The Greatest Joy on Earth….

.is to LOVE, and Be Loved in Return. I am absolutely dumbfounded at the biased, nastily rhetorical , narrow-minded, and completely UN-christian things I have been seeing and hearing as regards same sex marriage lately. I know, it shouldn’t surprise me – there’s a lot of hatred and suspicion out there, unfortunately. However there was a bright spot to my day while I was pondering all this kerfluffle. I am not a Barack Obama fan by any means – ask anyone who knows me – but today I heard that he did get something right. He “came out” (pun intended) in favor of same sex marriage! Way to go, Mr President! The only “criticism” I have is that he didn’t do it sooner. That said, I’m happy his opinion is “finally out of the closet” and strangely, coinciding with my own.

Photo Credit: p.twimg.com/AsgAPE6CEAEyrPo.jpg (found on Twitter today)

For the record, I’m straight. I consider myself a Christian (self-titled “New Age Catholic”). My family tree has many religious branches including Judaism, LDS’, Lutherans, Evangelical Baptists and RC’s, so I’ve been exposed to many different points of view over the years. I’ve long had issues with what I consider very outdated Catholic Church doctrine and its practices as they concern women’s roles in the Faith. But there is also much that I agree with with in its teachings. Teachings that boil down to this one simple, profound idea – “LOVE ONE ANOTHER“. This is Christ’s greatest commandment to his followers.

In any religion marriage is a sacrament and any religion has every right to decide who can and cannot marry. In the Roman Catholic faith couples are required to take “Pre-Cana” classes; and the priest can decide not to perform the marriage if he feels the parties are not ready – for whatever reason. Granted, it doesn’t happen often – but it does happen. A Church has every right to expect its members to behave according to its doctrine, and I support that wholeheartedly. After all, if I don’t like it, I have the option to leave. Where I have the issue is when members of any church or religion decide to apply or force their code of behavior on the world at large. I have trouble reconciling the loving God I am most familiar with – with the terrifying spectacle of a vengeful petulant God that religious extremists envision. Extremists scare the daylights out of me with their black and white “if you disagree with me you’re going to hell” or “if you disagree with me I’ll blow you up” view of the world. It’s not that simple.

Lets look at marriage from a social standpoint and put the religion aside for a moment. Marriage -from a societal view – is really just a legally binding social contract between two people who LOVE ONE ANOTHER and want to build a life together. So what’s the problem? When two people marry they are not taking anything away from anyone, they are creating new connections. There are no boundaries where there is love. Gender doesn’t matter, what matters is that there is LOVE, and that two people are willing to make a long term COMMITMENT to each other. In these days of hook-ups, one-nighters, friends-with-benefits, “open” relationships, and short term, disposable ones – COMMITMENT is a rare and beautiful thing. We should be doing everything in our power to encourage stable, loving, long-term connections between people. It is not loving to keep others from living full and complete lives in a committed caring relationship simply because we don’t care for their sexual orientation! And further, also for the record, I don’t believe that’s a choice either. If you are lucky enough to love and be loved in return – then you have EVERYTHING. All same sex couples are asking is for the right to go down to city hall and commit to each other. They are not insisting that any church perform the ceremony, or that any church accept them as members. This should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, a fuss is being made.

Allowing people of the same gender to marry one another HURTS NO ONE. I would submit to you all that actually it only enhances us as human beings – because it promotes a culture of acceptance and caring. I would also further submit that a truly religious person would refrain from hurtful, malicious criticism and instead lead by quiet example. I don’t believe it is my place to pass judgement on other people’s behavior (unless I’m on the jury when you stand trial for a crime) because I am fallible and a work-in-progress myself. I may have an opinion, but I can’t stand in judgement. I live in a glass house, just like the rest of the planet.  And, it really doesn’t matter to me what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their home.  I don’t particularly care for excessive PDA regardless of the gender(s) involved.  (Save it for the bedroom, kids!)  What does matter to me is how people treat one another. Are they kind, helpful, and loving?  When it is time to close my eyes for the final time on this plane of existence I will be asking myself these questions: Did I love? Did I show it by my actions and words? Was I loved in return? Did I make a difference in other peoples lives?, Was I kind? Did I take responsibility for my mistakes and hurtful actions towards others, and am I sorry for them? If I can answer yes to these questions, then I have lived as a Christian Human Being. I’ll know where I’ll be headed next, and I’ll also  know there’ll be QUITE the conversation when I get there.   Peace, out.

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24 thoughts on “The Greatest Joy on Earth….

