This past weekend, Patrick and I had the opportunity to go to a fabulous wedding of two of our equally fabulous friends.
Patrick went to school with A when they were kids. I have known A since junior high. We played saxophone in band, we were in cadets together and we went to school together for a million year (okay from junior high through undergrad). A was one of the girls when we were growing up and as one of the only gay teens we knew, he was also one of the bravest people. A met J when we were in early university. They have been together longer than Patrick and I have been, if you get technical about it. They embraced Patrick as a friend when he came into the picture. Two of the funniest and friendliest people I know, these guys remained our friends despite our moving away and rarely seeing them.
This wedding was a long time coming.
Like these friends, their wedding was both classy and unique. Held in the local theatre, they had almost a theatre theme to it, including a program with acts, and their names up in lights with the theme, “It Gets Better.”
The wedding was big, even despite the fact it was a blizzard. We joked they invited half the city. And it is true, I think they really did. They know a lot of people, touched a lot of lives.
The wedding was fun. There was lots of time to chat with people, catch up with friends and, of course, an epic dance party (that we missed partly because we were there with my lovely BFF in a wheelchair secondary to a nasty sprain (more on those adventures some other time, but part of them involved getting stuck in a bathroom) and also partly due to our fears of dying on the roads if we waited any longer to head home).
The wedding was emotional. In fact, I found it more emotional than the weddings of my best friends. The ceremony was simple. Different from ones I have been to before. The reception was full of heartfelt speeches about the love between these two guys and how they share their love outwardly (and all of the inappropriate stories one could never share about their shenanigans). They addressed the challenges that come with relationships and marriage. They addressed the added challenges that come with being a same-sex couple. Their families talked about how they love their sons and want them to be happy. And, as one of the parents added, this marriage was something they struggle with on a faith side of things, but if you love your kid, it is something they will work through.
I could not be happier for these two. The joy they feel. The love of people in the room who care for them. And the great things they will do as the dynamic duo they have been for years.
Before someone goes all crazy on me, let me further explain myself.
These guys are my friends. We aren’t super close, but they are two of the nicest guys I know. Stand up people. I love them as people first. And thus, I love them in their choices and despite of their choices. They do the same for their friends.
Going to the wedding, all that stuff was a no-brainer for me. Friends are getting married… You go. Patrick and I discussed it. A few people we know might say something, but I didn’t really care. They are my friends… What is the big deal?
In fact, I don’t know if I should have to explain myself. I considered leaving it be. But, this is something that needs to be talked about candidly. Instead of either flipping out or ignoring it completely.
Like everyone who hears anything on the news these days knows, it can be a big deal. And really, weddings are always a big deal.
Gay marriage is legal in Canada. It doesn’t mean that it is widely accepted by the churchy population in particular, especially those who are very conservative or extremist (I consider these different). And it isn’t quite as common as one might think.
I am a Christian. They know that. They came to my wedding. The weddings of many of our other friends. They stopped in to Christian Fellowship meetings to meet up with us when we were in university. They know very well where we stand on many issues.
Where do I stand?
Well, I believe in Biblical marriage. The union of a man and a woman before God. How that is a symbol for Christ and the church.
I also am a law abiding citizen. And in the law, it states that a man can marry a man. And these guys chose that union. And that is their choice. And it is legally binding like my marriage, but looks different. It isn’t biblical, but it is legal and their relationship is real. I acknowledge the fact they are legally married. I acknowledge even more that they are happy. It doesn’t mean I have to go out and do it too or promote it.
I admire and respect anyone who gets married with a seriousness and life-long commitment that seems to be lacking in today’s society. A relationship should not be thrown away all willy-nilly.
I believe the Bible does say homosexual sexual relations are a sin (see Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). It is mentioned in Romans and Corinthians as a sin too. Sex outside of a Biblical marriage relationship is a sin always, as well (Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, Ephesians 5:3). And if you take the biblical definition of marriage seriously, then any sex outside of male-female relations in or out of marriage is a sin.
I believe both the Church and society have it wrong (again, please hold stones until the end…). We see all the crazy fanatics yelling and throwing stones. The hate and hurt is what society sees. That isn’t what God is all about. And it isn’t what the Church is all about… at least not the whole church. Yes, God is all for justice. He has all sorts of rules to protect us. But, that is His thing. God also sent Jesus. And Jesus really liked people. And not just some people who fit in his box. All people, including the ones the church of the day liked to throw stuff at. I know, not all Christians are like that. But, that is what people see. And by being that way, especially in the media, I think the Church sometimes puts people off. It does more harm than good. Even though it is often just an extreme minority who are full of shenanigans.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-20 that he did not come to abolish the old law but to fulfill it. So, the old law is still in place… Sort of. But, that is why we have Jesus. Not so we can go around breaking laws all willy nilly, but because God knew we would keep screwing it up.
And guess what… We all screw it up!
Sin is sin is sin.
So, I am sorry if I offend you by saying having sex with a member of the same sex is a sin according to the Bible. It isn’t, however, written that it is wrong to be gay. That is just who you are. And at that, a piece of who you are. Being gay is NOT a sin. Just like being straight is not a sin. Sexuality is just a part of a person. I can’t explain it. The more important piece is that people are people, no matter who they are attracted to.
Plus, news flash… We all sin. Sorry if I offend you by saying that. It is a fact. No matter what you believe, I think you can believe people do awful stuff sometimes. It is also a sin to tell white lies, say bad things about someone and want something someone else has. And my meanhearted words are no different than so and so having sex before marriage is no different than Bob who stole a loaf of bread.
Our sin is between ourselves and God.
Not ourselves and the Church (unless you are a part of the church in which case the church can come along side and help you with that). Not ourselves and our neighbor.
All that to say, if we are all sinners, then who are we to go pointing fingers and stone throwing. There is no hierarchy. We are not perfect. We all just need to get over ourselves. Sin is a dirty word to us. But really, lots of things are sin. We just pick and choose what to pick on.
I am not saying turn a blind eye to sin. But, I am saying we need to look at ourselves first. We need to love people. We need to look at their intentions. We need to come along side of people and accept them where they are at. If God wants to deal with something in their lives He will show us how to do that and He will show them.
So, where do I stand?
I love people. I love these friends. I support them. I don’t embrace their lifestyle choice as my own. But I am not going to condemn it, even if others think I should. Because that is their decision. I am not enabling sin or forcing it on them. They make their choices with or without me. And that is just one tiny piece of a whole bunch of awesomeness in them. I love them where they are. And I am happy for their happiness. They will do great things as a couple. They already have.
Did I do the right thing?
I think so. I love my friends. Being there on their special day shows love, caring, respect.
Being there did not cause anyone to stumble. Being there did not change anything or anyone for the worse. But, it did show that we love and care for two people who did the same for us.
They will do great things with their lives. I wish them nothing but happiness. And it was awesome to get to celebrate their commitment with them.
I know this will likely bring about some debate. I know others don’t share my beliefs. And I don’t share the beliefs of others. That is what makes life interesting. Keep it respectful.