Monthly Archives: April 2015

If “Marriage” Means Nothing…Let’s Counsel Young Christians Toward “Covenant”

Alright, Christians, let’s do it.

Let’s drop the word “Marriage” all together.

As I explained when I posted my most popular article on my old blog, our culture seems to be very confused about what marriage is supposed to mean.

Many people–along with the government–believe it’s about some flimsy, pleasurable feeling they call “love,” which couples can fall in and out of.

And, for some reason, thousands of people line up at courthouses across the country each year to sign pieces of paper asking the government to approve of those feelings. (Well, that is until the feelings change. In which case they will line up at the courthouse again, to make sure the government knows they don’t “love” each other anymore.)

It’s very strange, but that’s what many people think “marriage” is.

So, I started wondering… how do you even begin to correct the misunderstanding of literally millions of people from here to Europe?

Sure, there are modern-day philosophers like Ryan T. Anderson and Voddie Baucham and Matt Walsh who are trying their best–with all the patience they can muster–to explain that “gay marriage” makes about as much sense as “square circle,” but the culture just isn’t listening.

Too many confused, “compassionate” folks believe they know exactly what love and marriage are, and gay people need to participate, gosh darn it!  

If a couple of adults want to have sex, then they ought to be awarded a government certificate for it!

And so those compassionate folks keep screaming EQUALITY EQUALITY EQUALITY louder than anyone else can point out, “Yeah…except your version of ‘marriage’ isn’t equal to the traditional Christian one at all.”

So why don’t those of us who “get it” simply change our own terminology?  

Wouldn’t that be easier in the long run?

I’m serious.  I’m going to stop referring to myself as “married” and call myself “United in Covenant” instead.   The term “Covenant” would offer much more helpful information than the basically meaningless, tax-status word “marriage” does.

Why tell people “I’m Married,” as if they care about my various government contracts?  

You might as well shake someone’s hand for the first time and say:

“Nice to meet you! I have three kids, and I just applied for a passport!

…So tell me about YOU! What sort of forms have YOU been filling out?”

Your identity has very little to do with the government business you’re handling.  (I hate to break it to you, but nobody really wants your license plate number, either.)

BUT, if you’ve made a Covenant recently–well, that’s a bigger deal.

Covenants are more exclusive. Covenants are much harder.  Covenants were designed by God to move us toward holiness, which means stripping away our selfishness and replacing it with grace…  (That process is usually painful.)

Most importantly, Covenants have nothing–NOTHING–to do with the United States Supreme Court.

I bet Christians would start getting some attention if (when asked, “Are you married”) all of us said, “Well, we formed a Covenant in 2008.”

I bet a few people would ask you to explain a little further…

But we would need to make it part of our everyday dialog, in order to get any cultural traction.

What if we asked young, engaged couples for clarification when they started showing off their ring?

“Congratulations! So, are you engaged to be married? Or are you engaged for a Covenant ceremony?”

(On second thought, maybe we should hold the “congratulations” until after we get the answer. “Congratulations on the right to transfer property if you die!”  Weird.)

But, we should encourage couples who are taking the leap into Covenant because it has huge physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. 

And it’s hard.

There is no simple “undo” from a Covenant–which means you’re bound for life. One flesh!  And there will be days (weeks? months?)  when one or both want to give up…

We need to celebrate with young couples entering into Covenant, because (as the two enjoy their One Flesh relationship) there’s the possibility they’ll create new life!   And children are hard–but worth it.

Perhaps we’ve allowed “Marriage” to be transformed into a glorified dating relationship, but the Husband-Wife Covenant always has been the same.   It’s much, much more than a contract involving property and savings accounts.  In fact, it’s even more than whatever gay rights advocates want to call “love.”

Maybe the best way to show the difference is to stop using the vague, hijacked word “marriage” completely.

—-

But I’m going to need other Christians to join me, for this to work.  Are you willing to start referring to Christian unions as “Covenants?”

Do you believe there’s a difference between the papers we submit to the courthouses, and the vows a man/woman make before God? Will you be faithful to your spouse–always hoping and always persevering–until one of you dies, regardless of how the government defines your relationship?

Then tell the world about your Covenant!

Anybody can get “married.” (And, pretty soon, anyTHING will be eligible for marriage as well. Because Equality.)

But, if your relationship to your spouse is different from whatever they’re debating in Washington–then maybe it’s time to call it by a different name, too…

I don’t want my kids to get married.

But a Holy Covenant is a different story…

Five Arguments that STILL Don’t Give You the Right to Control Another Person’s Conscience

Ugh, I didn’t want to write this post…  The internet is positively saturated with articles and opinions about Indiana’s new RFRA law, so surely this horse is juuuuuuust about dead, right?

But something occurred to me.

Some people bake delicious wedding cakes. And some folks are gifted photographers (whose talents are sought by straight and gay couples alike). And some people deliver pizza and some own cozy bed-and-breakfasts and some arrange flowers, and many of them are busy washing their store windows and sending emails and writing checks so their employees can eat…

So they don’t have the time to stop and write a defense for themselves and send it to busybodies who think they know how to run the business the “right way.”

It’s people like me who have been given the gift of expression.

So I suppose, like the small business owners in my home state of Indiana, I need to get to work.

