The Supreme Court of the United States made official what I think most people have been feeling for years. Marriages can legally occur in the US between two people of the same sex. I was so confident that they would do just that, that I actually wrote this the day before oral arguments are heard.
It’s amazing how quickly national opinion has swung on this issue. I suspect that it’s been a combination of brilliant marketing, clever moral arguments, and the power of the media to convey those things. Look, if the President that is (according to my most vitriolic of right-wing friends) “THE MOST SOCIALIST LIBERAL EVARRRRRR!” could enter the presidency saying he thought marriage was between a man and a woman and then have no choice but to flip flop a few years later, you know things have shifted very quickly. Now? I imagine no liberal candidate and many a conservative candidate won’t hesitate to speak their affirmation of that idea. Could a candidate from President Obama’s party get the nomination if they affirmed traditional marriage only? I sincerely doubt it. Will the opposing party put forth such a candidate? Again, I’m skeptical. That’s how quickly the popular landscape has shifted. The Supreme Court decision is merely the capstone of the movement.
Of course, we may be entering into the “clean up” phase of the movement. Ideological enforcers have been out and about for a while, policing the positions of state governments and corporate heads and, most pressingly, small business owners who don’t feel comfortable baking cakes or taking photos or…. making pizzas? Those villains, icons of oppression that they are, are being knocked out one by one due to the overwhleming power of social media and the modern need to be a part of something important. I find this phase of the gay marriage movement the most annoying, to be honest. I mean, I get it. I think there’s part righteous rage, part vengeance. I get the motivation for both. But I find it repulsive how we almost universally recognize that Twitter and Facebook are two places to find some of the worst of humanity, but we’re absolutely comfortable with how it catapaults moral crusades of this or that kind. People want to give themselves over to a righteous crusade and Twitter makes them easy. So why not crush the little business who someone sought out to force the issue of gay marriage? (Would I bake a cake, by the way? I guess I would. I’d make clear what I believe but then I’d try to bake them the best possible cake I could if they wanted me to, even though they knew I was opposed to their wedding. I mean if they want it THAT bad…)
The legalities of it don’t really bother me. We’re only formalizing what many people my age already believe: People should be allowed to do what they want. As a Christian, of course, I’m fundamentally opposed to that rationale. We can argue about “clobber verses” in the Old Testament (the canon which Jesus not only repeatedly affirms but intensifies) and the New Testament (which are pretty clear on the issue too). But we don’t even have to talk about the specifics of homosexuality in the Bible to find the rationale (“do what feels right!”) for the movement to be Biblically unsatisifying. The Corinthians pretty much threw that one at Paul (“The stomach was made for food!”) and he shrugged it off. Who cares about what’s natural to you? You were made for something else.
And look, I get why that’s so offensive and not compelling. If our moral universe isn’t mutually centered around Jesus, I have no problem understanding why we would disagree on sexuality or any other issue. It’s not surprsing to me. And I don’t hate you for it. If you think Jesus was just some dude… yeah, man. Do whatever you want. I don’t think it’s good for you or right for you. But Jesus is just a dude! The conversation amongst Christians is more complicated and more serious. I’m not really getting into that right now, though.
I teach an Old Testament Survey course to college students and one of my primary points when covering the Law is that God is very clear in his aims with the people of Israel. He wants them to be weirdos. He has them do strange things with food and work and festivals and clothes. It’s strange. And he just owns it all the time. He wants the PEOPLE to own it too. “Guys! You’re weird! I WANT you to be weird!” I think that maybe American Christians have gotten a bit too comfortable with being the majority. Stats can tell you that Christianity is the majority religion in America, but if you start to clarify that belief with a few simple questions about going to church more than twice a year and beliving simple things about Jesus (did he rise from the dead?), that number plummets. Christians are becoming more and more strange in America.
And you know what? I’m cool with it. The Supreme Court defines marriage differently than me? Ok. They’re not a court of the Church. They’re a civil court. I’m not surprised when not-God’s-kingdom acts like not-God’s-kingdom. We don’t get to be as acceptable and comfortable anymore. Is that really such a bad thing? We’ll just hunker down with Jesus and stick with him. And oh by the way, I feel pretty good about his title: Lord of the universe. I don’t think any court can take that away.
So we’re getting weirder and weirder around here. It’s fine. Jesus is worth being weird over. I don’t hate the people who hate what I believe on this issue or any other issue. I love them. I don’t want, more than anything, for them to believe the way I do about sexual differentiation in marriage. I want, more than anything, for them to know and love Jesus. He’s the best. He really is. I feel so confident about that. Jesus is the best. I can’t wait for people to meet him. I love the people around me who might despise or mistrust what I believe. They’re wonderful God-imagers with terrific hopes and dreams. I hope they finally see them in light of Jesus and see them set ablaze with light and love that comes from God’s face.
We’re weird? It’s ok. We’re unacceptable? It’s ok! Maybe people will forget about us for a bit and see Jesus just a little bit better. Jesus is who they need to see.
He’s the best.
Note: I wrote this weeks and weeks ago. I was waiting to publish it until today. I couldn’t exactly remember what I wrote. It’s funny, though. I almost posted a Facebook status that said some of the same stuff. Christians are weird. We disagree with civil government sometimes. People don’t like us for how we’re different. It’s all okay. Maybe us being weirdos will help people see Jesus more clearly. I’m not worried about my marriage or anything like that. I still just believe that Jesus is the best. I hope everyone knows him and loves him more dearly, whether you liked this decision or not.