Below is a brief video clip in which New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright, engages a question from British evangelist, J. John. The question revolves around the major hot-button issue of western culture today: same-sex marriage.
I appreciate what Wright has to offer, for he looks to approach things from a big-picture perspective. It’s not just about engaging a handful of verses scattered throughout Scripture (though we can and should dive into particular passages). Rather, it begins with the larger, sweeping narrative of the story of God playing out amongst the people of God and the world. What is the grand narrative of Scripture telling us about this most holy thing we call marriage?
I’ve never offered any thoughts on this discussion (or debate!) of same-sex marriage. My perspectives would dovetail in to those of Wright’s. I would want to understand the over-arching communication of Scripture. But I’m also very interested in looking at our human story from a general, or “natural,” standpoint. I am no biological scientist nor able to properly analyze humans psychosomatically (the inner and outer makeup of human beings). But something in nature seems to clearly point to the fact that my whole self (including, but not limited to, my body) was not made for intimacy with another man.
Yet, I also think we get off track with our insatiable desire to define ourselves by such truncated sexual descriptors. We commit idolatry over our sexual identities – heterosexual, homosexual, straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. Many have literally bowed to these identities, whichever side of the fence they lie on. Yet, the reality is that our identities run much deeper than these. And we could make similar idols out of our nationality, skin color and a whole host of other things. Lo and behold, we’ve done that plenty of times in our history! So I think we, on all sides (there’s always more than simply 2 sides to every issue), get caught up in conversations that never engage the larger issues of humanity and identity. Any descriptor can get very problematic and idolatrous.
However, let me say that our track record as Christians (even more in the southeastern U.S. where I reside) has not been great as we engage with those of a same-sex orientation and preference. If you want a taste of such, read this article from Christianity Today by Jonathan Merritt. He notes how our mantra has always been, “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” Yet when you do a search around the terms “Christians” and “gays,” you find an overwhelming amount on “hating the sin” and very little on “loving the sinner.” Merritt’s story is unique because of his confessed struggle with same-sex attraction. This is why his article will stir your heart (it’s ch5 of his newest book, Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined)! Oh, for the day that we stop pointing fingers and listen, which could (most likely would) open the door for better dialogue and movement forward to God’s best of humanity.
In all, watch this short video clip of Wright’s response. I think he has some solid comments to offer, though, like this article, they are brief.
HT: Justin Taylor