into the closet

Yesterday I drove through Mitch McGary’s hometown and realized this Buckeye was going to “cheer” for the Wolverines tonight. I’ve got three reasons:

1. Rick Pitino (don’t Google Pitino and Applebee’s)

2. It’s not football.

3. Speaking of football, it might be a long time until Michigan will be able to compete with Ohio State, so in the name of competitive balance I’d like to see them win something.

During the drive I listened to “On Being,” an NPR show that featured an interesting conversation on gay marriage between Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institute and David Blankenhorn. They both now support gay marriage, the former only recently and the latter because he is gay.

Two parts of the conversation stood out to me:

1. When they opened the floor for questions, David was asked how a gay couple could consummate their marriage, given that the sexual equipment of the two partners doesn’t exactly fit. David seemed irritated by the question and gave an extremely weak answer. He said that their marriage would be consummated through gay sex and the fact that the gay partners really do love each other.

I think there is an opening here to explain how it can be loving to gay people to oppose gay marriage. If sex is a reflection of the perichoresis of our Triune God (John 17:21-23), then gay sex will always frustrate both partners because it stops short of the oneness of the perichoretic God who made us in his image. Regardless how much a gay person yearns for his partner, he can never become one with him. This matters, both to God and to the gay person.

2. David said that he doesn’t think he will succeed, but he is warning gay people not to press their advantage and force everyone else to agree with them. He noted that it’s tempting for oppressed minorities to oppress their oppressors once they win their freedom. He said this will probably happen but he hopes not, for America is a big country with lots of diverse people and no one should be made a prisoner of conscience.

I appreciate David for seeing this problem and for having the courage to speak up to his side about it, but he is probably right about the oppression that is coming our way. It may not be long until pastors, photographers, florists, tuxedo and bridal shops will have a choice to make:  either serve both traditional and gay weddings or get out of the wedding industry altogether.

In Concerning Idolatry, Tertullian argued that Christians should not serve in any occupation that is in any way tainted with idolatry. This category included astrologers, officers of the state, mathematicians, schoolmasters, professors of literature, gladiators, frankincense sellers, enchanters, magicians, and all forms of painting, modeling, and sculpture. Tertullian said that if this command prevented a Christian from earning a living, well, there are worse things than dying.

We might disagree about some of the items that Tertullian excluded from Christians (he held an extreme Christ vs. culture view), but it’s interesting that there have always been tasks that Christians thought they shouldn’t do. Until the imminent future, that didn’t include weddings.

9 Comments

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  1. I don’t see how or why the items in this post should compel you to root against your friend Jim’s Louisville Cardinals for your hated Michigan Wolverines!

  2. Apparently you took my advice and didn’t Google Pitino and Applebee’s. I do admire your ability to compartmentalize! And I seriously am glad to know there are good Christians on Louisville’s team.

    Will you cringe just a little when you see Rick surrounded by his happy family receiving the championship trophy?

  3. I like the insight…and the opening in #1….I also agree…please flesh out the mandate for oneness sexually and connect it to john 17… go blue

  4. Did you mean Rick Pitino?

  5. Thanks, Steve. But I wouldn’t trust Joe either! I changed it so I would look like I know what I’m talking about.

  6. Lindsay Williams April 9, 2013 — 8:12 am

    I heard this discussion on Sunday morning also. You have the same interpretation of the consummation bit as I did…annoyance that the question was even asked, and an all-over-the-board response that, I felt, never got to the specific issue of complementarity. As with many words in the same sex marriage conversation, “consummation”, it appears, is being redefined as well.

    Your response is exactly right….but will they listen…at all? If the notion of God is dismissed at a cultural level, how will an appeal to His trinitarian nature even begin to make sense? Have you had this type of conversation with a same sex marriage supporter? Was there receptivity to your explanation? (I loved reading Rosaria Butterfield’s autobiography. She addresses the idea that our beliefs about God will drive our theology of sex).

    Thanks for posting your thoughts!
    (Ah, I almost forgot…I thought it was Rausch who was speaking on consummation?…he is the gentleman who is gay. Blankenship, founder of the Institute for American Values, formerly supported a traditional definition of marriage but changed his mind on the issue.)

  7. Lindsay Williams April 9, 2013 — 8:14 am

    Blankenhorn, not Blankenship…boo auto-correct

  8. Oops! I had a hard time keeping them straight as I was driving–there were a couple of times where I thought the wrong voice was talking–so I may well have confused them. Sorry about that! At least they’re friends, and I hope they won’t mind.

    I haven’t had the chance to talk to a gay marriage supporter about the consummation and the Trinity idea. It’s an idea that struck me as I said we’ve got to explain how God’s view on homosexual practice is actually loving towards them–in their best interest–and not merely a judgment. I’ve heard great things about Rosaria’s book, and loved her piece in CT. One of the most honest and profound conversion stories ever.

  9. Yes, Mike, the oppression will indeed come, as we have already seen in Canada. Clergy have not yet been forced to conduct same-sex weddings, but the time may come. Trinity Western University, the largest Christian university in Canada, has applied to the British Columbia government for approval to start a law school. The federation of law school deans in the country has publically opposed the approval, on the basis that TWU does not affirm Canadian values as seen in the provision of same-sex marriage since 2005. It is virtually impossible now for someone seeking public office to admit that they reject the idea of same-sex marriage. I can’t imagine that the USA will avoid this much longer.

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