The two women looked and dressed alike: pleasant, middle-aged, graying hair cut simply, for the sake of ease. I discovered that they had just ‘married’ in Iowa. My first thought: how hard is it ‘to marry’ someone who mirrors yourself—the needs, hurts, and fears of your own gender and life experience? Not very: in order to be authentic, intimacy requires ‘otherness.’ The gift of one cannot be a whole gift to another if the receiver already possesses the offering.
Maybe that explains the frustration I ultimately felt in trying to make a guy a whole sexual partner. I tried. Admittedly, high-octane sensuality was compelling but at the end of the day, we were still looking at the horizon from the same masculine lens. He was a good friend. But we lied to ourselves in pretending that we had become ‘one.’
You could say our fusion was forced. To be sure, sharing the same wounds was helpful but ultimately boring. We could not conceive new life! That requires becoming one-flesh. And one-flesh requires the awesome and awful challenge of someone who shares my humanity but not my gender.
I say awesome because our bodies are designed for this other, even if our heterosexual desires are frustrated or exaggerated. What’s awful is that our grid has been so skewed by a host of injustices, many of which morph into expressions of false justice (‘marriage equality,’ anyone?) that we can no longer imagine that we were all made to long for this ‘other.’ Even many who love Jesus are convinced that their same-gender attractions are chronic, defining, and preclude the possibility for being reconciled to the sexual gift (s)he is to the opposite gender.
We oppose our own becoming. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, Jesus creates us without our help but He can only save us with our help.
Jesus helps me become the man I am through my amazing wife. I saw this clearly and felt it deeply last month. Annette and I spent August together apart from ministry and other people. Except for the orbiting of our four adult children (who all live gratefully within ‘landing’ range) we did life together, unobstructed. At first this was hard for me. After an exhilarating year of ministry, I struggled to let down and enter into the quiet and deep place of hearing her, knowing her again, not in the everyday demands but in her hurts, fears, dreams, and observations that require attentiveness in order to become gifts. I sought awkwardly at first to grant her that space. Then it came gracefully, eagerly. No-one welcomes me like she does. And no-one provokes me more. We are one only because she is wholly other than me.
God has built into marriage the challenge of gender difference for the sake of teaching us the art of self-giving. Let’s be clear: friendship is friendship, one-flesh is one flesh. ‘Otherness’ is the goal of sexual self-giving, and only one expression of that ‘otherness’–the lifetime commitment between a man and woman—deserves to be called marriage.
I am about to impart some prophetic healing ministry to our Living Waters Leaders in Belgium and France; our groups have flourished in the French-speaking world amid profound sexual immorality and unbelief about the authority of the Church to heal the sexually broken. Yet the going is rough for them, and we are all encouraged and strengthened by the news of victory in North Carolina.
That state just passed a constitutional amendment that upholds marriage as solely heterosexual while prohibiting activist judges from claiming that ‘gay marriage’ is constitutional. Due to the new law, these judges cannot overturn the existing law, as they did in Iowa and California.
Everyone who supports ‘gay marriage’ came out in droves to forbid this amendment from passing–activists and their supporters (including Bill Clinton and VP Joe Biden) filled the air with such a din of propaganda that I wondered if marriage would actually be upheld this time.
Forgive me for selling short the American people who when given a vote have always had the good sense to respect others’ differences while upholding marriage for what it is: one man wed to one woman for the sake of the new life they create.
Bravo to the 61% of North Carolinians who stood for marriage. The federal court (which will ultimately decide the definition of marriage in the USA) hears your voice. Let all the states who will once again vote on the definition of marriage this November follow your courageous lead. Let Obama hear your voice as his own cabinet is pressuring him to ‘come out’ and make public his allegedly pro-gay marriage views. Let us all rejoice that North Carolina honored marriage for the good of all.
The nations of the earth still listen and take heart at the righteous acts of our nation.
