The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 3

The second question we must raise: does freedom from racial restrictions in marriage apply reasonably to freedom from gender distinctions in marriage? In other words, does interracial marriage set a solid precedent for ‘gay marriage’?

Not at all. Throughout the history of civilization, marriage was and is fundamentally about one man pledged to one woman, for the purpose of bearing and raising children. Ethnicity has never figured into the equation at a foundational level. Discrimination of interracial couples is thus rooted in injustice, in fallen human tradition, and was deservedly overturned by a just Court.

President–elect Obama knows well the power of that justice. As the child of a white woman and African man, he would have been born illegitimately without the foresight of the CA Court. (CA overturned the ban on interracial marriage in 1948, but that ban did not become national law until 1967.) That means that the most powerful man in the USA has a strong sensitivity to marital justice and discrimination.

That is all the more reason for Obama and all citizens to be clear on what the issues are. Obama currently is not. Although he claims to be against ‘gay marriage’ per se, he equally opposed Prop.8 on the grounds that it was ‘discriminatory.’ And he is surrounded by those who have bought into the myth of gays as a targeted minority.

We live in a culture that is vulnerable to the rhetoric of activists who insist that ‘marriage equality’ applies to the false ‘ethnos’ of homosexuality. In their distorted but compelling line of reasoning, this view presumes that homosexuals deserve the same rights as any minority including marital rights, and invokes the struggle of blacks seeking to marry interracially as a legal pathway to ‘gay marriage’ justice.

Bad reasoning. ‘Gay marriage’, unlike interracial marriage, fundamentally violates what marriage is. Remove the component of gender distinction in marriage, and it ceases to be marriage. It ceases to produce new life. It violates what all people know to be true about the design of the universe. There exists a profound historic and creative logic to traditional marriage that ‘gay marriage’ undermines.

Marriage is male and female. Ethnically diversity does not disrupt marriage in the least; gender sameness disqualifies it. Marriage is defined by gender polarity. It should not be tinkered with. For the good of all, especially for the children created by it.

The relentless drive of beautiful, misdirected people has brought us to the brink of undermining the most basic and formative institution on earth.

We must continue to fight. Prop.8 was one victory in what will ultimately become a battle to the National Supreme Court. We must seek to pray and inform all within our realm of influence as to what the real issues are. ‘Fearing God, we persuade men…” (2Cor 5:11)
I urge you:
1. Pray for Obama, that he would make just and true distinctions between the issues at hand.
2. Pray for the Prop.8 team as they prepare for the CA Supreme Court hearings in March. They will be able to represent the case for Prop.8, as opposed to the District Attorney, Jerry Brown, who fought against Prop.8 with all his might. Pray that the Courts will uphold the will of the people by supporting marriage in CA.
3. Pray for us at Desert Stream that we will continue to do our part to equip the church to provide clear and merciful choices for those with same-sex attraction, while fighting the growing injustices in our land. These concern a wrong view of homosexuality and ‘marital equality.’
We have won a battle; we have not won the war. Pray for perseverance, truth, mercy.

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 2

First we must answer the question: can homosexuality be compared to ethnicity?

Not well, according to the Latinos and African-Americans in CA who rallied to pass Prop.8, in contrast to their Anglo counterparts. Race is a biological birthright; it is immutable, unchangeable, and from a biblical viewpoint, to be celebrated as God reconciles every tribe and tongue to Himself, his/her own ethnos, and to one another.

Homosexuality is altogether different; it cannot be compared to ethnicity in its origins, its various expressions, its malleability, and the moral decisions one makes in light of those tendencies.

Homosexuality is complex in its origins. While it is absolutely wrong to declare homosexuality inborn, one must acquiesce to a web of factors that influence same-sex attraction, including biologically determined personality traits, family-of-origin factors, and the cultural and social variables around him/her.

And this is where we find such diversity among ‘homosexuals.’ It is difficult today to separate those with longstanding tendencies from those experimenting with homosexuality, like teenagers, or the likes of a Lindsay Lohan or an Anne Heche.

The growing cultural acceptance of homosexuality means that more will choose to experiment in this way; it also highlights how huge a variable that moral choice is for the same-sex attracted.

Many like myself choose to undergo a process of change to a heterosexual identity, others opt to be celibate ‘homosexuals’, others adopt that lifestyle, while still others cycle into homosexuality for a while then opt out.

