Friday, December 18, 2009

The Wedding

My friends Ecclesia and Amanda were married on Tuesday night.
I have known them for the past 5 years, and have shared the very difficult journey that allowed them to acknowledge the love they have for one another.

I grew up in a society does not easily cope with two women who love one another.
More particularly – I grew up in a Christian community that never thought about people of the same gender who love one another. And so right now my church (the Methodist Church) is really struggling with the fact that Ecclesia, who is a Methodist Minister, has chosen to get married to a woman. Her Superintendent minister has asked for her to be suspended, and has laid a disciplinary charge against her in our church courts.

I understand the thinking of her Superintendent. He believes that he is defending the truth, and therefore needs to protect our church from people who do not conform to the traditional teaching. This is familiar to me: It was this thinking that prevented people of different racial groups getting married in our church in South Africa’s past. It was also this that prevented divorced people from being married in our church. But we changed: God convicted us to move beyond the limits of the racially segregated marriages proposed by the Apartheid government. And God helped us to become more Grace-filled in our approach to divorced people who wish to marry for a second time.

I have discovered a God who challenged me to outgrow my prejudices. And for this reason I am convinced that my church needs to change our position on same-sex marriages. I would rather see us encouraging people to live in committed relationships, than see the secretive behavior manifested by gay and lesbian Christian people. I believe that the uncommitted relationships (and often promiscuous sexuality)of Gay Christian people are a result of our failure to ask them to commit to marriage.

I therefore wish Amanda and Ecclesia God’s blessings as they begin a new life together.


Wessel Bentley said...

Hi Pete

Thank you for the post. Would have loved to be there!

It is sad to see our church's reaction in the form of disciplinary procedures. What is the 'grace' thing to do in this instance?

I just pray that Ecclesia and Amanda do not feel isolated as they "face the music". We must stand with them in this!

Blessings to you and the family.


p.s. Your blog has a prejudice. The Word verification was "tratsie". Sounds too close for comfort.

markpenrith said...

Hi Pete,

Courageous post.

"It was this thinking that prevented people of different racial groups getting married in our church in South Africa’s past."

Surely it’s unfair to lump mainline objections to gay marriages alongside the evils of apartheid? The one was clearly a system of oppression supported by a church which had capitulated to the state and men with little integrity who purposefully distorted God’s Word by inaccurately handling it. The other, our hot-topic-of-the-day, most certainly has at least a case based in Scripture which would need to be answered. Isn’t equating them as equals, with no qualification, an attempt to obfuscate the issue?

Scout with the Cross said...

This is a problem the Church of England is also struggling with and boy does it struggle. Maybe I'm too liberal, but I think the church is missing out on some really good Ministers and needs to change.

There is also the problem that there are plenty of people in the church who keep their relationships hidden, and that cannot be healthy for the church, whilst those who are honest get punished.

Well done for raising it the way you have Pete