Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

Questions From the Heart?

Wherever did we get the idea that for things to be equal they have to be the same? My question took on new significance during a news broadcast last week in which the vision accompanying the verbal news report showed placard-carrying advocates of same-sex marriage trying to make a case that differences are a threat to marriage equality.

I can't offer them any solace on this one because I believe that differences are absolutely essential for any marriage to achieve its full potential.

First, it is confusing to talk about Marriage Equality when there is, at this point, only one recognised form of marriage i.e. heterosexual marriage. Certainly there is a strong push for the recognition of homosexual marriage but if and until that happens, it is foolish to pretend as though that goal is an accomplished fact.

Secondly, to suggest that differences threaten any relationship and are, therefore, to be eliminated is to reveal a basic ignorance of how relationships are meant to work.

Take, for example, the Philharmonic  Orchestra. The success of this or any other orchestra is completely dependent on differences. Imagine such an orchestra being made up entirely of 76 trombones. That might be a novelty for the first few performances but it would soon wear rather thin.

The real success of an orchestra is found in harmonizing the differences, not eliminating them.

The advocates of same-sex marriage seem hell-bent on obliterating the differences; or, if they can't do that ,  minimizing those differences. The tragedy here is that the very differences that bring colour and flavour to our world of relationships are subjected to a full frontal assault of elimination to be replaced by a relational landscape that is "blah".

If we bring that attitude of eliminating differences in to the marriage relationship (which, as I understand it, is the goal of the same-sex marriage advocates), then the differences that we will  eliminate are the very foundation on which heterosexual marriage is based.

Men and women are built differently (physically). Men and women are wired differently (emotionally). Men and women relate differently (relationally).

Now you may want to argue on any of these points. But my one question will constantly be pursued, What are you going to do with these differences? I don't think you are left with many options.

1. You can deny them as though they don't exist. That would be dishonourable on your part.

2. You can treat them as being the result of a culturally imposed worldview which no longer has any legitimacy in the modern, progressive, changing world. You could probably make a case for this position but it would fail as soon as you recognised that the differences of which we speak transcend any one culture and any one era.

3. You can reject these differences even though you know they are legitimate and necessary and even critical for the successful functioning of life  physically, emotionally and relationally.

Oh, yes! And spiritually, too.

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