  1. Whoever put social stability, love, and sex together into one concept was just trying to justify being horny. I bet more “marriages” world-wide are economic unions either for social stability or advancement. I bet more sex happens outside of marriage (before and during marriage), than in marriage. Love has more to do with the concept of commitment that you mention. Personally, I think that government (federal or state) should get out of the marriage business, and leave that to faith communities (by whatever definition they chose) and celebration planners. The government is the place for legal considerations, such as taxes, property rights, parental rights, health care access, etc. Everyone who wishes to have such legal protections should get a Civil Union, quick and easy at the local court house, then pursue whatever style of marriage they want, or none at all.
    Oscar

    • You have excellent points. People have been getting married down at the courthouse or city hall for decades, if not hundreds of years. Civil Union is a relatively new term at least to me, and stinks of “political correctness.” Call it marriage or CU, to me it boils down to the same thing and affords couples the same benefits along with a marriage license. Couples have to complete the same requirements whether or not they marry in a church. Churches have no issue per se when it is a hetero couple heading for the JP, (the couple isn’t considered married in the churches eyes), but to the world at large, and legally, the couple is in fact married. So in my mind, religious organizations should stay quiet when it comes to a gay couple heading for the courthouse, in order to avoid hypocrisy. Unless of course they are going to come out as vehemently across the board against “civil unions” in general, regardless of gender. I don’t foresee that happening though. I would have to say we are pretty much on the same page otherwise though! Thanks for writing Oscar! Always wonderful to hear from you. D.

    • Hermit, Momma, you are right on. I believe we need to keep the politics and the organized religion out of this discussion. If people want to unite, then get the legalities out of the way in the civil world. If they want a religious ceremony, then they should fit into that institutions requirements.
      By the same token, we are subsidizing religions, (tax exemptions) they should honor our requests to stay out of politics.
      Lastly, and to insert some controversy, I think recent votes to amend state constitutions against gay marriage, such as No. Carolina just did serve two purposes:
      They are the last stand of a old fashioned, love of a past image of life that is rapidly fading into history.
      2) It is proof for the world to see of their ignorance.

      You all have a great Mothers Day. It is bright, and clear and another gorgeous day on tap here.

      • “They are the last stand of a old fashioned, love of a past image of life that is rapidly fading into history”. Its sad because it doesn’t have to fade away if we would just put hatred and fear and judgement aside – and be inclusive. I know several same sex couples that are doing a stellar job of raising their families. Their natural children from previous relationships, and their adopted ones. The adopted ones that straight couples didn’t want. The broken children. And guess what? These children are thriving in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Learning about true old fashioned family values. Caring, acceptance, responsibility and unconditional love. I submit that if we can remember these things then we can get back to what is best about being “old fashioned”. And in my humble opinion, we should be doing that at warp speed.

  2. As someone who holds this issue very close to his heart, I must commend you on being so strongly worded on your stand point. I also must add that I could not agree with you more.

  3. A local Presbyterian community had a severe split about 5 years ago over gay priests, that they shouldn’t be allowed to preach. I’m just a simple country boy, but I shouldn’t be worried about a heterosexual priest preaching to my daughter, but I should be scared to death of a homosexual priest preaching to my son???? What the heck???

    The issue that really bothered me, and caused my departure from the congregation, was two fold. First, the obvious of their continually preaching that this was a choice, and gays could change.
    But the second was much more philosophical. In these times of such civil unrest, increasing poverty, people losing jobs and homes, two wars, europe collapsing, deadlocked government, I felt that mankind needed a unifying, moral authority to look up to. Splintering the church into yet another segment just seemed wrong.

    I’ve always had this image of Jesus standing in front of us, arms outstretched, hands open, beckoning us towards him, saying something like, “come. join me, and we will work out the details, later.”

    Just some background. Raised a devout catholic, altar boy and all, but completely left the church at 14 years, sensing that their constant cry for money from a very poor parish was not God’s message. Always believed in a higher power, believed that the trouble with organized religion was the organization. Joined the Pres. parish about 10 years ago, but left as noted above.

    There is too much emphasis of the worldly definition of “God and Jesus” and not enough of WWJD.

    Thanks for writing.

    • “I’ve always had this image of Jesus standing in front of us, arms outstretched, hands open, beckoning us towards him, saying something like, “come. join me, and we will work out the details, later.”. LOVE THIS! Right on, my friend! The only time I recall hearing about Jesus getting pissed off was with the money lenders in the temple. With the people of high status and supposed morals, exhibiting some of the worst qualities of humankind. (avarice, social climbing, etc) . Yet he would have dinner with tax collectors and allow a prostitute to wash his feet. Definitely one of those “work out the details later” moments, I would think. Jesus is an invitation to love. If we want to be like him we can’t be cruel or malicious. We must be welcoming.

  4. Well done, Momma! Couldn’t agree with you more, and is an issue we’ve been ranting about for years.

    If I may add a few points.
    I’d like to projectile hurl over all the nut cases, especially in organized religion, who pontificate that the gay life is a “choice.” Any aware individual who truly knows gays would know just how deeply they suffer for their lives. Why would anyone choose this?

    Calif. just introduced a bill to outlaw “gay conversions” of youths under 18. Countless young people have been made to suffer severe anguish, guilt, even a significant number of suicides, under this false medical practice.

