7 Ways Christians Lost The Gay Marriage Battle, And How We Should (Not) Fight The War

This is a summary of points made in a super long blog post by Nathan Campbell. Even Nathan says to just skim it and only read the parts you think are interesting.

To start you off, I’ve listed the heading of the points below. I’ve also added my own comments. This is important, as they’re Nathan’s points, but MY comments interacting with those points.

If/when you have time, you may like to read the full article … and the comments dialogue that follows.

Each point begins with “We“. Which includes any Christians who are not advocates of SSM. Yes, it’s a generalization. And, as is evident in the comments on Nathan’s article there will be those who insist they are not part of the “we”. I think being defensive and refusing to own responsibility for the tone of debates held thus far only serves to shut down the conversation.

1. We Didn’t Treat People The Way We’d Like To Be Treated
Overall I think the tone of discussion that has been most publicized (that I’ve had visibility of anyway) is summed up here. There have been very few exceptions.

2. We Lost When We Entered The Fight Expecting To Win, Rather Than Seeking To Love
I’ve observed a lot of, “This will show them!” rhetoric from Christians trying to demolish the arguments in favour of SSM legislation.

3. We Lost When We Decided To Fight For Marriage, Rather Than Speaking About Marriage As An Analogy For The Gospel
Let’s face it, the Christian view is incongruous with general culture. A lot of conversation has tried a little too cleverly to redefine rationale away from classical Christianity.

4. We Lost When We Made Marriage About Children, Rather Than About The Sex That Produces Them
I differ with some of what Nathan has written on this point. Sexual reproduction is by no means the only way children enter any family of any kind or make up. I do agree with his concern that much of the Christian discussion around this point has been prejudice against single parents and adopting families.

5. We Lost When We Lost The Fight On Gender, And Didn’t Think Hard Enough About How To Include The T Or I Parts Of LGBTQI In The Conversation
I think this is also the case among SSM advocates. It is also the case throughout most Christian discussion on gender and sexuality. It fits into the too-hard basket for many and because they can’t cope with something outside their own experience they ignore it.

6. We Lost When We Made The Argument About The Next Argument (The Slippery Slope), Rather Than Lovingly Understanding What The People In Front Of Us Desired And Were Asking For
Whether there is a slippery slope or inevitable trajectory does not deal with the immediate questions being asked. Yes, there have been reports of people wanting to do all sorts of weird things in countries where SSM has been legalised. But how does that compare, in reverse, with an Australian couple wanting to get a divorce to protest SSM? Personally, I would put them in the same class.

7. We Lost When We Didn’t Fight Harder For Love To Mean Something Other Than Sexual Intimacy Or Total Acceptance (Not Compassionate Tolerance)
What is love anyway? And, going back to the first and second points, have “we” loved anyone in the way we have approached the entire argument?

I’ll finish with the same quote Nathan did in his post.

1 John 4:7-14
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Does love at first sight exist?

So posited a visitor to my Formspring wall a while back. Here’s my answer, tidied up a little:

That would depend on how you define “love”.

If you mean, in terms of physical attraction or appeal – then yes, of course. We all see and meet people all the time that we find attractive, beautiful, engaging, funny etc. Sometimes, when/if we get to know them, our feelings change though. Beware of this type of “love.”

If, however you mean, love in terms of an abiding unconditional commitment, then that is far less likely. More often than not, the person you fall in love with and marry will be someone you get to know over time and as your relationship matures and intensifies, you will realise that you love them. By that, I don’t mean, you will want to have sex with them, although, as a married couple that’s usually part of the relationship 🙂

I mean that you will have an undying, unconditional commitment to serve them, care for them, and give yourself to them. Kind of like Jesus had for the Church

The impact of a lifetime

Recently Sam and Karen Keller, celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.

Sam and Karen hold a special place in our lives. Sam was my homiletics lecturer at Bible College in 1989 and my pastor during my 2nd and 3rd years of College, as well as a mentor, confidant, counsellor and friend. Karen taught Rachel in College and was to her as Sam was to me. We spent the majority of our weekends at the Keller’s. Eating, watching Star Trek re-runs, talking about Louis L’Amour and Robert Ludlum novels and of course stuff related to pastoral ministry. But the main thing that came up every weekend was marriage. They would both talk about how they met, and about their daughters and when each met their future husband. It wasn’t a counselling session, it was just… life. We got to see them laugh together, cry, even argue. To this day, when Rachel and I have a “disagreeable discussion”, at some point, some mention will be made along the lines of… “Mrs Keller said…“, or “I bet Pastor Keller never said/did that!

An incredible impact and impossible to account for the full extent that it has, even upon our own daughter’s life now.

They are not our parents, but I don’t know of any other way to describe the way we look up to them – mentors? Sure, but much, much more. Rachel doesn’t prepare or deliver a Children’s talk or speak to a Ladies Group without thinking of Karen. And I cannot escape Sam’s voice in my head every time I get up to preach. When I have to deal with something in my role as Pastor, inevitably, the thought comes to mind, “What Would Sam Do“. If only I had paid more attention all those years ago!

Tomorrow, with permission, I will post a copy of a letter Sam wrote about Karen on their 54th anniversary.

Harmony in Marriage… ENGAGE!

I am a Star Trek Fan. Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, the Movie franchise. In 2001, my wife bought me the entire NG series on VHS as a gift. She has also in recent years bought me the OS DVD’s.

Jean-Luc Picard is the Captain of the NCC 1701D Galaxy Class Starship Enterprise. He is renowned as an intergalactic diplomat and many of the NG episodes revolve around various diplomatic trade negotiations, interspecies warfare etc.

Political diplomats will tell you that the solution to inter-country conflict is to understand what the other party wants and find a way to give it to them.

The New Testament book of James tells us:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. ~ James 4:1-2a

Conflict is an issue in every relationship. Often it is not your ability to resolve a conflict that makes that relationship work – rather it might be understanding what has caused the conflict is mismatched expectations.

My problem, when faced with an escalating conflict is that I am focused on “my needs.”

But, what does your spouse need? Today? This weekend / week / month / year?

This is going to require your time and attention to figure out. This might mean, exploring things, like temperament differences, love language differences, life stage differences and yes, sexual differences.

How can you identify your spouse’s needs? 

How can you, with God’s help, serve your spouse?

Great Expectations

I had a lot of expectations going into my marriage. Expectations about what it would be like, how things would work between the two of us, what she would do for/with/to me, etc. However, soon after the wedding, I was in for a surprise!. Instead of being the King of the Castle, I became the Court Jester.

This frustration of unmet expectations does not catch God by surprise. The Bible speaks to this particular desire within us and explains that unmet expectations are a warning sign that we are looking in the wrong area to have our needs met. It may not necessarily be the case that our expectations are bad or wrong (though we can be extremely self-centred), rather that our expectations need to be re-directed towards someone who can fulfill them abundantly.

How many disillusioned marriages have been destroyed looking for or expecting the “Jerry MacGuire” moment?

Jeremiah 2:13 speaks of 2 specific evils that the people of Israel had committed:

for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Looking to your spouse to “complete you” is drinking from a broken cistern. They are not capable of meeting your deepest, truest needs. Some of you may be experiencing incredible disappointment in your marriage due to the expectations you have of your spouse.

We must, to experience any contentment or happiness in anything in this life, find our satisfaction in God. Anything else, sex, marriage, children, serving in Christian ministry, all will disappoint and result in us “thirsting again.

How will your marriage change, if you were to redirect your expectations away from your spouse and towards God? What differences would you see and experience in how you speak with each other? How you spend time with each other? How you make love? How you spend/save money?