In its origins, and in its diverse expressions that hinge upon one’s moral decision-making, homosexuality differs from ethnicity.

Humbled by Victory

After a sleepless night, I can say with joy and relief: ‘gay marriage’ is no longer in CA.The people arose and went to the polls. They took back marriage from the Supreme Court and rightly defined it as one man pledged to one woman. For the sake of kids. For the good of all.

By a slim 4-point margin, the citizens of CA turned San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and an activist court on its ear. Now marriage as heterosexual is written in stone into the CA state constitution.

Thank you for your prayers. God roused His people to honor and defend what He loves.

The righteous in CA—both Christians and God-fearers—acted. And persevered. They endured vandalism—Prop. 8 signs and bumper-stickers were torn down throughout the campaign, political trickery—CA’s Attorney General deliberately worded Prop. 8 in a confusing and negative manner, and shame—opponents of Prop. 8 ridiculed those who honor marriage as racist, intolerant and hateful.

The good endured. The true image of God in humanity is honored. God is honored. “Just as there is a momentum to evil, so there is a momentum to repentance…”

And He is to be praised for hearing our prayers. I have cried out for this victory along with you since the Supreme Court decision last May. Yesterday, anxious in prayer, the Lord reminded me of this Word He gave me through my friend and associate Dean:

“Do not be anxious or discouraged because of this vast army. The battle is not yours, but Mine. Take up your positions, stand firm, and you will see the deliverance that I have given you. Do not fear or be discouraged, for I am with you.” (2Chron. 20: 16, 17)

He delivered CA from delusion, and the judgment it invites. He will have mercy! The people have acted justly and honored God’s image.

This is only the beginning. CA’s honoring of marriage must signal a further awakening of the church everywhere to arise in Christ, the true image, and live out what she preaches.

That means cherishing that image in one another, and making every effort to restore that image in its broken members.

That means taking the mercy of Jesus out beyond her walls to those bound by same-sex attraction. We have already given gays what they need: the clear witness of God’s intent for humanity in marriage. Now let’s love them into the Kingdom.

And we need to empower the nations who sooner than later will face the same decision that CA did concerning the true definition of marriage.

We must mobilize now to help them before sneaky courts or legislatures subject its citizens to ‘gay marriage.’

CA has spoken loudly to the world: Let the people decide how marriage will be defined. Thank God for democracy! By His grace, and though the power of truth tempered and channeled in prayer, let the people who honor God honor marriage everywhere.

Bless you dear friends for standing with us throughout these forty days. Together, we have honored marriage for the good of all.

“Delight yourself in the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him; trust in Him, and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” (PS 37:4-6)

Otherness and Holiness

Gender difference is marriage; its essence is male and female together.

Without the tension of otherness, there is not wholeness, no dance between similarity and difference. The duality between male and female draws one out beyond the limits of ‘sameness’; out of our depth, we are drawn from self-centeredness into the possibility of genuine self-giving. In losing ourselves to love this other, we find a whole.

God created marriage as a metaphor: as we have seen, gender duality reveals Himself, His image on the earth.

Humanity as male and female also conveys a glimpse of God’s holiness. He employs marriage—the encounter between two distinct parts–as a metaphor for how He encounters us as ‘Other.’ God is holy, meaning He is ‘other’ than us. He created us in His image but He stands over and beyond us as the Creator of that image. In our human duality as male and female, we represent Him in part.

But He does not allow us to reduce Him to that earthly image. He is God—as transcendent and beyond comprehension as He has revealed Himself to us in Christ.

Gender duality is one way He has made Himself known to us. He teaches us of holiness through the glorious mystery of man for woman, woman for man.

Mike Mason writes: “Both marriage and faith in God deal in the most direct way imaginable with the phenomenon of otherness in our lives. Both God and spouse encounter us as one who is like us, resembling us in image, but not us.”

God the uncreated made us in His image, not the other way around. Perhaps that is why authentic faith is so costly. Mason continues: “…God is not an idol, a human invention, not an extension or projection of ourselves. True religion begins with a profound acquiescence to the truth: there is one God, and I am not He!”

Marriage is but a pale image of the awesome otherness between the Creator and the created. Marital partners are both created flawed beings. Nevertheless, their union is the image God has chosen to teach humanity about holiness in human relating.

