When I think about the definition many use for the term “Traditional Marriage”, I wonder whether it is right or fair to define all that marriage is based upon what we do with our genitals, and/or who we do it with.
There are many kinds of traditions out there. But when the term “Traditional Marriage” is used, it is referring to what the speaker sees as a faith tradition. Yet, as I spoke about in a recent sermon, “Tradition” is not synonymous with “Faith.” One must be dependent upon the other, but which one is primary: Faith or Tradition?
As I see it, our faith is from God and therefore not ours to change. But, our traditions are created by us, usually in conjunction with the community of which we are a part. If our traditions are dependent upon our faith, then they must (and will) change as our faith deepens and grows.
Therefore, our faith traditions grow out of our faith, and our faith is neither defined nor limited by by our traditions. Traditions help us express who we are and how we see ourselves; but traditions can and must change as our own self awareness and knowledge of our faith grows. Traditions are, and must always be, malleable and changeable. What does not change are the principles of faith that give rise to those traditions.
This means that the definition of “Traditional Marriage” that many use not only ignores the depth and breadth and magic of what a marriage really is, or can be. But, it also ignores the fact that tradition is not synonymous with faith, and that traditions can (and should) grow as we grow.
So, do not be so wedded (sic) to the idea that there is a single static definition of “marriage.” This may be true for you in your faith tradition, but we must always leave room for God to speak to us in new and deeper ways; and we must also allow room for how our infinite and eternal Creator speaks to others in ways that may not be not relevant to us, let alone understood by us.
Ultimately, the two Great Commandments say “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And so, we must ask ourselves how our judgment of others and their marriages speaks to these two precepts that are the essence of Jesus’ teachings.
…Is our judgment of them really indicative of the faith within us that Jesus wants us to show and spread throughout the world?
Copyright (c) 2016, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved. I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)