Wednesday, July 06, 2005

United Church of Christ Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

Some of you will celebrate, some will get mad - but nonetheless here it is. The United Church of Christ has passed a resolution endorsing same sex marriage. As much as conservative Christians are going to hate it, it is happening.

- Will the UCC split because of this decision or might they find a way to live together?
- Will the United Methodist Church follow in the UCC's lead or head the other direction?
- Will the UCC be on the forefront of a trend among mainline denominations or be out on a limb all by themselves?

I don't know, but here's what I hope:

I hope I will live to see the day when anyone who falls in love with another person will be free to express that love in the sacred covenant of marriage, honored in a ceremony before God and within the warm embrace of a loving congregation.

As a United Methodist pastor, I am not permitted to officiate at wedding ceremonies of same-sex couples. I lament that. Let's be clear, it is not the Bible that forbids me from doing so, it is the Book of Discipline. The Bible itself is very adamant and quite specific: same-sex sexual activity is strictly forbidden when the intention is idolatry (i.e. cultic worship) or pederasty (i.e. child abuse). But the Bible says nothing about two adults who fall in love, want to get married to each other, and who are the same gender. Nonetheless, I will respect the Book of Discipline's restrictions even as I work to reform them.

In the meantime, I will pray for the United Church of Christ. A prayer of gratitude for their courage and a prayer for unity of spirit in the midst of their transformation.

Expecting Reaction,
Andy B.


amy said...

I for one celebrate with you Andy Bryan! I was so pumped to hear this news. And I have hope that one day the realization will come to many many people that to fall in true reciprocal love with anyone, whether they be of the same or the opposite sex, is indeed a manifestation of the love of God.

Sue said...

Amen! It's about time Christians started acting...well, Christian.

I'm not getting married until marriage is equally available to all loving couples.

Timewilltell said...

Will the UCC split because of this decision or might they find a way to live together?
- Will the United Methodist Church follow in the UCC's lead or head the other direction?
- Will the UCC be on the forefront of a trend among mainline denominations or be out on a limb all by themselves?

Any 'church' not founded on the rock and part of the vine will wither and die. To the Lord thousand years is like a day and a day is like a thousand years.

Time will tell.

David said...

I read your post, Andy, while listening to the reports of seven apparently terrorist explosions in the London subways.

Those, I’m pretty sure, are the sorts of things we’re called to speak out against and work to prevent. Saving lives and forging international peace, I think, is where our governments ought to be spending their time.

Covenantal love, though, is something I choose to celebrate and encourage wherever I find it. Happily, my denomination allows me to bless same-sex unions (I use exactly the same ceremony outline--they just don’t get a state-issued certificate).

Sue, as one within the Q community, I thank you for your gesture of solidarity. But I encourage you to celebrate your own love in whatever way God calls you to. We’re getting married already, with or without the sanction of our churches and governments. Some day they’ll catch up.

Brad said...

I, of course, agree with my brother's hopes. With everything that's wrong in our world (i.e. Thinking about Martin) there's so much more important work for Christians to be doing.
As far as waiting to get married until all marriages are considered equal, you have more faith in the American government and organized Christianity than I do, Sue.

Derek said...

I guess I shall be the dissenter. It's pretty easy and convenient to forget Levitical law regarding same-sex relationships, Andy.

Amy, "True reciprocal love with anyone is a manifestation of the love of God"? That is a remarkably grey area to define. What if someone falls in love with a 12-year old and she thinks she's in love with me? May not be true to an outside observer, but it's true to them. Please define how that is the love of God at work? Where I come from, that's called pedophilia.

I have news for you, sue. Christians who are against homosexual marriages can be just as Christian as the loving people whose cause you support.

david, works of terror are just as abhorrent to God as are acts of perversion. Getting married already with or without sanction and someday churches and governments will catch up? Since when was what we believe in supposed to be tailored to how WE see it fit? I think we've got the cart before the horse.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a homophobe. I have nothing against homosexuals. It's the sexual lifestyle I object to. If these are going to be chaste relationships, then go for it. What difference does a marriage make at that point, other than employee and tax benefits?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be awesome to not have to live in a world where your "lifestyle" is what turns others away? What "lifestyle" is it that you describe? What happens when your child or neice or good friend comes to you and tells you that they are homosexual? Do you try to recondition them? Do you judge them (seem to be)? Doesn't the Bible teach us not to cast judgement, for that is up to God? If you do cast judgement, aren't you then the sinner in the scenario? How can you truly love someone who is homosexual, as you say you do in your comment, when all you are thinking about are the sexual acts performed between two adults in the privacy of their own homes. That's just weird, if you really think about it. And if you can't get past that picture, you can't love that person, and you are not acting like "good Christians" should.

Comparing homosexual acts to pedophilia is ridiculous. Most male pedophiles who attack young boys are HETEROSEXUAL. Wow, some are MARRIED.

Here's a rock. You throw first.

Shelly :)!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and marriage does make a difference. It is where you make a commitment before God and those who are important to you to be together, stick together. That is a binding covenant. It causes you to be thoughtful about everything you do by taking in your partner's perspective. You have promised each other and God that you are a team and will do whatever it takes to make sure you remain a team.

If marriage didn't make a difference, why would anyone get married?

Shelly :)!