So today, I’m sipping coffee (again) in Berkeley (again) before my fasted run (again), and not complaining (at all).
And today, my uncle Tim is marrying the love of his life, his partner, Bennie.
Today, I’m attending my first gay wedding.
And today, I’m going to discuss what I never branch into discussing, because it’s such a hot-button topic: gay marriage.
I grew up in an incredibly conservative, restrictive, cult-like Christian culture. Gratefully, my parents moved away from that when I was 18, and started their own church, which helped me break out of a lot of brainwashing, lies, bigotry, distortion of scripture, and self-righteous, fear-driven, extra-biblical “law”.
I also grew up in a culture which was composed of at least 75% broken, miserable, unhappy, abusive, chauvenistic, fucked up marriages, with the other 25% being purely beautiful, full of respect and love (my parents’ is one of the amazing ones).
But even after we left, I still would have told you that gay marriage was “sinful” and “wrong”.
Fast-forward 8 years.
Fast-forward through 7 years of chronic illness, 3 years of a broken, abusive, unbiblical “christian” marriage, rape, two years of motherhood, several moves, unemployment, and many broken moments of single motherhood; fast forward through a shit ton of life experiences, and you’ll find ME.
Me, learning to redefine my religion from a basis of LOVE, open-mindedness, and experience with the “God” I KNOW.
The “God” I pray to, talk to, still believe exists, who held me together and helped me find my feet and myself and my way through illness, abuse, and recovery, he LOVES.
There are several ways to approach this issue.
I could say that according to the Bible, God created marriage to be for a man and woman, but all of that was distorted and changed at “the fall”. Therefore, what matters is that these people, in this day and age, are loving and respectful of each other, and we shouldn’t expect everyone to have “straight” marriages anymore.
I could say that biblical law is archaic, that banning gay marriage goes right up there with wondering if we should still stone people for adultery or lying. I could remind you that much of old testament and new testament scripture is ignored by church culture.
I could point out the discrepancy between “christians” who get drunk, who have sex outside of marriage, who do many things you aren’t SUPPOSED to do, and still condemn another “sin” – the sin of gay marriage – despite their own transgressions.
I could remind you that Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, so even if you don’t think gay people should be married, you have no right to condemn, abuse, malign, ostracize or disrespect them.
But what I find myself doing – as I struggle to pick up the pieces of a once seemingly rock-solid faith that was in truth completely untested by time, maturity, and the pain that life brings – is arguing simply and irrevocably from a position of LOVE.
I have learned to love what I believe mirrors the characteristics of the God that I know. The Being that created a world that should’ve reflected love, respect, integrity, friendship, companionship, affection, joy, family, giving, community… “peace, patience, kindness, no record of wrongdoing, delighting not in evil, but rejoicing with truth”.
Through all of the pain I have incurred, I have learned to simply and purely respect what is GOOD: what builds up and draws together and demonstrates LOVE, at it’s selfless, priceless, genuine essence, and to reject that which is EVIL: which pulls apart, which causes pain, which puts down and destroys, selfishly, fearfully, and without sincerity, full of hypocrisy.
For this reason – because I love these two people, because they love each other, because I simply respect what they have built over many years with each other; the people they’ve drawn together, the community they’ve created, the respect and integrity they share – for this reason, I stand behind them today, and I delight in doing so.
Happy wedding day, Tim and Bennie!
Thank you for unintentionally pushing me to grapple with yet another issue that leads me to a place of loving myself, and others.