Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

There Goes the Bride

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Jeremiah 2) transports me to the storied chambers of the NC House and Senate, where a group of lawmakers, with stealth and speed, used the House Rules committee to turn a Nutrient Management Plan bill into a Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA). Both chambers passed the measure, without any opportunity for public comment, so now the May 2012 ballot will give voters the opportunity to discriminate and deprive a minority of the right to marry. All in the name of defending marriage. One thing is for certain, the institution of marriage does seem to be in dire need of some protection. Domestic abuse and divorce traumatize far too many families. But really, is restricting the definition of marriage to that of one man and one woman going to be our first line of defense? Is the existence of loving, committed, faithful monogamous relationships among same-sex partners really threatening the marital bliss of heterosexuals? Wouldn’t our state be better served with a well-thought out Nutrient Management Plan?

Today’s Passage reveals that we are not the first generation needing to defend marriage. The marriage in question for Jeremiah, though, wasn’t defined as one man and one woman. It was defined as one God and one people. God has wed the covenant community, and now, the honeymoon is over. Jeremiah takes us to the site of a dreadful domestic dispute, where a spurned Lover’s tongue-lashing shows that hell hath no fury like a Sovereign God scorned. The Lord begins by remembering the good old golden days of the romance with Israel, where the newly freed people of faith followed their God through desert trials, loving the Liberator as a new bride. But the faith has grown frigid, and the people have broken their vows, exchanging their Glory for useless idols, laying down under every spreading tree and turning tricks with every wooden john claiming divine rights. Soda and soap will not wash away the stains and the stench of their infidelity. The rejected Lover continues the heated harangue with ever increasing intensity, likening the wandering infidels to an unrestrainable wild donkey in heat, sniffing the wind for anything to satisfy her cravings.

God ends the lament with a bookend to the beginning reference to the days of bridal bliss: How does a bride forget her wedding attire? Instead of wedding ornaments, my faithless bride adorns her clothes with the lifeblood of the innocent poor. This is classic prophetic proclamation, lowering the boom on the offspring of idolatry: injustice toward the poor. This is also classic Jesus, as he sought to dress up his fiancé followers with something old (the love of God) and something new (the new and radical inclusive nature of that love), something borrowed (the prophetic imagery of a faith that brings justice to the poor) and something blue (the suffering of the cross that ushers in the new beloved community). All I can say is, get me to the church on time, and get all couples there – same sex as well as opposite sex – who are ready to create life-long partnerships defined by this kind of faithful love. Whatever the voters of NC wind up putting in our Constitution, I say any marriage that is defined by this kind of radical love, and any partnership that brings good news to the poor, is a holy union truly worth defending.

How about you? Where does this Prophetic Passage take you on your journey of faith? Feel free to comment.



  • September 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    can you provide from the Bible your view for same sex marriage?

    God’s plan for sexuality

    “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
    —Genesis 1:27 (NKJV)

    “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
    —Genesis 2:18-25 (NKJV)

    Comment by Bill Dotson

  • September 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Bill, I’m glad you’re reading the blog, and thanks for your question. Yes, my stance on same-sex marriage is Biblically based, the same way my stance on issues like slavery is Biblically based. You see, a literal view of the Bible would lead us to believe that slavery is ok, and that abolitionists were outside of God’s will. There are texts that clearly show that. But a larger look at the themes of the Bible, the love and grace of God, and the life and ministry of Jesus, leads me to understand otherwise. The same with sexuality, there are texts that people use to show that homosexuality is taboo, but I do not believe from my study that these texts are talking about anything like the relationships we see today between committed couples. In terms of what Jesus taught as the greatest commandments, loving God and loving neighbor, I see many same-sex couples doing just that, with Christ-centered ministries that are inspiring to me. Next time we get together I’d be glad to give you a fuller biblical basis and how I interpret the relevant texts through the lens of Jesus’ life and teaching.

    Comment by Stan

  • September 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Stan, Thank you. Please send this to all N.C. legislators. I am listening right now to an interview with the first & only authentically evangelical U.S. president- Pres. Carter!

    Comment by Kathy Meacham

  • September 16, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I’m from NC, but I live in KY now. I’m sitting here shaking my head trying to imagine how legislators could start discussing a Nutrient Management Plan bill and end up with a Defense of Marriage Amendment?!**!?

    Comment by Doris Bailey Spencer

  • September 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Stan Do You believe Jesus is God?

    Comment by Bill Dotson

  • September 16, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Yes, Bill, I do.

    Comment by Stan

  • September 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    how do you deal with the following:
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Comment by Bill Dotson

  • September 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Kathy, thanks for the note, and I’ve sent the blog link to Ray Rapp and Patsy Keever. If you know of others who might benefit from reading it, feel free to pass it on. President Carter is looking better all the time!

    Comment by Stan

  • September 16, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Bill, the Bible, in a literal reading, teaches that people who remarry after a divorce are adulterers (Mark 10), and from the passage you cited, this means they cannot get to heaven. I would suppose that you do not hold to this view, as previous generations might have, and have enough grace to allow that someone who has remarried after a divorce can still inherit the kingdom of heaven. In the same way, I have enough grace to recognize that people who happen to be oriented differently from me in terms of their sexuality can be followers of Jesus. I trust Jesus’ words when he says you shall know them by their fruits, and I know plenty of lesbian and gay sisters and brothers in the faith who produce the spiritual fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. I don’t believe these are the people Paul was describing in the passage you cited above.

    Comment by Stan

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