Friday, January 16, 2015

Widening the Narrow View

I'm sometimes taken aback at the narrow view of God that so many people take. I don't see Him as this long, white-haired fogey amongst the clouds, waving His large white hand willy-nilly, doling out reward or punishment as He sees fit moment to moment. To be quite honest with you, regardless of whether you follow the 'Father, Son, Holy Spirit' mentality where you instantaneously picture a male, God is much bigger than gender, too. I choose to refer to Him as a Him because it's what I was brought up with, not because I believe He has male anatomy and relates better to His male creatures. Each one of us was created in His image; that goes for females as well as males.

That goes for LGBT people as well as heterosexuals, too.

*a hush goes over the room*

If you're a follower of the Journey blog, you likely read about my trip to Provincetown in Massachusetts, and my tears of joy at the church where they were celebrating ten years of marriage equality. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, personally, that one's sexuality is not a choice that one makes. That should make complete sense to everyone... because, why would anyone CHOOSE to be ostracized, bullied, thought of as 'different', or sometimes beaten to an unrecognizable pulp or murdered? Yet here we are in 2015 with just as little tolerance for people who are 'different' from us as we had back in the 1800s. Or, you know... in the caveman days.

I've become a binge-watcher of Grey's Anatomy. A little over a month ago, my husband and I started watching it together from the beginning, never having seen an episode before (well, I hadn't...) and we're now 20 episodes into the seventh season. That's what I mean by binge watching. And if you haven't seen it but PLAN to, then I have to give you a




But seriously, two women get married in this episode. When Callie's mother finally tells her that  marrying a woman and having a baby out of wedlock are two things that make her certain that her daughter will not be in Heaven... I cried AND got sick to my stomach at the same time. Because this is not just a character in a television show... this is a representation of parents everywhere in the world. Callie begins to cave to this mentality, as she becomes distraught at the cruel, cold, UN-Christian heart that her mother brings to the picture. But Miranda Bailey comes to the rescue with a speech I could listen to a hundred times:

"Okay, first of all, you do not need the law or a priest or your mother to make your wedding real. And the church can be anywhere you want it to be -- in a field, on a mountain, right here in this room, ANYWHERE, because where do you think God is? Come on! He's in you! He's in me! Just right here, in the middle of us. Your church just hasn't caught up to God yet. Your mother... she hasn't caught up to God yet. And, by the way, she may not EVER catch up... but it's okay. It's okay! If you are willing to stand up in front of your friends, family, and God, and commit yourself to another human being to give yourself in that kind of partnership for better or worse, in sickness and health? Honey, that IS a marriage! That is REAL, and that's all that matters. Besides, I got legally married in a church. Look how well that turned out."

This is a phenomenal monologue for a number of reasons. First, she is talking about a much bigger God than most people have a concept of, and she is 100% correct. He's in all of us, and we are all in Him. In the second place, it's not a matter of what other people think of your marriage or commitment from the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts. That love between two people? God blesses that. Don't believe me?

It's in the bible.

"Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. FOR EVERYTHING GOD CREATED IS GOOD, AND NOTHING IS TO BE REJECTED IF IT IS RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING, BECAUSE IT IS CONSECRATED BY THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER." I Timothy 4:2-4

God didn't just create love, God IS love. When two people give themselves over to a covenant to love one another for the rest of their lives, it should be received with Thanksgiving. By forbidding same-sex couples the right to marry, we are not, in any way, upholding the 'sanctity' of marriage. The sanctity is between God and the couple. Outside of those three entities, no one else has anything to do with the sanctity of any given marriage. Which brings me to another thing Dr. Bailey touched upon in her speech. The very last sentence: "Besides, I got legally married in a church. Look how well that turned out."

The mockery being made of marriage in the U.S. and in the world has nothing to do with whom we allow or do not allow to get married. It has everything to do with what we make of the vows, of the covenant, of the sanctity of what we have entered into. I am divorced. My husband is divorced. Neither of us went into our first marriages thinking that it would be a 'starter marriage'. We meant what we said when we said it. Perhaps we were too young to have made the decision, perhaps our hearts changed, perhaps our significant other changed, or perhaps we were just not meant to be with that person from the beginning. I know one thing: this marriage, the one we have to each other... it's impenetrable because we had God as our foundation and went into it with unconditional love for one another, taking our vows very seriously. And let me tell you something else while I have your attention...

His male anatomy makes not one single bit of difference to me.

I fell in love with a man and, in this world, one could call that 'lucky'. Lucky that I found a person of the opposite sex who was perfect for me. The things we have in common, the enjoyments we get out of our life together, the views we have on the world, on spirituality, on religion, on politics, on love, on marriage, on ministry, on education, on child-raising, are all perfectly compatible. I fell in love with a person, and it didn't make any difference to me that he just happened to be male. If she had been a female, I would've fallen in love with her just as hard as I fell for him...

But boy, would my world have been different. Imagine the hatred spewed at you daily for loving the person you love. Imagine people staring at you, threatening you, telling their children to look away or stay away from you, picketing your wedding with signs about how you're going to Hell, beating you up behind a bar and leaving you for dead or, worse, killing you. And all for loving the person you love. Take your spouse and everything you adore about them, change their gender, and imagine your whole world being turned upside down by hate.

Or imagine this: a world in which people are not only FREE to love and marry the adult human they are loving and marrying, but they are encouraged to do so. They are given the blessing of their parents because they already have the blessing of God. Imagine a world in which we don't harm or bully or torture or kill people because they're different* from us. A world in which we love and accept each unique person for who they are.

Jesus did that. They killed Him, too.

It's time we actually did what Jesus would do. Stand up for what we believe in regardless of what other people think. Stand up for love because it's all He stood for. And take a stand against hypocrisy because we're ALL sinners, but we're ALL covered by His love, which makes us white as snow.

If you want to preach something at people, preach THAT.

Stephanie Jean

*(I've already been through the 'but the bible says' arguments and refuted them one after another by putting them into context and with using other sound doctrine, so I don't care to hear it here, please. See the above verses which are NOT taken out of context. If you have questions or concerns, direct them to a private message on Facebook at I promise to answer every email I get.)

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