They say the best thing to write about is what you know. What I know, right now, in this moment, is that having the temperament of writer makes it undeniably impossible to live with myself at times. This weekend I needed to do a harsh edit on my current manuscript before I continued any further with it. Sounds easy. And yet Paul just had the privilege of witnessing me throw the damn thing down at my feet and go into a high pitched rant along the lines of it being the crappiest piece of writing that had ever been produced, and how a ten-year old could write a better story than I can, and I don’t know why I continue to waste my time. Which makes me wonder whether writer’s temperament may well be equally as hard on the people I live with. Note to self – maybe check in with how the husband is actually going of late.
I know myself well enough to know it is useless to fight against the demons of self-doubt when I get this way. I put the manuscript aside, sulked for a moment or two, and then shifted focus. Always the best remedy for me, give movement to negative energy. ‘I’m going to blog instead,’ I say to Paul. ‘About gay marriage.’ Because today I felt like living with reckless abandon, clearly.
Truthfully, I didn’t just pull this topic out of a hat. With the legalization of gay marriage in Ireland, my media feeds have been flooded with the subject. It’s been on my mind a lot and like all things I give extensive thought to, it was inevitable that I would eventually give voice to it.
There are a million different aspects I could address here. But I’m going to stick with just this one. Because this is the one I think matters the most. And because let’s face it, it’s the most controversial. And therefore the most interesting, she says with a wicked glint in her eye. Okay, back to being serious.
It’s the one where I’m a Christian. And I support gay marriage.
Now, I need to clarify something here. I stopped referring to myself as a Christian a number of years ago. I don’t like the term. I don’t like the way it is linked to religion and what that means in the world today. I don’t like the way it labels me and puts me in a box of pre-conceived ideas of who I should be and how I should act. I don’t like the way it turns people away before they even get to know me, based on their negative experiences of Christians in the past. I’ve been hurt and abused by the best of the Christian world. I’m equally as weary of those that call themselves Christians. Which is exactly why I don’t.
However, if you ask me what I believe, I’ll tell you that I dig the whole creation thing, I rest assured in the fact that I was fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose and a plan, and I’m pretty cool with JC and His love for me, that I neither deserve nor must strive to earn. So for the purpose of this blog and the shock factor of my earlier sentence, I’ll relent and refer to myself as a Christian.
It’s fair to say the biggest non-supporters of gay marriage are Christians, with a few traditionalists, homophobics, and Abbott supporters in there too, yeah? And so I’m writing as a minority. And as a person who is about to have even less friends after this blog gets published. But that’s okay. I’m not concerned with what you think of me. I’m concerned with where my heart lies in relation to the heart of Jesus.
Most Christians feel justified in their fight against gay marriage. I know this, because I was one of them for many years. But then I got to know what this Jesus dude was all about and I saw things very differently. There are so many verses in the Bible that can be used that clearly define homosexuality as a sin. Likewise, it is also a sin in the Bible to commit any act of sexual immorality, adultery, fornication, to steal, kill, slander, gossip, etcetera. I spent years listening to sermons on how all sin is equal in the eyes of God, no one sin is greater than another. And so it makes little sense to me why homosexuality is being targeted as the greatest sin that poses the biggest threat to our society if no sin is greater than another.
But this I can tell you. Gay marriage doesn’t threaten my marriage. Gay marriage doesn’t threaten my family unit. Gay marriage doesn’t threaten my children’s sexuality. Gay marriage doesn’t mean the demise of the family unit.
However, right now, thousands of children are hiding under their beds while their parents fight, listening to the cries of their mum as their dad beats her. I was one of those children.
Thousands of children are being torn apart with confusion and guilt over their parent’s divorce. I was one of those children.
Thousands of children are living with a single parent who cannot support their needs, and they are being neglected emotionally and physically. I was one of those children.
Thousands of children are being abused in their home every day by fathers or stepfathers. I was one of those children.
Thousands of children will be adults who live with scars from the trauma of their childhood. I am of those adults.
So I don’t believe for a second that gay marriage will be the demise of the family unit when I have lived through the demise and the hell that followed. In my parent’s perfectly Christian and heterosexual marriage, no less.
The concern as Christians should be less about trying to shove our moral compass in the face of those we judge as sinners by our own self-righteous standards, and more about promoting this idea of unconditional love that we harp on about. Being a Christian who can quote appropriate bible verses at the appropriate time doesn’t give me the right to judge another person and tell them how to live their life based on how I live mine. My choices in my life are different from your choices in your life based on the personal journey we have each travelled. You have reasons for your choices, I have reasons for mine. My choice to not be gay does not make me morally superior in the face of your choice to be gay. And I certainly have zero right to judge your choice when I do not know your heart. My job as a Christian is not to tell you that you are doing it wrong, it’s not to judge you, it’s not to convert you, and it’s not to throw stones at you. It’s simply to love you. As you are, right here, standing before me.
Many Christians use the Old Testament as their reference against homosexuality. They quote verses from Leviticus and the like; the rules, the laws, the commandments. But you see, that is the thing with the Old Testament. The Israelites asked God for the commandments. They wanted a set of rules to live by. So God kinda went, ‘Well, okaaaay, if that’s what you want’, knowing full well this wasn’t going to go as they’d hoped. And as God suspected would happen, they worshipped the law. But forgot how to love. God knew they could never live without breaking the commandments. They were human and prone to failure, and to try and live to that standard of perfection would only ever produce obedience at best. But never freedom. Never love. And never life.
And so enter Act Two when Jesus cruises into the picture. And here we discover the whole point of Jesus. To take away all those laws, rules and commandments and wrap it all up in one single commandment – love. To love God. And love others. And that was it. And this is why He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Because he knew there was no life in the law. Only in love.
How then as Christians can we throw law at our brothers and sisters and deny them love? When that is the only commandment that Jesus has asked us to follow through with. I don’t recall reading anywhere in the Bible that we need to correct the decisions people choose based on whether we agree with them or not. No people. Love, only love.
Jesus stood between the woman caught in adultery and the self-righteous pharisees who wanted to stone her. The woman was caught doing the deed, guilty as all hell, and everybody knew it. They all looked at Him, waiting for Him to condemn this whore. This God who served justice, He would show her. But Jesus isn’t into rock throwing. He addressed the men instead. Let you without sin cast the first stone. The men walked away. Bham. The heart of Jesus revealed.
Mercy triumphs over judgment. Grace beyond all measure. Love wins.
Jesus fought injustice. He healed the broken hearted and set the captives free. He challenged His people. He liberated His people. He displayed love to the least lovely. He dined with criminals and prostitutes. He raged against religion. He cared not for His reputation, but only His character. He was wild-hearted, rebellious, and controversial. He lost friends and gained enemies.
And in this day and age, you know where I think Jesus would be? At church singing hymns. Just kidding people, just kidding. More like at a gay wedding, showing off His awesome party trick of turning water into wine, and celebrating love, freedom and liberation. And that’s where I’d hope I’d be too.
Whether gay marriage is legalized or not is irrelevant to me. The only relevant issue I see is the condition of my heart. May it be aligned with the heart of Love itself.