What is the church’s voice in the marriage equality issue, and how helpful is it? As I consider this question, I look at the church’s role overall. The church has produced immeasurable good in the culture, as Christians have followed Jesus’ call to protect the unprotected, feed the needy, stand up for the marginalized. —the … Continue reading Bonus Essay 5: We Are NOT God’s Hall Monitor
Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The word “sacrament” has its origin in the Latin word “sacrare” meaning “to consecrate.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a sacrament as a “religious rite or ritual that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a … Continue reading Bonus Essay 4: Why should the church care about marriage?
I have been avoiding writing this essay. I’ve been struggling with my answer to this question. God has pestered me through enough people though that I’m finally doing it. I’ve intentionally not read any other essays yet – not only to reduce the urge to compare mine – but because I suspect I have nothing … Continue reading Bonus Essay 3: An American Pastor’s Struggle with the Legality of Marriage
The church should care about marriage because we have handed to it the secular and legal task of marrying individuals. I believe in the separation of church and state. As an atheist with heavy libertarian leanings, I am particularly sensitive to the boundaries between the institutions of government and religion. But I am also a … Continue reading Bonus Essay 2: The Church is Bound to Care About Marriage, an Atheist’s View
I need the language of Dickens to describe the scene I witnessed some time ago. A couple of older clergy, who had a bit of liquor to loosen the tongue, were having a rather irreverent and loud conversation about things religious: a church organist, a bit too pious church member, a sermon by a neighboring … Continue reading Bonus Essay 1 (Pentecost!!!): From Ignorant Church to Prophetic Church
I was once called at 4 a.m. to care for a family I did not know. They were at the hospital, where their 90-year-old loved one had just died, and they hoped a pastor might come pray with them. I groggily made my way to the hospital room and found a couple in their 60’s … Continue reading Day 49: Relationships From God
For some, the Church is the final bastion in the culture war to preserve the notion held by some of “traditional family.” For others, marriage is merely a civil contract, in which organized religion should have no part. I think both are wrong. Yes, the Church should care about marriage, but not in order to … Continue reading Day 48: What Church and Culture Both Get Wrong About Marriage
For many years I have struggled with how to Biblically relate to homosexuality. Of course the references in both the Old and New Testaments are well known. But in light of Christ’s teaching, in His own words, as recorded in the Gospels, lead me to reject the condemnation (and instructions for executing homosexuals) contained in … Continue reading Day 47: Love is Love
One of the worst days of my life was my wedding day. The stress, the families, the worrying, or the details of what I might be forgetting. Many racing thoughts overwhelmed me. Where are my shoes? Are the bouquets and boutonnieres with the right people? Are the musicians here? Will the tacky red church carpet … Continue reading Day 46: To Live the Love for which We Are Created
I never really thought about what my wedding would be like til I came Out. Then of course I spent all kinds of time trying to make it work in my head. Once when I described a particularly dramatic vision version to my parents. Their response was, “We love you. How we feel about who … Continue reading Day 45: Why should the church care about marriage?
She was a blond haired, blue eyed, bubbly eleven year old who more or less ricocheted off walls. She wanted to talk about boys, not the Bible. She and the other sixth graders often squealed as only middle school girls can. Change the hair and eye color and that could be a pretty good description … Continue reading Day 44: Blessing: Juice Boxes & Marriage
I want to rephrase the question. Instead of, “Why should the church care about marriage?” I want to ask, “How should churches come to care about marriage equality?” Mine is a question of strategies, not rationale. So my question becomes, “How do we move our communities from here to there?” And, “how do we lead … Continue reading Day 43:“How” Matters
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend when I turn on my TV, listen to conversations around me, and when I log onto social media. Marriage isn’t valued anymore. People ask “why get married” when they are happy just living together. Spouses say mean things about each other in their friend groups, and often in the guise … Continue reading Day 42: Valuing Marriage
Because Marriage Needs Faith and Humor I was, what, maybe five years old? We were in Chicago. I had climbed up the tight spiral stone staircase to the organ loft of the Chapel of the Holy Grail. From my perch, that small chapel was majestic. It was lit with candles and incandescent with music. It … Continue reading Day 41: Faith and Humor
It was especially hot that day. The temp was in the high 90’s and the humidity was over the top. I was standing in a little white Methodist Church (no air conditioning) situated on a small lake in Indiana, dressed in a rented tux and new shoes that pinched my feet. My poor wife to … Continue reading Day 40: Essay on Marriage and the Church
One of the most important roles that the church plays in life is to help point people toward the mystery of God’s presence in our lives. We Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) folk focus on two avenues for such presence: the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, and the practice of baptism for believers. A … Continue reading Day 39:Why should the church care about marriage?
