This is a church where you don’t have to check your brain at the door. How many of us had said that, or heard that said about our denomination? Most I would imagine. The ability to be a whole person in our faith is import to us. We know that we lose something precious when we cannot question freely and believe as our own study and devotions lead us. We need to be able to bring our whole selves to church.
We need to be able to bring our whole selves to church. That is why the church should be concerned about marriage. We have a creation story that teaches us that we were created in the image of God, not some of us are created in the image of God, but that humanity in all its diversity is created in the image of God. Yes, persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities are created in the image of God, not just the heterosexual, cisgender ones. And church should be a place where everyone can be welcomed to worship, to serve, and to share life’s highs and lows with their sisters and brothers in Christ.
As I write this same gender couples are rushing to marry in Michigan. Yesterday a federal judge found the law preventing same gender marriage in Michigan unconstitutional. The news pictures I saw were of happy couples rushing to take advantage of what would likely be a short window of opportunity and getting married at county clerk offices. What was expected to be a window of opportunity that might last only a few days turned into one that lasted only a few hours until the ruling was stayed and we do not know how long it may be until a final ruling is made.
I watched those couples, brimming over with joy having just experienced something that many of them likely had not dared hope would be available to them-being legally married. Their relationship was recognized. In church we celebrate births, we support each other during difficult times, we rejoice when milestones are reached and pray with each other through it all. How can marriage possibly not be part of what we celebrate in church? And how can we possibly justify celebrating it for some and not for others?
But we don’t just pride ourselves on being a church that you can bring your whole self to church, we celebrate an open table. But when we don’t welcome everyone into church we put a barrier around the table. Just because we put it far enough out that we don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It keeps out not only many lgbt persons but also that mother who isn’t going to go where her son and his partner isn’t as welcome as she is. It keeps out the grandparents who decide not to go where they can’t celebrate the child born to their daughter and her wife. It keeps out the family who decides that their gender nonconforming child is safer outside of the church. It keeps out the young that are not going where their friends are not all welcome. It keeps out a lot of people.
Marriage is not a fringe issue. There are people inside and outside our churches that are waiting to see what we will do. What welcome are we going to show them?
Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?