We live in a unique time. Things are moving fast. I know every generation thinks that "their era" is moving fast but, by historical comparison, it is a provable fact that our society/culture is changing at crazy fast rates both technologically and morally.
Of the many issues that this applies to, marriage may be the most significant. Marriage has been losing value and clarity for decades. There have been many factors. Here are a few:
- the sexual revolution of the 1960s struck a blow to the idea of saving sex for marriage
- the legalization of abortion in the 1970s struck a blow to the value and worth of children in marriage
- the prominence and ease of divorce in the 1970s-1980s struck a blow to the life-long commitment of marriage
- the introduction of the goal to "make kids happy" struck a blow to the true role of parenting
- the homosexual & same-sex marriage movement struck a blow to the gender complementarity of marriage
These factors and others have crippled marriage. Research indicates that most struggle to communicate clearly what marriage is and why it should be promoted and valued. Can you?
One of the outcomes is that we are now at the point of an official, legal redefinition of marriage. Although, the other movements are concerning, the most prominent in our day is that of same-sex marriage. This is an issue that you may be confused about, frustrated with or simply avoiding...but, there is no denying that it is front and center in the broader cultural conversation. 37 states now permit same-sex marriage.
In less than two weeks, the Supreme Court will begin the hearings on this very issue. More specifically, it will determine if individual states have the right to ban same-sex marriage. If the Supreme Court upholds the right of states to ban same-sex marriage, then the battles will go directly to the 13 states that have same-sex bans and those battles will be intense. If the Supreme Court declares the same-sex bans unconstitutional, then same-sex marriage will immediately be granted in all 50 states.
Does this matter? How should a Christian respond? I will spend some more time on this subject in the weeks ahead, but for right now, let me draw your attention to this: words matter. Words matter, because words have definitions. And, when a word like "marriage" that has such a robust history (rooted in God's creation design) is attempting to be redefined we should be very concerned, as NT Wright explains in this video clip.
Take a few minutes and watch the video, then pray. Pray for yourself, for our church, for all who experience same-sex attraction, and for our whole society. Many who support same-sex marriage are doing it out of desire to end discrimination. Christians hate all discrimination too (see James 2:1-8). But, discrimination and redefining marriage are apples and oranges.