Mike and Erin had been married for a couple of years and they had one child, a two-year old son named Matthew. Erin was a full-time student at the local community college while Mike was enjoying his new career with the local city police department. Both Mike and Erin were Christians and having grown up in Christian homes, they seemed to enjoy their church and the fellowship they had with the other young married couples at their church.
Like all young marriages, Mike and Erin had a few challenges but nothing too troubling. In fact, everything about their marriage seemed to be fine. That was until Mike’s tour on the grave-yard shift as well as his other overtime duties seemed to be keeping him away from home.
Erin didn’t seem to mind at first, as she was busy with her college studies. She would often drop Matthew off at her parents to be watched while she attended late evening study groups. That’s where she became reacquainted with Tim. Back in High School Tim and Erin had a pretty serious dating relationship. Well, eventually Tim and Erin began an affair.
Mike eventually found out about the affair as Erin told him. Erin informed Mike that she was in love with Tim and that she wanted a divorce. To make a long story short, Mike and Erin were divorced and shortly after that Erin and Tim married each other.
After Erin and Tim were married, they began attending church were Erin’s father was an elder. Officially this church had believed for years that according to the scriptures, Tim and Erin’s marriage was nothing more than an adulterous relationship. Tim had no right to be with Erin because Erin was joined in the covenant of marriage with Mike. But things were different. The church spun a few verses together about the grace of God and this marriage situation was acceptable. When the preacher spoke out against the marriage of Tim and Erin, he was fired.
The above story is true, I simply changed the names and a few slight details for the sake of concealing identity. The reason I have chosen to tell this story is because there are many other stories very similar to this among Christians and churches have increasingly become very tolerant of them. That is, with some exception, American Christianity has already extended tolerance to a view of marriage unfounded in the scriptures.
Added to this is the fact that state laws allow for divorce and remarriage as a legal and acceptable practice. So if we wanted to, tomorrow we could divorce and eventually seek remarriage. Should that remarriage fail, we are free to seek divorce again and remarriage again.
So my point is that within Christianity and society at large, the definition of marriage has already been expanded beyond scripture and the will of God. Why then are Christians suddenly in an uproar about the passing of same-sex marriage laws and the recent announcement by President Obama of his support for same-sex marriage rights?
As I listen in on the cultural conversation, what I am hearing is that Christians are upset because the allowance for same-sex marriage redefines the biblical view of marriage. But that cannot be because, as I have already pointed out, Christians have not responded with the same angst about the way marriage has already been redefined from God’s intent. So Christians are either being incongruent with their concern for protecting the traditional view of marriage or… the angst about our culture’s redefining of marriage is more about waging a cultural war against the LGBT agenda.
For the record, I do not believe that same-sex marriage is the will of God. Further more, right or wrong, it is not my practice to make judgments about the marriage, divorce, and remarriage choices Christians have made in the past (and here I agree with Dan Bouchelle). I am writing this because I am concerned that among many Christians there is a misplaced angst. This angst has motivated participation in a culture war that seems more interested in preserving our version of a “Christian friendly” culture than making disciples of Jesus Christ.
I also agree with Rachel Held Evans that Christians can win the culture war on the issue of same-sex marriage and lose the bigger battle. The reason this will happen is because our ways of fighting the culture war are so foreign to the ways of Christ that we look more like hypocrites, compromising our witness for Jesus Christ (if we are still trying to bear witness for Jesus). Maybe I’ll write more on that later this week. My hope for now is that Christians will think a little more about our own inconsistencies, check our motives, and consider the consequences of our responses to issues facing society at large.
If you wish to leave a small comment or ask a question, I am happy to dialogue. I am not interested in any long, drawn out arguments. If you wish to disagree with a long response, please do so on your own blog. Thank you very much!