Jesus, love, Uncategorized

This is how I’m voting. And Olaf.

What more can be said?

That has been my defence for saying precisely nothing about the upcoming postal plebiscite on marriage here in The Great Southland.

And then I remembered Olaf.

Olaf is the endearing snowman character in the Disney movie, Frozen. I know this because both my children are enchanted by the film and invariably ask me to play various YouTube clips from it daily. Often more than once. And there’s this one tune where Olaf waxes lyrical about his long-held desire to experience Summer.

“A drink in my hand
My snow up against the burning sand
Prob’ly getting gorgeously tanned
In summer!”

Olaf sings this – the snowman who’s made of ice that melts and all.

Seeing that charming, smiling character waltzing to his own demise made me think of Australians who are blindly accepting the yes vote because “love is love”.  No thought to repercussions that other countries are already experiencing. And then there’s the Kristoffs and Annas (you need to watch the clip!) who are withholding their voice, their information, their wisdom, for fear of upsetting the giddy freedom dance.

I know the analogy has holes, and please don’t read too much into it, but that’s where this started.

Christians all over the place are afraid to share their opinion. Ours’ is an unpopular viewpoint. Making a stand for traditional marriage, the way it stands and the way it has served us for centuries, is somehow out of fashion.

We don’t all have to step up to the soap box and opine to the masses. But I see how arguments are unravelling in Social Media Land and how some might be intimidated into silence. Fear is a cruel master and we have to make sure we don’t let it result in a vote contrary to our convictions, or a missed vote opportunity entirely.

I’m not going down the rabbit warren of reasons why my vote will be no. There are more eloquent people who have already done that, and I particularly respect the voices of people like Brian Houston, John Dickson, Miranda Devine and Tasmanian pastor Campbell Markham.

“When generous, thoughtful Christians stay quiet – no doubt for noble reasons – the vacuum is filled with doctrinaire liberal fancies and/or tone deaf conservative denunciations.”
– John Dickson.

I am a Christian.

That literally means I am a ‘Christ one’. I belong to Jesus. His way is my way. To vote yes would be to compromise my faith. Not because I have anything but respect and love for my fellow man (including people from the LGBTQI community, and any other minority group for that matter), but because I value marriage in it’s current form, the way the Bible directs us to be united.

I’m not interested in these fiery online debates where people are dehumanised to mere tonsils slinging words in an epic tournament of vitriol. I see people writing things they wouldn’t dream of speaking to another person, eyeball to eyeball. And I’m referring to both sides of the marriage fence here.

What I would love is to sit down with more people for meaningful discussions, walls down, hearts bared, amidst all the nuances of expression and body language and tone.

From experience, when I’ve written, “I love you, but I don’t agree with your actions” (love the sinner, hate the sin…), people still read hate. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I labour over the tone, word choices and how to express my motivation in this space. Opposition equals hate.

And that’s what worries me the most in this debate.

So I’m not doing that. I’m putting my pen down and inviting direct discussion. I won’t be arcing up on social media. I’ll sit across the table instead and listen, valuing every insight, giving my full attention, seeing a different perspective. It doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind, but I acknowledge that this topic is intensely divisive and I think we can do more listening, more understanding, more loving.

Jesus demonstrated a love so radical that it could at once show immense mercy and firm direction. Remember the woman caught in adultery in John 8? She was guilty, that much was clear. And the punishment of the day was death by stoning. Brutal, right?

Jesus’ famous words ring out through the centuries to today: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The bloodthirsty people who had gathered to partake in her death peeled away, one by one, until Jesus was left with just the disgraced woman.

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Jesus said.

“No one, sir,” the woman replied.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.

The story doesn’t end there. It would be a comfy place to land the full stop but Jesus required more. His love didn’t compromise for a feel-good moment. It had a steely edge, a warning, a directive:

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”

We’re all that sinner, and true love is tough.

I pray wisdom as you gather your thoughts, as you seek truth, as you discuss what marriage is and as you vote.

Shalom.