As we uphold and honor the good of ‘the other’, we manifest a glimpse of the ‘Other.’ We grow in holiness through God’s command to treat this other as a gift distinct from ourselves, created only in His image, not one that always seems right to us.
Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“Father, forgive us for the way we have tried to conform You to the image that seems right to us. And forgive us for the way we have tried to conform the other gender to our own image of them. As You are holy, make us holy in faith and marriage.”

Why Man Needs Woman

Masculinity needs femininity; man needs woman. His angular focused essence requires the more diffused and rounded contours of woman. Most men long for that essence. All men need it.

The anatomical differences between the sexes are only the beginning. The probing, driven, and external nature of male sexuality is a window to his approach to life. And how submitting his life to the other is essential to his wholeness!

In Genesis 2:7, God creates man from the ground. Earth is the raw material from which he is formed. That foreshadows a theme that drives him—the natural inclination toward prevailing over and giving form to his world. (“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Gen. 2:15)

Man needs to discover purpose through the work of his hands. He tends to draw his significance from what he does. And to be respected for it. To a large degree, masculine honor hinges upon him exerting his power on the earth in a way that makes a difference. To prevail over the earth and to bear fruit seems to be built into the very essence of manhood.

In Genesis 3, man is cursed as a result of his sin. Things change—the good earth sours on him, and his labor now seems addictive and futile. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you will return.” (Gen. 3:17-19)

Man’s inclination toward prevailing remains, but now sweat and pain mark his livelihood. His pursuit of significance seems strained as well. Can the unforgiving earth yield enough reward for him? Perhaps not. Is it any wonder that he is vulnerable to strife and addictive attempts to cull meaning and worth?

Woman is different. She invites him into a different world, one that is perhaps gentler. He longs for that softness, the feminine gift for connectedness that eludes him in his world of striving and competition. Her many words help give voice to his few. He lets down; he breaths. Woman provides a home for man’s weary heart.

In spite of my same-sex attraction, I was and am very masculine in my focus and drive. What most drew me into relationship with Annette was her relational ease. She engendered a kind of peace in me that neither work nor same-sex unions could. Somehow, her response to my awkward advances empowered me further to avail my strength to her. I grew stronger in love, as did she.

Man needs woman. Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.
“In Your merciful design, O God, may weary men find rest in good women.”

Otherness and Intimacy

To honor marriage is to honor the distinctions of male and female, and how the two combine to form a whole. The one discovers its need in relation to the other—‘I do not possess what the other offers’, and one’s unique gift—‘I possess something the other needs.’

Gender complementarity is crucial to a marriage being able to ease the aloneness of both parties. It is precisely the other’s difference that satisfies the ache of the solitary heart. The mystery of the other draws one out of familiarity and into another reality. Gender differences provoke exploration and yield the rich discovery that the other rounds one out. At physical and psychological levels, one finds grounding and a covering that composes a whole.

Karl Barth writes: “Were Eve only like him, his mirror image, a numerical multiplication, she would not confront him as another…as such, the aloneness of neither would be eased.”

Frustrating at times? Of course. In the face of the ‘foreigner’, we are tempted to judge the other as less than human, our own familiar ways of knowing and being as superior. But gratefully, God did not create the other in our image but in His own.

Mike Mason writes: “Marriage seems to specialize at times in radically deemphasizing the similarities between partners and wildly exaggerating the points of difference. But that is so that a couple may come to know one another at the deepest level—‘bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.’

Becoming one flesh is a journey of discovery. We discover a beauty and wisdom and strength unknown to us; in that difference, the other has unique power to fortify and to console us. (S)he encounters us as the other, imparting to us what we may never have experienced but what we need.

Mason refers to marriage in a term used for the trinity—a hypostatic union, meaning that distinct properties (male and female) combine to form one new identity. He says: “Marriage is not about sameness but about oneness, which is less characterized by similarities than by difference…That oneness is not a skill to be mastered but a phenomenon to be marveled at with increasing humility and gratitude.”

To honor marriage, we must reclaim the inner meaning of God’s image: man for woman, woman for man. Together, the two create a whole that satisfies the aloneness of each. Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“Thank You God for Your design. You said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18), and You made a way for the gap to be closed. Give us grace to behold and to honor the other’s difference. Ease our aloneness through him or her.”

