Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Theology Thursday #7: Sea Change

I don't care for reality shows.

Mostly because they're not REAL. I admit, they're entertaining. But, let's face it, no survivor reality show would ever let any of their contestants die in a tropical wilderness. And no social show would really allow somebody who was mentally ill to continue participating within the show.

I even found out recently that a favorite show in our household is as contrived as a "reality" show. HGTV has a show called House Hunters - my wife, Carol and I love to watch it. Just two weeks ago, however, I found out that the buyers on the show actually have already decided on a house before they come on the show. I guess the producers do this, because, if they didn't, the buyers might not like the choices the show gave them for a house and they'd end up houseless at the end. Can't have that... can we?

Life's not like TV?
Life's not like TV.

Life is messy. And many times there isn't a happy ending.

TV has contrived endings and is far too neat.

Life requires compromises in the face of radical changes - sea changes. A sea change is a major change, a change that stirs everything up. Much like a baptism, it is a change where coming up out of the water one is wholly, totally different.

The United States is currently experiencing a sea change with the topic of gay marriage. In fact, it's more than a change. It's a culture war.

Like any war, there are casualties. It seems to be a null sum game. That is, there are winners and losers. Both sides feel in a visceral way how their argument is right and the other is wrong.

I'm not going into the Biblical argument, because it's been hashed over a zillion times, and quite frankly, I'm sick of it. Maybe this will turn off some of my readers, but I'm not going down that path. We all need to come to terms with the fact that daily we all make decisions about things that aren't in the Bible. That's because the Bible isn't concerned much about modern life. That's not even getting into a First Century understanding of science. Folks, we just don't live in that world anymore.

If you remember nothing else about this Theology Thursday, remember this: gay marriage is not an "issue" and being gay is not a "lifestyle."

Gay marriage is about people's lives.

And, although there are some who may not like it, it's not going to hurt them. Not in the slightest.

But to those who only want the right to live life to its fullest with the one they love and have a legally accepted relationship - so that when their loved one dies they have a legal right to be there at their death bed - it means everything.

Why can't we (meaning the heterosexual majority, of which I am a part) give that to them?

The sky will not fall. The earth will not quake. People who love each other will have legitimacy within our legal system. (And, yes, I know that their love needs no nod from "us" to be right in God's eyes. Love conquers all. It can't hurt to acknowledge the human need to say "I do.") Unlike a real war, the casualties of this culture war will ultimately be phantom wisps. Fifty years from now, we'll look at how silly some were. The change will come. Maybe not so soon in North Carolina, but it will come.

The phrase sea change comes from Shakespeare's The Tempest. The spirit Ariel (which, interestingly, has historically been played both by male and female actors) has a wonderfully evocative song acknowledging the change of Ferdinand's father by the sea:

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange. 

The new reality that we are entering is that there shall be no longer male or female, no longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or free, no longer gay or straight. In God's eyes, we are one. 

Let two who are in love be one. Let them be and love the rich and strange changes that are coming.

I'll think you'll find after you get to know these new couples (men with men, women with women, and transgendered, too), they won't seem so strange. They'll just be... people.

At least not as strange as some of the reality shows out there.


Arlene Arndt said...

The sea has lots of pearls, however, gays will never be the jewel of the sea like a straight!

D.D. Maurer said...

Don't know if I agree with you, Arlene. All pearls are different and the beauty is found in each one.

Kari said...

Hmm...I've already written and deleted several responses to this. Let me just say, I remember having a conversation with someone who thought homosexuality was a sin and that discussion about it was pointless b/c no one ever changed their minds. In responding to him, I admitted that my opinion/understanding had changed, and continues to change actually. I also realized that pretty much every person I knew who supported welcoming the GLBT(Q) community, ordaining those who felt called both to ordained ministry and a committed relationship, and same sex marriage had all held the opposite opinion at one point in their lives--even the ones who are themselves a part of the GLBT(Q) community. Time, knowledge, experience, study, relationships, the Holy Spirit--they bring change, though sometimes it takes a very long time--pearls aren't created in a few hours, or even a day.