I’ve been debating on whether or not to publish this. Since the President announced that in his opinion he supports same sex marriage the echo chamber of the internet and social media has been in full effect. In our corner of the interwebs the usual suspects have denounced it and the usual suspects have embraced it. For something different and more thoughtful I would suggest this.
In the days preceding the President’s statement on ABC the momentum was obvious and I began to discuss this issue with several friends. One of them works for a Christian relief agency in the marketing/advocacy realm and in our conversation he said something that caught my attention and should catch yours.
You should have gotten into marketing, I wouldn’t want to be a pastor and have to deal with this for real.
His sarcasm betrays the truth. This is messy.
No matter where we land on this issue we cause division and pain. If we lean in agreement with the President we lose credibility to many in our communities. However if we disagree we alienate not only those who self-identify as homosexual but their families and friends that worship with us. While refusing to make a decision isn’t realistic for others.
We can avoid it in our sermons and in leadership, but what happens when two men or two women ask you to officiate their wedding. There is no hiding at this point.
The few times I have married couples I refrain from making references to a state or country giving me power to do so. I sign the wedding certificate at the reception making me a functionary of the state, but publicly I don’t give the state of Indiana the credit.
There have been times in my life when I have strongly opposed the separation of church and state, for most of my adult life though I have strongly embraced it.
I don’t want any government body or agency to have a say in how I live out my role as a pastor. So when I marry someone I don’t much care what the government thinks.
For the government marriage is a category for taxation.
For the church marriage is a sacrament.
I am fine with those two coexisting.
I see a time when I counsel engaged couples to pay a visit to the courthouse and to let our holy ceremony and celebration to be separate. This is where I see myself pragmatically landing.
We can debate and yell and scream all we want, but in the end the question really is who has given you the power and authority to say: “I now pronounce you…”?