Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Marriage


Perhaps the spring-time weather, lingering royal wedding fever and finishing university have something to do with the fact that lots of my friends are getting engaged at the moment. It’s very exciting! For me, I just can’t imagine knowing another person well enough to want to get married to them – but I guess the saying ‘never say never’ should apply!

Marriage has been in the news lots too recently, clogging up my twitter feed and sparking semi-controversial conversation amongst friends. Potential debates are plentiful and include the well protected traditional ‘one man one woman’ definition of marriage, equal opportunities, and the fine line that separates religious freedom and perceived homophobia.

Although I almost called this blog ‘why I’m not signing the Coalition for Marriage petition’, I won’t compromise my belief that marriage is part of God’s design to unite one man and one woman only. From a biblical perspective, it can’t be anything else. Marriage sounds great, even if at the moment I do see myself growing old single and happy with cats for company. It’s a partnership designed to reflect the relationship between Jesus Christ and his united followers, the Church.

However, I have to recognise that my views about marriage are shaped entirely by my view of God and his marvellous grace; I believe in Jesus Christ –and that only by his death and resurrection can I attain righteousness before God. My opinions about gay marriage are therefore based on this, and my understanding that God’s design is perfect and His rule is best. As with everything, I must remember that as a Christian, the only reason I follow God’s rules is because I trust that His way is the best way (how often I wish that I believed this more wholeheartedly!).

But, I can’t forget that the attitudes of lots of my friends, and most of this country’s policy makers aren’t based on the same core beliefs as mine. How can I expect the country to trust and therefore follow the rightful rule and a perfect design of a God it doesn’t yet believe in or know? 

While I’m still trying to figure out if there is any practical difference between a ‘civil partnership’ (currently legal) and the proposed new ‘civil marriage’, one thing is clear. The person sitting in the seat next to mine at church on Sunday morning might have something different to say about gay marriage, but in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s a secondary issue.

I’m not going to lie; I don’t care much either way about whether gay marriage is legalised. I’m more inclined to care about the very necessary distinction we must make between being anti gay marriage and being anti gay. I’m sad to say that I’ve read some insensitive literature published by Christian groups on the subject that I would really not want to share with or have to explain to my non-christian friends, regardless of their sexual preferences. Obviously as Christians what we say is key, but the bible champions gentleness and respect in the way that things are said. So, with these reasons in mind, I’ve chosen (at least for now) not to sign to The Coalition for Marriage petition.

I can’t help but wonder why Christians (and I certainly include myself in this) can be so lively when it comes to shouting about religious discrimination and the semantics of secondary issues. Whilst getting involved with politics and making decisions that honour God in every area of our lives is obviously important, our primary focus , and our greatest priority, has to be the identity and mission of Jesus Christ; to know Christ and to make him known.

Where is our overwhelming zeal for the gospel of Jesus Christ above all else? I can’t help wondering why this isn’t the subject that the UK’s church leaders are called for to debate on Newsnight, the subject that we seek to challenge our friends with every day, and the burning question we just can’t wait to raise with our newly elected university student union executive.


Big congratulations to all of my newly (or not so newly) engaged friends!


But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the lab, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead.


Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.


Philippians 3: 7 - 14


1 comment:

pannell said...

Well Said Miss Pringle