—–

You–person who does NOT own the bakery or the photography business or the pizzeria or the bed-and-breakfast–you have no right to decide how those businesses operate. 

You are not an honorary manager in their Ethics Department.

You are not simply an unpaid staff member in charge of Gay Customer Relations.

The Moral Police isn’t a real thing–and even if it were (and if you were the chief), you still wouldn’t have jurisdiction over Mr. Jones’ Flower Shop.

YOU’RE NOT IN CHARGE.

So, though your understanding of right/wrong may be super impressive, or Bible-supported, or lawyer-endorsed, or all of the above, you cannot force your understanding of “right” on a business owner who feels the thing would be “wrong.” 

Mmmmmmmmkay?

Yes, I’ve heard all of your excuses.

1. This country is reverting back to the 1800’s!!!!!!!!

But, no, the new law doesn’t change anything on the legal front. And it only reiterates that business owners still have some rights to make decisions in their own stores. Of course, if next year rolls around and we start seeing gay men being branded and made to wear collars while plowing Mike Pence’s cotton fields, then you can say “told ya so.”

But something tells me you’re getting worked up over nothing.

If anything, all the hullabaloo over something as standard as religious freedom only goes to show how our priorities have changed in two centuries… Now we assume that certain groups need to be “protected,” while others should be “regulated.” We believe that gay couples need freedom because they will do nothing with it but love each other–while, on the other hand, business owners with too much freedom will turn into raging, homophobic freaks.

So, tell me, are our prejudices really better than they were in the 1800’s, or just different?

2. People’s consciences aren’t really bothered by servicing (or officiating) gay weddings; they’re just hateful bigots!   Wow.  Are you positive about that?  There’s literally no way to prove what another person feels, so I don’t have much to say on this point. Except, just because you’re 100% comfortable with the idea of supporting a gay wedding doesn’t mean others are.  Do you have to assume the people claiming religious exemption are just liars covering up their hate?

You can’t even give them a little credit?

3. Religion doesn’t give you the right to be a bigot. No–it’s the Constitution that does that. True liberty means having the freedom to be a jerk. It means some of us will make bad decisions and harbor ridiculous, hateful ideas, and there’s nothing the rest of us can do except say, “Hey, you’re a jerk!”  and stop associating with them…

But, when we start writing laws to force those bigots to act like we think they should, then we’re skating thin ice. We’re sacrificing freedom, a little at a time, because we believe that enforcing our morality is more important than allowing jerks to walk free.

4. Jesus ate with thieves and prostitutes–of course he would bake a cake for a gay wedding! Well, let’s be clear. Jesus dined with sinners while teaching them how to change.

He ate with the thieves–He didn’t pat their heads and help them plan who to rob next. He talked with the prostitutes; he didn’t ask the Disciples to open their bedrooms so the whores could entertain their clients more comfortably…

See, if you think baking a gay-wedding cake is similar to eating with sinners, that’s fine. But there are people who feel it’s actually closer to enabling the sin than just tolerating it. They don’t want to actively participate and endorse something that is wrong.

Most craftsmen put their heart/soul into their photos and flower arrangements, and they just can’t do their job as well when they’re asked to celebrate something immoral. There’s a big difference between spending time with people who sin, and stamping it with your small seal of approval…

5. Jesus would “go the extra mile” and bake two cakes!
Well, if you’re really convinced of that, then great! Go further than you have to go! Bake twelve cakes for everybody who threatens to sue if you don’t!

But, there’s a difference between sacrificing your time/energy in the name of love…and sacrificing your conscience, when you believe something is wrong.

If someone demanded that you steal food to feed the homeless, would you?  (Would you shoplift double what they asked?)

If a nurse’s employer forced her to help an elderly person commit suicide, should she offer to pull the plug on someone in the next room, too?

“You came to me for one abortion. But I’m going to offer you a discount on your next one, too! Because I’m a doctor who loves Jesus.”

At some point there will (or at least should) be a line eventually that you won’t cross, because Jesus didn’t mean for us to SIN  in order to show “love” for the nonbelievers.  If someone has a restless, guilty conscience over something, maybe it’s actually the voice of God they’re hearing? Maybe they’re not simply stalling because walking another mile would be a pain in the butt?

Maybe it actually would be wrong for them to continue doing it, when their conscience says no?

—-

Look, I get it. There are different opinions about how Jesus would handle today’s controversies. Some of us believe Jesus had a clear mission with standards, and others believe He was the ultimate, enabling, people-pleasing, Yes Man, who cared more about “nice” than “truth.”

That’s fine.

If you own a bakery, then you can provide cakes for as many gay pseudo-marriages as you want, and tell yourself that hundreds of souls will be saved as a result. (And you Christian doctors can keep scraping tiny humans out of their mothers, too. Since that’s what Jesus would do…)

But when all of this stuff comes up for vote, how dare you use the law to tell others how to feel?  How dare you talk about the “marginalized” and the “oppressed” and “social justice” while ignoring the humanity and basic freedoms of an entire chunk of the public:

business-owners-with-more-sensitive-consciences-than-you?

You–who do not own the bakery or the photography business or the flower shop–you are not an honorary member of their Ethics Department.  And even though you’re absolutely, very, totally positive about what “Jesus would do,” you cannot force others to act like Him…