Thursday, May 10, 2012

Marriage for All!

Yesterday President Obama announced that he had evolved further and now openly supports gay marriage.  I may be paraphrasing wrongly, of course.  I've now likely heard paraphrases of the paraphrases.

My heart sank, not because I'm unhappy with his evolution, but because I knew that his announcement will bring out the Christians that I'd like to not have associated with me or my beliefs.

You know the ones:  the ones that always seem to be photographed when they look angry and hateful. If, as the old song from the 1970's is right, they will know we are Christians by our love, we won't be seeing much of that in evidence in the Christians who are going to get air time in the next few days.


I would like to see people who would talk about marriage as a sacrament, as a way we see a visible sign of God's invisible grace.  Why should we deny our homosexual brothers and sisters that sacrament?

I know, I know, I'm a Lutheran, and my church doesn't see marriage as a sacrament.  My church is wrong.

Nothing else has helped me understand God's love for me the way my spouse's love for me has.  I make mistakes, and he forgives me.  He forgives me, even though he knows I will likely make the same mistakes again and again.  I do the same for him.  He sees me--the best me, the worst me--as I truly am, and he loves me.  Largely, he loves me not because of my anything I might say or do to convince him, but because he knows me.

Yes, my vision of Christians invading the airwaves to talk about marriage as sacrament will not happen.  I understand how news coverage works.  Angry Christians make better TV than grace-soaked Christians.  Alas.

Maybe we could talk about how we, as a nation, talk a good talk about the sanctity of marriage, but our actions belie our blathering talk.  Look at our divorce rates, our domestic violence rates, and then come back to me for a discussion of the sanctity of marriage.

I hope that conservatives like David Brooks get more airtime.  He wrote one of the better essays about marriage that I've ever read.  He says, "Few of us work as hard at the vocation of marriage as we should. But marriage makes us better than we deserve to be. Even in the chores of daily life, married couples find themselves, over the years, coming closer together, fusing into one flesh. Married people who remain committed to each other find that they reorganize and deepen each other's lives. They may eventually come to the point when they can say to each other: 'Love you? I am you.'''

He doesn't use the term "sacrament"--after all, he's writing for the secular The New York Times.  But he's talking in sacramental terms nonetheless.

He begins to conclude his piece by saying, "The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity."

Amen to that!  May it be so, for all of us, and sooner, rather than later.

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