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14 Comments

  1. amoremaria says

    Thank you Claire for this beautifully written piece. It’s probably what many of us think but are too afraid to speak up about. You are definitely using your gift as a writer with love not hatred.

  2. Jennifer Leonard says

    very hard to state our view, we are the ones being hated and bullied about the topic. I just want them to find another word for their legal union, Marriage is between man and women for the procreation of children,( not all wish or can) but for the Gay person please stop trying to destroy our beliefs. This is the end times are a coming for sure. Closer and closer it gets and it is frightening how much people hate.

  3. Joanne de Kievit says

    Hi Clare
    I enjoyed your article Having grown up in a single parent family myself I really see the need for the needs of children
    Childrens love for parents is very diffent.Love for parents shapes personality its quite diffrent from couples love for each other or for their children.Absent mothers or fathers are impossible to replace if their identity is unknown.
    Years ago divorce meant alienation from one parent.We have seen how wrong that was and changed to let children have a say.
    The way we now insist that indigenous have contact with their heritage and culture and rightly so .
    Now we would somehow in the name of love deprive children of even knowing who their parents really are.

    • Bella says

      Hi Joanne, I find this argument frustrating. Same sex couple can and already do have children. This vote is about allowing their families the same recognition as yours and mine. I think your concerns about ensuring children are not deprived of their parents is completely valid – but these children are not the ones who deserve your concern nor your pity. These children must be so wanted to exist, contrary to the many children who are ‘accidentally’ brought into this world and treated so horrendously – those are the children I think really deserve our concern.

  4. Danell Seenyen says

    A wonderfully and fabulously written piece and very Christ-centred view point. Indeed Jesus, in his experience with the Adulteress woman did not condemn the sinner but the sin but he did indeed have a stern warning that many people tend to ignore. It was indeed “go and sin no more” because sin is abhorrent. I really love what you have written. That is exactly what Jesus would have done today, had he been asked to comment on the gay-marriage debate. May God Bless you.

  5. Annette says

    A beautiful way with words on such a touchy subject, thankyou for showing your faith!

  6. Daphne says

    If your son or daughter was gay and you have been brought up withChristian beliefs, how would you vote?
    This would be a difficult choice. By saying NO you are not supporting them and by saying YES you are.
    What do others think?

    • Danell Seenyen says

      I believe that by saying NO, I am not condemning the sinner but the sin. I know a lot of gay people and I get along with them very well and love them all. Many of them wished they did not have the hormonal imbalance that makes them feel as they do. However, once they indulge into the sin of homosexuality, they have then made the moral choice to sin and are then condemned by the law of God. Likewise for say adultery. There are many sexual temptations out there for anyone to commit adultery. I can fall once unknowingly, but once I know that it is sin and I still make the moral choice to commit adultery, I have then sinned and sure, God will forgive me once ,twice or many more times but if I continue sinning, I will eventually commit the unpardonable sin. That is what God said the adulteress woman. She was forgiven and would probably be forgiven again many times but will come a time when her willfully breaking the LAW of God will mean that she no longer has regards for His law and would by her actions, no longer need forgiveness and she would have committed the unpardonable sin because of her attitude. Hence why Jesus said “Go and Sin no more”. No sin is sin unless I knowingly indulge in it. Saying yes to gay-marriage means that they are now given a license to knowingly indulge in that sin. That would be the same situation if everyone voted “yes” to make adultery legal.

  7. P COTTERILL says

    Shalom Claire,
    My concern is that by allowing SSM legislation to change the definition of traditional marriage we invite the same changes that are occurring overseas. Canada and various states of America have changed dramatically in their views on rights of families to teach and raise their children with christian views. In some cases the parents have no rights to remove their children from classes on SS education. Parents in Canada may have their children removed from their care if they object to the new legislation – all sorts of terrifying attacks are happening to mostly christian families. Australia has the potential to become an anti-christian society. This vote has huge ramifications.

  8. Maryann Keach says

    Real, loving, genuine opinion! Why does it make us feel intolerant and not full of love! It is not fair.

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