brother finally says, "Well, maybe she had to poop really bad." From then on out, instead of getting frustrated when a driver cut us off or tailgated or sped past us, we would just assume that they probably had to poop really bad. And then how could we not be understanding? Their actions suddenly made much more sense with that perspective!

It's no fun to go through life constantly angry, frustrated, upset, jealous or assuming everyone is out to get you. It will lead to bitterness and hatred. This is something I've been learning over the past several years. It's a lesson life has tried to teach me many times and I didn't listen. I'm listening now. I'm trying to be teachable. I choose happiness. I choose joy. I choose to extend grace and forgiveness and understanding. It's not easy and I certainly don't have it perfected. It takes a conscious effort. It takes a conscious effort to make it not all about me. Maybe the noisy neighbors don't realize we can hear them. Maybe the seemingly unfriendly cashier is going through a divorce. Maybe the person holding up the line is flustered and distracted with the bad news they just received. Maybe the strict boss is struggling to hold it all together. And maybe the person in the car that cut us off just has to poop really bad.

When we make the effort to change our perspective, our attitude will, without a doubt, change. Not just our attitude in that moment, but in how we go through life. When we learn to let things go. When we realize the world is not out to get us. When we see things for more than just how they affect us, our attitude is better. Life is better.