Marriage is Male and Female

Gender matters in marriage. As we saw yesterday, the distinctly masculine and feminine dimensions of marriage reveal something about God to us, His very image revealed on the earth.

Let us explore this further. Marriage involves the joining together of two distinctive parts: male and female. Wholeness requires ‘otherness. The oneness of body, soul, and spirit that marriage embodies requires essential maleness and femaleness. There is no one-flesh union apart from the two genders becoming one.

Marriage is not just about friendship and intimacy. It is about the sexual merger of maleness and femaleness. Or according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, a sexual re-merger. My favorite author on the topic of homosexuality, Robert Gagnon, writes:

“The creation story in Gen. 2:18-24 illustrates this point beautifully. An original binary, or sexually undifferentiated, adam is split down the side to form two sexually differentiated persons. Marriage is pictured as the reunion of the two other halves, man and woman.

This is not an optional or minor feature of the story. Since the only difference created by the splitting is the creation of two distinct sexes, the only way to reconstitute the whole, on the level of sexual intimacy, is to bring together the split parts. A same-sex erotic relationship can never constitute a marriage because it will always lack the requisite sexual counterparts, or complements.”

Marriage is exclusively the domain of two becoming one. At core and in essence, that involves the joining of male and female. The comprehensive sharing of life in marriage is founded on bodily union. And that union, as we have seen, is made possible only by the sexual complementarity of man and woman.

I will explore that theme of wholeness in two halves further. Suffice to say, ‘gay’ marriage is a contradiction in terms. To seek to become one with the same gender undercuts the Creator’s unwavering intention for marriage. That involves ‘otherness’–male and female.

A wise-man said: “The corruption of society begins by a failure to call things by their proper names.” ‘Gay marriage’ is a fundamental contradiction in terms. To validate a misnomer is to contribute to the corruption of California.
Vote YES on 8. Honor Marriage for the Good of All.

“Help us see things as they are, O God. Raise up the foundational truth of how You see marriage. Open our eyes to the good of man for woman, woman for man.”

Marriage: The Most Important Relationship on Earth

Every human being is deeply and persistently impacted by the relationship shared by his or her parents.

Most had parents who were married; the man and woman who created the child made a decision to not only join bodies but lives. Invoking both the authority of the state and God, most parents committed to a permanent and faithful relationship.

Marriage is the most influential and creative unit on earth; it is the building block of human civilization. One may be secondarily impacted by numerous institutions. None will leave its mark more profoundly than who father was for mother, and who mother was for father.

That’s why every culture recognizes marriage and elevates it over all other erotic unions. We are wise to do so. Marriage provides the best chance humanity has to provide the boundaries for men and women to create a stable and loving context for the fruit of their union—a child, the beginning of every human being on the planet.

Mike Mason writes in his excellent book The Mystery of Marriage:
“A good marriage is the closest thing on earth to the realization of a practical, enduring, and loving coexistence between people. It is a sign of love, patience, and forgiveness that is unknown in other spheres of life…Marriage is the test case, the leading edge of love in the world…Good marriage is the foundation of society.” (p. 86)

We honor every human being on the planet by fighting for marriage. That fight can occur on many fronts including the political. That means ensuring that the state and its laws do everything possible to recognize and support marriage. The state should protect marriage: it is the foundation of the family, the unit most responsible for producing solid citizens.

Marriage, defined universally and historically as one man for one woman, pledged to permanence and fidelity, is under fire. Gay activists and their sympathizers are seeking to make it their own. That alters the DNA of the most important relationship on earth. In shifting the boundary lines for holy matrimony, same-sex ‘marriage’ looses confusion and deception into the foundation of real marriage and thus into our civilization.

For the sake of everyone, let us make every effort to reclaim the powerful good of marriage. Yes, the institution is battered. Struck down by myriad opponents, including the California Supreme Court who in May legalized gay ‘marriage’, we who have ears to hear and eyes to see have an opportunity to defend her and honor her. We do so for the good of all. California, vote YES on Proposition 8. Honor Marriage for the Good of All.

“O God, give us sight. Show us Your vision for marriage. Free us for hindsight–the long view behind us of traditional marriage. Free us also for foresight–the millions yet to come who will be powerfully impacted by their experience of marriage.”