    And you know I do not mean to offend you, but the Catholic Church has exhibited despicable behavior recently:

    Covering up the thousands of pedophiliac priests.
    Releasing an attack dog group of lawyers to silence a group of people who were acting as a clearing house for information for victims.
    The attacks on the nuns, accusing them of spending too much time with the poor and the sick, that they should spend more time attacking contraception and homosexuality.
    Bishops standing on the podiums, accusing the President of being worse than Stalin and Hitler. (The bishop in Peoria, Ill. did this a few weeks ago)
    A bishop today holding a news conference that he doubts he can support the President any longer…(He’s not supposed to. Seperation of church and state????)

    Anyway, congrats on taking on this subject. Well done

    Barney

    • I agree that no one would choose a lifestyle where they are made to suffer. I’d like to add a point if I may; back in the old testament days life was short & you’d be lucky to make it to 30. So of course they considered homosexuality a sin. You were “wasting” your genetic contribution in a same sex relationship because back then there was zero chance of having children. Times have changed. As an aside I had a “Christian” “friend” tell me while I was going through fertility treatments that any children so conceived would not have a soul… Talk about dark ages ignorant ( my opinion ) . I haven’t spoken to this person in years. God gave us intelligence so we could use our brains in service to make things better for all. I’m all over the place, sorry about that. A lot less judgement, a lot more Love. That’ll solve many problems.

      • You’re gonna’ love this, but my good buddy Rick Santorum actually made the same claim during his run; fertility children were not human in Gods eyes! GMAFB!!! This far right that the RepubliCANTS are pandering to scare the heck out of me, because they are serious about this, about their and their’s only definition of christianity, and believe we should all live to their standards.

        This is “Nasty” but Santorum had 7 kids, was married for 18 years, Hmmmm….what did they do for 11 years, look lovingly into each others eyes while watching Wheel of Fortune???

        • I support his right to THINK whatever he wants, but to say so in a public forum is deliberately cruel and hurtful to people who may not be able to experience Gods gift of children any other way. I wonder how ANYONE could look a child in the eyes and consider him or her inhuman… You’ve got to be pretty inhuman to be able to do that.

          • But then, aren’t some of these far-right wing nuts almost inhuman? A person is defined at the moment of conception, abortion is to be eliminated, no matter rape, incest, health risk of mother, all human life is precious. Precious that is right up to the moment after birth. Then eveyones on their own- no health care, no school lunch, no pre-post natal care. Doesn’t get more inhumane than that.
            And weren’t the most intolerant wars and crusades fought over “god”? Isn’t that what the taliban and al quieda are fighting for in Irag and Afghanistan?

            And no matter what he “thought” when one gets into a position of power, their beliefs shade their actions to a great degree.

            You mentioned “Dark Age Ignorant” earlier. The Dark Ages persist even today, sad to say.

          • And this is why balance is needed. Yes life begins at conception. But “we” society are also responsible to assure that the mothers health is not endangered and that she is physically and psychologically capable of having a healthy pregnancy and delivery – if she chooses to continue the pregnancy. And you’re correct, we can’t make people have children and not give them the tools to support them ( health care etc as you mention) I do not believe in abortion as a convenience form of birth control. But there are circumstances where – if the mother chooses to – she should be “allowed” to have the procedure with no stigma or negative consequences. Incest, Rape, endangered health of the mother, etc. to name a few categories. In any case, it’s an issue to be decided by the woman, her partner if she has one, and her physician. If she chooses to involve her pastor, then any advice, penance, redemption or whatever should be personalised -decided based on the facts on a case by case basis. Blanket statements and edicts do not always apply.

        • I understand the pendulum swing to the right though. Everybody’s sick and tired of no responsibility or accountability. I know I am. There’s got to be a fulcrum, a balance – where we are responsible for our actions, and act towards others with compassion and sensitivity. Neither the far left or the far right offer these options.

          • You are reading my mind. This has been such a great news week, that I already have 2 blogs “in the bag” and one of them is on accountability and immigration. Stay tuned!

  5. Cheers! Thank you so much for bravely sharing your passionate and awesome opinion. I couldn’t agree more about the UN-Christian things like judgement and even hatred that gets spewed in God’s name. If people really gave thought to WWJD…? God is LOVE. Marriage is about stating to the world I LOVE THIS PERSON FOREVER. Way to go Donna. Can you hear me applauding?

  6. Funny, we’re talking a lot about this over here, it has caused some ripples across the pond. Everyone I’ve spoken to would agree with you. It’s all a bit baffling, why would some people get so upset about who other people choose to marry? Bizarre. Shame there is not more celebration of love and relationships, as you say.

    Love the rainbow photo!

    • Wish I could take credit for the photo. Came across it in my twitterfeed. From what I can see and read, everyones talking about it – which is good. I just wish more people would be less judgemental. Hugs!!! ❤

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