My father’s family is big. His father came from a small town called Summerhill, Pennsylvania. My grandfather had six siblings and they each had many children of their own. Growing up we were always closest to my great Aunt Marg’s family. She had six children who were all around my parent’s ages which meant their … Continue reading Day 38: Why Should The Church Care About Marriage?
The church should care about marriage because the church is uniquely empowered to go beyond secular society’s declarations that demeaning someone’s love is irrational to naming such unfair degradation for what it is: Evil. The church did not lead the charge against injustice based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Having not lived through the … Continue reading Day 37: Demeaning the Love of Another Is Not Just Illegitimate; It Is Evil.
I love Al Green. Absolutely. Positively. Love Al Green. One of his hit songs goes, “I’m so tired of being alone/I’m so tired of on-my-own/Won’t you help me girl/Just as soon as you can”. Replace “girl” with “church” and you get my thoughts on the question at hand. As someone who is in the thick … Continue reading Day 36: I’m Tired
This may sound a bit strange coming from a minister but . . . I dislike performing weddings. Seriously . . . I really dislike performing weddings. I have many friends who delight in doing weddings but I’m not one of them. In the not quite 11 years I have been an ordained minister I … Continue reading Day 35: A Wedding does not a Marriage make
John 20:1-18 “20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have … Continue reading Day 34: Sermon Reflection on Marriage on Resurrection Day 2013
I never understood why the “church” hated “The Gays.” I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, Freewill Baptist Church, along with other charismatic denominations. Each one catered to the belief that all were sinners, but the church of God’s people were saved from the weeping an gnashing of teeth. It was not uncommon for … Continue reading Day 33: Binary Oppositions: Blending Religious Boundaries with Marriage Equality
“Why should the church care about marriage?” is an unusual question or me. At 27, I’ve not even considered marriage, and as someone firmly in the “millennial” generation I’m not unusual. According to a recent Pew study, 26% of millennials aren’t married by the time they turn 32. Contrast that with 36% of Gen-x, 48% … Continue reading Day 32: Marriage: Something Beautiful
The state of Iowa just celebrated 5 years of legalizing civil unions. It was a moment that I was very proud of. The ruling to legalize civil unions has stood countless vows from the opposition to over turn the law. As a pastor, I have had to answer the question multiple times of “will you … Continue reading Day 31: Love Knows No Bounds
My mother used to tell the story of when I was a child, sitting at the kitchen table. She gave my older brother a knife. I looked down at my silverware and said, “Girls don’t get a life.” My brother replied, “No, they grow up to be someone’s life.” Marriage permeates life. The messages we … Continue reading Day 30: The Work of Love
We make so much of the beginnings of the covenant Whether it should begin: “Have you had premarital counseling?” Whether it is biblical: “What gender is your partner?” We make so much of the ends of the covenant Whether it should dissolve: “What are your grounds for leaving?” Whether it is biblical: “Why can’t you … Continue reading Day 29: I Wish
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 … Continue reading Day 28: Marriage: It Matters For Us All
Wanted- a church that says it is welcoming And actually is Wanted- a church not color blind But kaleidoscope embracing Wanted- a church that is humbly proud of itself And has reason to be Wanted- a church not elitist But makes space for every income & education Wanted- a church that takes in the community … Continue reading Day 27: Want Ad
