In the End, We Are All Americans

We are living at a crossroads moment in history.  As a church and a country we are facing a fundamental choice about how we will be with each other.  Will we be fundamentalist in our interpretation of our foundational texts, be they the Bible or the Constitution?  Or can we risk interpreting our sacred documents in light of current experience and unfolding truth?  What about the human costs of our interpretations?

Today was a whipsaw kind of day, where I stood at the center of the cross.  I listened to the Diane Rhem Show on the radio as she and her guests discussed the results of the North Carolina vote to change their state constitution to define marriage and prohibit civil unions.  The guests who were for the change in the constitution were more articulate and fervent in my view.  The speakers advocating for civil unions and marriage equality spoke of polls.

At lunch I sat with a gay couple who have been together for over 15 years.  We met to discuss their life together and the opportunities that are now on the horizon in new ways to have God’s blessing proclaimed upon their faithful union.  Sprinkled in the conversation were the tensions such options may create in their families, especially the branches which lean in a conservative Christian direction.

Then this afternoon President Obama spoke of his support for gay marriage.  When faced with his own knowledge of the Constitution of the United States, and his experience, the President changed his mind.  He acknowledged that interpretation is not fixed; it evolves.  Our views can be divergent, but in the end we are all Americans.

From a Christian perspective, the Constitution is not the definitive sacred document, the Bible is.  And yet it is also the case that interpretation of Scripture and tradition is not fixed or uniform.  Christians, too, evolve and change in their understandings as God continues to act in history.  Different churches and different Christians read the texts of God’s action differently.

On Sunday this week we read in I John that God is love and that perfect love casts out fear.  As we walk into these conversations with one another, my hope is that we face the crossroads with love and not fear.

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15 thoughts on “In the End, We Are All Americans

  1. I must say that I respectfully disagree. I do not see gay marriage as akin to a civil or a human right. I do think that those who support it are so sure that they are correct that they don’t even acknowledge that there is another legitimate view. At the least, I hope we can respectfully appreciate that there are two legitimate and distinct points of view, both of which have merit. My own suspicion is that we will still be debating this issue decades from now, much as we do abortion today. My view is that today’s events underscore the need for electing a president who will support and strengthen traditional marriage.

  2. God’s Word NEVER changes. End the end, we are Christians, first and foremost, NOT American’s first and foremost. God never changes. The enemy can try, but he will never win. God will win and yes, we need a president who will support and strengthen traditional marriage THIS is what God wants. Not abortion, not same sex marriage, not blasphemy, not sin. Sin is sin, no matter how “big” or how “small”. God’s Word is VERY clear on this; it’s time the Church stops trying to be so “politically correct”!

  3. The day will come when same sex marriage WILL be considered ‘traditional’ alongside heterosexual marriage! Our descendants will wonder what all the noise and chaos was about! I am excited and supportive of St Stephen’s being allowed to soon perform same sex blessings! :)

  4. So, how does your church feel about abortion? The president supports it, in fact, he signed a bill three different times that kept live birth abortion legal. Science (and God’s Word) has proven that life begins at conception. So, what about a baby’s civil rights? Homosexuality is a sin, according to God’s Word. If you’re going to preach human rights, then, perhaps you should be pro life. ALL life. The reason Christians are fighting Christians is because some Christians are not acting like Christians. The Apostle Paul would be very mad. And guess what, so would Jesus! Yes, we are to LOVE everyone. However, part of loving is disciplining and telling the truth. Teaching what is sin. Teaching the dire consequences for sin. I for one would not want to lead my people to slaughter. It’s time to start preaching the Truth.
    Matthew 12:34, Isaiah 5:20, 1 Timothy 1:10

  5. Let me start by saying I am a straight woman married to a man. But 40 years ago my marriage was illegal in many states, and to this day my parents have never met their beautiful granddaughter because they put their faith first. Yes, I’m white, my husband is black and according to my parents our union is as unnatural as “birds lying with fish”. Yet when I tell other Christians this story I’ve never once heard “your parents are right and I’ll pray for you to realize how ungodly your life is and to repent.”

    Gay marriage to me, is the same sort of thing. We don’t choose to be gay or straight. To every straight person who says this I ask: When did you choose to be straight? I certainly dont remember such a moment. For as long as I can remember I’ve been attracted to men.

    I agree with Lisa, what is it that we are truly afraid of? 40 years ago we were afraid of blacks and whites marrying, back then it was a violation of the sanctaty of marriage. Now the overwhelming majority of Christians think this isn’t so. Let’s face it people we can find justification in the bible for anything. Slavery is fine just as long as the slaves are from neighboring nations and not your own remember? But what is the real truth? I think it’s love. Let us love eachother as Christ loves us. That means without condition, without judegement, and without fear.

  6. Anyone who has experienced joyous love, with no boundaries or impediments has, in my heart and soul, experienced God in the most intimate way. We each have our own religious traditions and beliefs, which I respect, but I do not deny others their love and wish for the same toward my partner and me.

  7. Am I stunned that you are so soon removed from the truth, thatnyou are so easily beguiled, but then I wonder can a real Christian question God’s authority and final Word…? I think not. I am so glad I read this before choosing this school for my children. We are CHRISTians, we believe God, we believe his Word. We won’t dilute it, or quiet it, for the sake of political correctness or hurt feelings. Real love tells the truth! Christ did not die for our subjective views but for sinners who are in desperate need for a Savior. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us!

  8. Well said Tiffany. The Episcopal church is really splitting on this and getting away from God’s Word in a major way. Be very careful when choosing a Christian school for your children. Good for you for doing you research and I’ll be saying a prayer that you find the school your children deserve, where they will be teaching the Truth. Check out “Family Driven Faith”, great book, as I’m sure you know, proper training begins at home!

  9. Thank you, Lisa, for your thoughtful and love-driven leadership of our Parish and School. For the naysayers who felt it their duty to share their disagreement here, please know that we respect your right to believe and worship as your faith dictates, and we hope you will show us the same respect. I am thrilled that my children are being raised in this church, around people who, whether they are “like us” or not, never fail to demonstrate love, inclusivity, and the spirit of Jesus’ teachings. We are blessed by being part of this spiritual family.

  10. St. Stephens Houston is an amazing and dynamic parish which has, for decades, demonstrated the best in Christian witness for those who have been marginalized and oppressed by our larger community.

    Though our family no longer lives in Houston, we keep a close ear on the pulse of our old church home. Thank you, SSECH, for humbly carrying your ministry forward, and for prayerfully engaging in conversations which are important, and sometimes hard to have.

  11. Lisa, I don’t think we read the same Bible. I see your diatribe was also put on the St. Stephen’s School website – most inappropriate and a good indication of the school’s values. We were considering putting our three children in your school, but after the nonsense I just read about your views on gay marriage, we will be looking elsewhere. Shame on you.

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