Marriage is changing. Regardless of your political party, religious persuasion, or sexual orientation the way culture defines marriage is not only in the process of changing, but it has already been changed. I want to be clear up front; this is not a post about defending traditional marriage - although I think Christians should defend the definition of marriage, and it is not a post about human rights - although justice should be upheld for all people. Because of the nature of all that is going on in the political arena around this topic, some of the things that I may talk about might be sensitive. And some may think that I'm being far too fundamentalist and others may feel like I'm being far too liberal.
Rules = Love
My son is just over one. He's old enough to eat most of the food we eat, walk around, play basketball in our living room, and despise going to bed at night. I also have some rules that I enforce for his own good. He doesn't eat candy yet. One day, he will get to eat candy but at this point because of the shape and size of candy, it still is potentially dangerous. When we play outside, I don't let him play outside the fence where he can easily wander to the street. These rules and guidelines that I make for my son are not I hate my son, but because I love him. When we talk about God's laws and standards for anything, it's this same way. The standards that are set forth in the Bible are for the sake our benefit - because God loves us and wants what's best for us.
The reason why I think it's important to lay it out like this is that it's easy to start painting a group of people as anti-human rights because they think the government's definition of marriage should match God's definition. That's not the case - if a Christian sees God's law as both loving and good, it would only be reasonable to expect that they want that which they value to be also valued in our government. Even if you disagree fundamentally with what they believe, their belief - whether right or wrong - doesn't stem from hate. And if a Christian values this definition of marriage and sees it as loving, we should also only expect that they would politically support the same. After all, democracy is built on voting on what agrees most with your values. If I had to vote on the legality of divorce, I'd vote against it. If I had to vote on the legality of human trafficking, I'd vote against it. This is exactly why we have a democracy, so we can vote for the things we value. And because it's a democracy - there will always be a group of people that disagree with some of the laws that get put in place.
We have a marriage problem.
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." - Matthew 19:4-6
God sets up his standard; a man and a woman in a covenant together for life. But this definition as we read in the scripture is not the definition of culture. Marriage in our culture is seen as nothing more than a contract between mutual parties that can be entered into and exited out of at will and a Supreme Court case is not going to change this. Regardless of what happens with DOMA and Proposal 8, the definition of marriage culturally has already changed.
50 percent of marriages end in divorce. TLC showcases an American Family trying to re-define marriage as a polygamist family. Pornography is a billion dollar industry. 80 percent of children in Detroit are raised in single-parent homes. There are countless couples that stay married due to obligation but don't feel any obligation to fix their relationship. I've heard numerous people talk about marriage as not that big a deal because, "it's just a piece of paper."
The way that people see marriage is not changing, it has already changed. And as Christians, how we respond is important. The best way to change culture though is not by holding up signs at a rally or changing your profile pic, but by offering a better alternative. I'm not saying that we don't speak up when it's necessary - there is a time and place for that. But I am saying that the best way is to change culture is always to show something better.
Non-christians can have a good marriage. But they cannot have the biblically, soul-satisfying kind of relationship that God desires for us. Gay couples will most likely in our lifetime be able to get married legally, but the beauty and mystery that comes in the marriage when a man and woman enter into a covenant with God won't be there. The best way that you change culture is by creating a new culture. The best thing we can do as Christians for the definition of marriage is to get married, love our families faithfully, and glorify Jesus in all that we say and do.
Note: I do moderate comments and I love conversation, but if comments get ugly I'll edit them or turn them off.