I want to begin my musing with a little history. In June 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, a Black woman, and Richard Loving, a White man, were married in the District of Columbia pursuant to its laws. Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to Virginia and established their marital abode in Caroline … Continue reading Day 26: On What an “Almighty God” Would Sanction
Somewhere, years ago, I heard the tongue-in-cheek definition of justice as, “worrying about what God worries about when God gets out of bed in the morning.” While oversimplified, the obvious point is to share in God’s concerns as if they were our own, if indeed justice matters to us. The church should care (or worry) … Continue reading Day 25: Worrying About What God Worries About
My answer to the question of why churches should care about marriage equality comes in the form of hymn lyrics because of my deep belief that the words we sing in worship matter. Words sung and spoken in worship carry great power to contribute to the Good News of peace and justice or to support … Continue reading Day 24: Singing Our Faith: Hymns That Strengthen the Marriage Bond
I had never actually met Melinda and Joni before the day I officiated at their wedding! They were very dear friends with members of the church I attend, who told me what a wonderful couple they were and that Melinda and Joni had been together for 33 years. The wedding was held in their back … Continue reading Day 23: Marriage: The Words of Scripture Spoken
Why should the church care about marriage? My answer could easily read like a Top Ten list from a late-night TV show, with the Number Two answer being this: Because we’re family, and Number One being Because of Grace. We have a running joke in my current family that if you don’t know the answer … Continue reading Day 22: Space for Grace
Marriage is both a civil and a religious institution. Marriage is recognized in our laws as conferring certain rights and responsibilities by law. Marriage is also a sacramental covenant of relationship between two people who love each other. Thus, it is altogether appropriate that the church be involved in and support this ceremony of commitment … Continue reading Day 21: The Gospel Message is God’s Love and Grace
You remember, of course, the beautiful marriage ceremony detailed by Jesus of Nazareth? It brings tears to my eyes just to think of it. And, of course, the founder of Christianity, the Apostle Paul, was all for marriage. He said clearly, “be just like me, marry early and marry often.” The Gospels describe the picturesque … Continue reading Day 20: What the New Testament Says About The Who, When, and Why of Marriage
Why Should the Church Care About Marriage? When I went to the position of Pastor at West Creighton Ave. Christian Church, Fort Wayne, IN, in 1975, a former pastor had refused to marry persons (one man and one woman of course, then as now in Indiana!) if either of them had been divorced. That was … Continue reading Day 19: On the Church Which Helps Us Hold Our Commitment
Why should the church be involved in the conversations today about marriage? The bible rarely speaks about marriage and its appearance has changed drastically and countless times across the generations and cultures of our history. It’s so easy to get caught up in the traditions of our upbringing or the super-charged hyperbole whizzing around that … Continue reading Day 18: Church – A Help in Times of Trouble
“Marriage is an ongoing lesson in how God loves us.” – Jenny Hicks, member of Karl Road Christian church. In my 25 plus years of ministry I performed many, many, weddings as a Christian minister. Sometimes for family members, often for church members and occasionally for strangers who came to me through friends. I have … Continue reading Day 17: Why Should the Church Care About Marriage for Everyone?
Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, approved by The Church of Scotland in 1648) Despite my very Disciples discomfort with creeds and catechisms, I have always loved the back and forth of … Continue reading Day 16: On Being Human
I was born into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), dedicated, baptized, active in youth group and worship my entire life. When I was to get married, of course, it would be in my home church, with a family friend and minister presiding. The person to whom I was engaged did not grow up in … Continue reading Day 15: When We Let The Church Care About Our Relationships…
I know a couple that’s been married for decades. They still exchange goodbye smooches when one of them leaves to run an errand. They’ve faithfully attended church their whole marriage, and I can see their intention to live lives that model welcome, patience, justice, and forgiveness – all characteristics and values we as Christians are … Continue reading Day 14: Welcome, Patience, Justice, Forgiveness
Well, one obvious answer is that many weddings still take place in churches, and in many cases where they are elsewhere, such as in someone’s home or outdoors, a member of the clergy still often officiates. Even many people who otherwise have little to do with churches still wish to have a church wedding to … Continue reading Day 13: What the Church Should Teach About Marriage
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be … Continue reading Day 12: Reclaiming The Counter-Cultural Christian Message of Marriage
This April, my wife and I celebrated our one-year anniversary, and I was told that the traditional one-year anniversary gift is paper. As I reflected on our journey so far, I came back to the marriage license we both signed, that piece of paper we got one year ago means more to us than it … Continue reading Day 11: A Little Less Concern About Paper
At a basic level, the church exists to promote and enhance the well-being of creation; to care for, protect, and nourish the people and environment we claim God has created. Since marriage and relationships are a huge part of anyone’s well-being, the church naturally has reason to care about marriage – and to promote healthy, … Continue reading Day 10: Why should the church care about marriage?
My name is John. I am an elder in my church, Central Woodward Christian Church of Troy, Michigan, and a Regional Elder in the Michigan Region of the Disciples of Christ. I feel called to be an ally of the LGBTQ community. For me the question of LGBTQ people in the church is not a … Continue reading Day 9: Making the Church Community Safe for All Who Enter
A few miles from my home is the border that separates Illinois, a state that is currently working to broaden the definition of marriage, and Indiana, the state where I reside that is actively working to limit the definition of marriage. In many ways the two states represent the tension that is present across our … Continue reading Day 8: Marriage as Spiritual Practice
Not long ago, I had to come home to tell my children that Charlie died. Back in the 70s Charlie had been ordained in the church where I serve. He soon left the ministry, however, after meeting Kirby—the love of his life. In fact, he didn’t last long in the church altogether. He just couldn’t … Continue reading Day 7: How’s Kirby? Why the Church Has to Get Marriage Equality Right
Most people probably don’t think of same-sex marriage when Hurricane (or “Super Storm”) Sandy is mentioned. Perhaps Sandy was not really a part of your reality. For those of us on the East Coast, and even moreso New York City, we can immediately tell you where we were and how we managed. It’s one of … Continue reading Easter Day 6: On Hurricane Sandy and Same-Sex Marriage
“The nature of marriage has varied greatly from one era to the next and from one society to the next. In fact, the nature of marriage has varied so much that it is difficult to come up with any one definition of marriage which adequately covers every permutation of the institution in every society which … Continue reading Easter Day 5: Blessing What God Has Blessed
Why Should the Church Care About Marriage? Is this a question about the separation of Church and State?? Sociologically speaking, marriage is the act of union, sanctified by God, for two people in love who want to spend the rest of their lives together – isn’t it?? OR, is it a governmental institution outlining a … Continue reading Easter Day 4: Marriage and Justice
Every pastor has a first time. In my case, it happened over 30 years ago, and she was only fifteen years old. I have thought of her often in these past decades. Her name is written in my book, but I doubt that she would remember my name. She was so young that her parents … Continue reading Easter Day 3: Every Pastor Has a First Time
My name is Rick, I currently serve as the Associate Pastor at Central Woodward Christian Church (CWCC) in Troy MI. My partner, now husband and I have been together over 18 years. Four years ago we adopted our son and we were blessed last August to legally marry in New York State by one of … Continue reading Easter Day 2: Honesty, Integrity and Stability
At a recent retreat with seasoned priests and ministers where I was an attendee, I asked the group their perspectives on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusion in their respective denominations. I said, “I know some pastors who are able to speak prophetically about LGBT inclusion from the pulpit, and their congregations are vital and … Continue reading 2014 Easter Day 1: Why Should the Church Care About Marriage?
We are getting ready for the 3rd Annual GLAD Alliance 2014 Easter Writing Project and we want to hear YOUR VOICES! You may ask, What is the Easter Writing Project? Click here to subscribe to the Easter Writing Project. This project brings one voice to the conversation of sexuality and faith daily through a writing piece. … Continue reading GLAD Easter Writing Project 2014