While we were sleeping, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state’s ban on ‘gay marriage’ on grounds that it was unconstitutional. Most believers I spoke with in and around Iowa knew little if anything about the Court’s deliberation. Those who did seemed sleepy in their response. And uncertain. Even getting information about the case was difficult and yielded little. To most, ‘gay marriage’ seemed outside the realm of possibility in Iowa.Time to wake up. Marriage has now been redefined in the heartland: the ruling represents the mainstreaming of ‘gay marriage’ in the USA. As one activist put it: “If Iowa with its common sensibility can do this, why can’t we do this in other states in the country?”
Just as halting ‘gay marriage’ in CA inhibited such action elsewhere, Iowa’s brash judicial action will quicken the resolve of activists to overturn ‘gay marriage’ bans in other states.
How did a state in the heartland become only the third in the nation to redefine marriage for its citizens? And the first in the Midwest?
The answer lies in the power of gay legal activists who target states that look like good prospects. Like Iowa. In spite of its 10-year-old ‘gay marriage’ ban and ‘common sensibility,’ Iowa has a liberal political history, including gay adoption. Iowa also makes it hard for citizens to overturn any Supreme Court decision with a constitutional amendment. State lawmakers must approve any proposed amendment twice over a two-year period before it gets to voters. That means that the earliest Iowans can vote to overturn ‘gay marriage’ would be 2012!
Enter Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization. Vying for a date with the state Supreme Court, these activists in 2005 filed a lawsuit on behalf of six gay couples who could not marry in Iowa due to its ‘gay marriage’ ban.
A lower court heard the case in 2007 and ruled that the ban was unconstitutional due to the judge’s belief that ‘homosexuality is unchangeable’, that ‘gay parents will not impact the development of their kids’ and that ‘homosexuals are politically powerless.’ All false, especially the last point: gays in Iowa have Lambda Legal, the most powerful reps I know.
The lower court’s ruling was ‘stayed’ then appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case last January. I could tell by the hearings that the Court was more inclined toward Lambda Legal than the traditional voice. On Friday, the Court announced that it had unanimously redefined marriage. One decision by one court and the most basic institution of the state changes for all of its citizens.
Lambda Legal is currently servicing other states in passing ‘gay marriage’ provisions. In the Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin would be the most vulnerable to ‘gay marriage’ due to its liberal political traditions. Like Iowa, their Courts are primed for the likes of strategic activists like Lambda Legal.
What can we do?
1. Wake up! ‘Gay Marriage’ bans can be overturned. We need to be aware of what is going on in our states and take measures to ward off the strategies of groups like Lambda Legal.
2. We need Constitutional Amendments that define marriage for good. We can pray and fight for Iowans over the long haul as they begin the long push toward overturning the Court’s decision with one such amendment. The majority of Iowans and the rest of the US public are still not in favor of ‘gay marriage.’
3. Make the truth known about why marriage matters. Our focus is not ‘anti-gay’; it is pro-marriage. Tell the truth about how marriage best represents to kids; they need man and woman together in order to grow into wholeness. And how God can restore homosexuals to wholeness. If we don’t tell the truth in love, false justice built on false presuppositions advances.
4. Pray. This is in truth a holy war, based on love and reverence for God’s design and the Designer Himself. In a month, Desert Stream will release ‘Honor Marriage for the Good of All’ , a prayer-guide for churches who want to pray wisely for marriage in our land, while seeking God’s heart and strategy for broken people who need healing.
5. Seek true justice and compassion: in this Holy Week, let us pray that we might be please Jesus in surrender to His purposes, including His heart for marriage. Join Desert Stream this week as we pray and fast that neither New England nor other targeted states in the Midwest will fall to ‘gay marriage.’ Also, that the CA Supreme Court will uphold Prop. 8. (Its decision is not yet known.)”All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
“Since we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” (2Cor. 5:11)
“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber.” (Romans 13: 11)