So parliament has voted and the Christian community was urged to pray, and now we have an outcome. I got the email sometime yesterday that asked me to join with Christians across the country to pray "The Lord's Prayer" and seek God's will for our country.
So what do we do now?
Do we assume that God's will wasn't done because the outcome wasn't to our general liking (not all Christians were opposed to the bill), or do we assume that it was, and we need to think differently about faith and culture? Do we repent that not enough Christians prayed hard enough, so God didn't do what we wanted, or do we assume that God's purpose is being worked out in ways we don't fully appreciate?
It's a complicated situation, and one we've faced many times before. Remember the Sunday trading laws? How about the equal opportunities employment bill that challenged using faith as a prerequisite for employment.
Sometimes these things that we feel are assaults on our rights are actually challenges to our narrow thinking and our ghettoised attitudes. Yes, I have my concerns that someday someone will bring a lawsuit against a church and a minister for refusing to provide a service. Although the law is supposed to protect us from that, no doubt it will be tested. But I'm also caught between wanting to protect everyone's rights to an equitable society that treats us all equally, and the freedom to dissent from the popular viewpoint.
I don't think same-sex marriage undermines the Christian value of marriage. I think infidelity, domestic violence, abuse, selfishness, greed and whole lot of other things do that. Perhaps the eventual passing of this bill will help us redefine marriage, not along sexual lines, but in terms of the virtues and values of long-term commitment, relational growth and stable partnerships. Those of who do so from a faith perspective can still raise the standard that marriage is something ordained by God between a man and a woman. But we need to remember that God is not honoured in our marriages simply because they are heterosexual. There is so much more to it than that.