Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Royal Weddings..

Good monring God
Here we go again.. another Royal Wedding to delight the masses. Forgive me if I can't get that excited about two highly privileged people who have decided to do what thousands of other people are not yet allowed to do by the laws of this land - regardless of how much they love one another. 

And yes, what troubles me most is the way in which the Church colludes with this.

The Church has a stake in marriage, you could almost say that it has defined what Marriage is meant to be. From being a legal contract defining possession of goods, it has been transformed into a 'holy state', a 'Sacrament' even,  but most of all - an expression of love.

But it is this relationship between love and marriage that makes our current laws so repulsive and offensive. By refusing to allow same sex couples to marry, the law is essentially saying that some people do not have the right to love, or do not have the right sort of love..
So says the law - and so says the Church..

Shame on us.
Shame on the way we use our oh so clever theological and biblical arguments and Church discipline to defend such injustice. If you have seen fit to let love flourish between two people God,  then who on earth are we to deny either its validity or acceptability? Do we really think that you, the God of love, are best served by our denial of love just because we are uncomfortable about the sexual dimension of a relationship?

As a result of the Royal Wedding next year many more young couples will decide they really do want to get married. Some will be able to. Some will not. Not because they can't afford to, or because they don't love one another enough to make this life-time commitment but because society will not let them. It is a lie to say we are an open tolerant society. The fact is that civil partnerships are not the same as marriage. Both legally binding forms of relationship should be open to all,  otherwise all we are doing is practicing a form of love-apartheid.

And the Church could lead the way.. it could have the courage to face the fact that you love everyone and that, in spite of our protestations, you do not partition us by either our gender or our sexuality. You give us all the gift of love and the ability to express it.
It's time to own up to the fact that you did not create marriage - humans did, as a way of keeping control of certain things(women and their money mainly!).
That you have blessed the state of matrimony is amazing, a gift of grace - but surely that makes it all the more important that marriage should be open to all your children?

If the Church were to clamor for marriage to be open to all - the state would very quickly concur.
What on earth are we waiting for - a Royal civil partnership?


  1. What is your view on multiple partnership marriages - polygamy and polyandry?

  2. Hmm.. have not reflected enough on that to pass any other comment than that I have never heard of any polygamous or polyandrous relationships that are able to be truly equal - hence truly loving.. the sense of betrayal that is most commonly felt as a consequence of 'infidelity' makes me think it probably isn't a good idea! Scripture is, as usual, quite ambiguous - To be a church leader St Paul says you should only have one wife - but I don't believe Jesus was prepared to comment!

  3. Does that mean that scripture insists that all church leaders should be men or lesbian women in a civil partnership/marriage?

  4. No.. it simply means that someone writing under the pseudonym of Paul thinks that Church elders should only have one wife.

    Now you have to weigh that against the rest of Scripture..

  5. So Paul didn't exist? And the rest of scripture says.......?

  6. If you have seen fit to let love flourish between two people God, then who on earth are we to deny either its validity or acceptability?

    Would you apply that same principle if, for example the man was in his 60s and the girl was aged 7 even if they felt they were very much in love?

    It's time to own up to the fact that you did not create marriage - humans did

    "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." sound pretty intentional to me. Whether or not that includes a legal agreement within a culture there does at least appear to be a hint of some level of God's plan in a covenant between a man and a woman.

  7. Firstly - of course st Paul existed - but some of the letters bearing his name are believed to have been written by others according to the practices of that time. Scripture says interesting things about the kings of Israel and their wives and many concubines.. all worth reading!

    No.. I would not apply the same principle - because such an abusive relationship could not be equal in any way and hence could not bear the sort of fruit of love that enhances their lives and the whole of society which is the real measure of love. Love is not that which only benefits ourselves and satisfies our own selfish desires, but is that which benefits all of humanity by the outpouring of grace that flows from it.

    Hmmm... we could proof text Hebrew and Christian texts over the legal nature of marriage and whether it is a human or man made construct.. the practical evidence and the majority texts (see for example King Solomon and King David's treatment of women) suggest that it suits man to make it a 'religious' affair (pun intended)

  8. I'm puzzled (the first anonymous).

    If we can't take at face value Paul's letters why should we take at face value anything else written in the Bible.

    Did Jesus really say "Love those who persecute you" or was that inserted by someone else according to the practises of the time?

    Or do you "pick and mix" the bible and ignore those bits that don't suit you?

    Didn't the early Christians realise there was a problem of "version control" and sorted it out at the Council of Niseeah (I think that was it)?

    So what do we actually accept in the Bible as "gospel" (excuse the pun) and what do we dismiss as something that was added by an unknown editor?

    You chritians have got to make up your mind. Is the bible a holy book or is it just a random collection of words that are for all intents and purposes meaningless? In which case why have organised religion? Why not be a humanist?

  9. Hello Anonymous,
    I dont know if you are serious in your questions, but assuming that you are..
    The Bible is a library of books, some are history, some are poetry, some are prophecy, some are just letters to Churches and some are Gospels. I dont read poetry in the same way that I read history.. only an idiot would, so to presume that the Bible is a book of literal statements which should be taken at 'face value' would be nothing short of madness. I'm religious, but I'm not a religious nut!

    The Bible is 'Holy' in that it contains a record of the revelation of God in Christ. It is not 'Holy' in the sense that it is a clear and definitive statement for all time of what God expects human beings to do in the same way that the law of the land is not a definitive statement for all time of how human beings should behave..

    We believe in a living God whose will can only be understood by LIVING in relationship with God. The Bible is only a small (albeit very significant) part of that.

    Re organised religion - social cohesion is, and always will be dependent upon it. Imagine a secular Royal Wedding (Ha!) or a secular state funeral for those returning from Afghanistan..
    (which is not to say that I think state-religious links are all healthy or even desirable - see my post on the need for a secular day of remembrance)
    I'm just offering one reason why we have organised religion.

    Why not be a humanist - why do you suppose Christians are not also humanists? I believe wholeheartedly in the evolution and progression of humanity to a higher state of being - this is part of what Christianity teaches.
    Humanism without God however, is just the worship of the self - I can't see how that gets us anywhere - what's to worship about humanities predilection for war, injustice, abuse and violence?