This isn’t exactly travel blog specific, but it is a major issue in our world today. As Nate and I travel on and are exposed to new, exciting, and challenging customs, beliefs, and practices, I think we all could use a lesson in balanced discussion and move away from bigotry in all forms. And so I leap into the fray…
I waved the rainbow flag long before I chose to stand under the flag of Jesus. In a way, these are my people. That was my community. Christians were stuck up, judgmental, hypocritical and my LGBTQ friends were loving and accepting of me. That is not to say that one flag is not more important than the other. The Jesus flag is more important than everything else for me. Jesus inspires every minute of my day (at least that’s the goal), every fiber of my being. He is why I feel compelled to write this.
Recently, a popular blog post called 40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags hit the Christian scene. It is meant to be overwhelming. It is meant for Christians reading it to feel insecure, unknowledgeable, defeated, and ultimately change their stance on same-sex marriage. This guy wrote a well thought-out response to all the questions, which is tempting for me! But I wanted to write a set of questions of my own. My secondary goal is to inspire dialog within communities (not here in internetland where people treat each other like trash, thankyouverymuch), and for people to honestly consider where their beliefs come from. But my primary goal is actually to promote the notion that you can be a Jesus follower and support gay marriage for those who are Jesus followers and quiet LGBTQ supporters and especially for LGBTQ folks who have never heard “you’re cool and loved just the way God made you”. I’ve done a lot of personal study of scripture and historical research on this topic. I didn’t just want the love for my friends to overshadow truth of scripture. And my conclusion now, though I pray God is always opening my mind more and more, is that it truly doesn’t. I had the blessing of growing up in a non-Christian family/world (yes, I now call it a blessing), so I get to formulate a lot of my interpretations of scripture as an adult without the influence of growing up in a faith community. If you’ve been more motivated to believe what you do because of your family or community than because of prayerful study of scripture, I’d just invite you to begin to change that now. Maybe you will come to the same conclusions. But they will be your own, guided by God, and not inherited.
As you’ll notice, most of these questions are inspired by the original post. If you want to discuss any of these questions in person, I would truly love the opportunity.
- How long have you believed that gay marriage is not something to be celebrated? Who has influenced your decision?
- What Bible verses specifically lead you to believe that gay marriage is sinful?
- What verses can you identify verses about gay marriage specifically? (i.e.: not homosexual pedophilia, prostitution, or rape?)
- Where does the Bible reference a monogamous, committed homosexual relationship?
- Why can’t a marriage between two people of the same sex depict the loving sacrifice of Christ and the church? (Ephesians 5:22-38)
- Why isn’t our rhetoric reflective of the fact that Jesus spoke out about divorce but not gay marriage?
- What are the reasons Jesus would be against gay marriage?
- Because Jesus reasserts the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman, does this mean there is no other possibility?
- Jesus warns about the love of money approximately 25 times in the gospels but never mentions gay marriage. What does this mean about redistributing economic wealth in our world? Should we redistribute our time and resources to better align with Jesus’ actions?
- What is the meaning of a sexual sin? What makes anything a sin?
- Given what we know about LGBTQ teen suicide rates, homelessness rates, drug use, HIV/AIDS rates, and hate crimes, what role could supporting LGBTQ stigma and shame by disagreeing with gay marriage have in LGBTQ community health?
- Jesus aligned himself with the hurting, the despised, the broken, the discarded, the socially shamed. Does this have implications for how he would have interacted with the LGBT community?
- Do you know that there is evidence the early Christians performed and celebrated same-sex marriages in their communities until the 13th century?
- There is an argument that “children do best with a mother and a father”. Does this have implications for how we should be supporting single parents and mentoring children in these homes? Should we do this instead of questioning families with two parents of the same gender?
- What research supports the opinion of people who think children do better with two parents of different genders?
- Using no gender pronouns or descriptors, how do you define marriage?
- As a Christian who disagrees with gay marriage, how are you personally threatened by this issue? What is threatened?
- As a Christian who disagrees with gay marriage, how is your freedom being taken away? What freedoms?
- How do you define love?
- What verses would you use to establish that definition?
- How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?
- What does it mean to act out love to others?
- Who did Jesus command us to love? What does that mean for this discussion?
- When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” have you studied the historical and social context of these verses and their original text in Greek?
- Have you ever considered that Christian LGBTQ supporters consider those who disagree with gay marriage to be losing sight of Jesus as much as you think we supporters are?
- Could this gay marriage discussion be taking valuable time and resources away from us (Jesus followers) doing the things that Jesus did while he was here on Earth?
- Can we all display respect for the discussion and remain focused: no talk of incest, pedophilia, or polygamy? It’s most productive if we are discussing committed, monogamous, adult relationships.
- Can we agree to move away from bigotry? Before you feel defensive, have you looked up the definition?
- Have you considered that there are countless LGBTQ Christians, our brothers and sisters, who are committed to following Jesus and his teachings?
- Have you considered what role loving, committed, same-sex marriages have in a broken world of broken relationships?
- If you use verses in Leviticus as one of the reasons you oppose gay marriage, what convictions cause you to decide to break other commands such as eating bacon/having a tattoo/wearing mixed fabrics/cutting your hair?
- The book of Leviticus makes reference to polygamy and owning slaves while not renouncing these practices. Are they ok? Why or why not?
- Did you know many Christians opposed legalizing interracial marriage in the US with support from Bible verses and using religious liberty as their basis?
- If procreation is your concern, have you considered the effects of overpopulation on our planet’s resources and our role in stewardship?
- Does the Bible only define marriage as one man and one woman? Or also… many women and one man? A rapist and his victim? A soldier and female prisoner of war? A woman and her late husband’s brother? (Hint: it does).
- Can you identify a verse that refers to same-sex relationships but does not refer to male prostitution, promiscuity, rape, or molestation in the original untranslated text?
- If Jesus never spoke about gay marriage and Paul is the only New Testament writer to mention it, does this say anything about this issue’s priority in our pursuit of Christ?
- What does the meaning of “separation of church and state” mean to you and your political motivations? What should it mean for our communities?
- Do you think Jesus would have attended a gay wedding today? Why or why not?
- What’s one step you can take to engage in this dialog with someone who supports gay marriage in a loving manner, seeking to understand first rather than convince? (Reminder: You can ask them to do the same!)
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19)