Guest Outpost blog by Jodi Craiglow
Some Christians believe that the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage is the sign that we as a nation have officially turned our backs on God and the Bible; faithful believers should spend July in sackcloth and ashes.
I’m not that Christian.
Some Christians believe that the SCOTUS ruling marks the dawning of a new era of openness and tolerance; faithful believers should spend July waving rainbow flags.
I’m not that Christian, either.
When the Outlook invited me to write a guest blog about my take on the recent ruling from our nation’s highest bench, I’ll admit… the thought freaked me out. How can I write about my take on the situation when I’m still trying to figure out what it is? I hemmed and hawed, and as the deadline drew nearer, I figured I could get away with an analysis piece. 901 words on the philosophical underpinnings of each side’s stance. I sent it off to the Outlook team, who very kindly and gently told me that she was looking for something more “personal.” You thought I had anxiety before? The butterflies in my stomach started growing to the size of pterodactyls. They were calling my bet – it was time to lay down my cards or fold. So I’m going all in… let the chips fall where they may.
Why am I so jittery about this post? Well, I figure that it’s mostly because I’m a compulsive people-pleaser. I hate to stick my neck out and risk offending folks I care about. And for me to say “I haven’t landed yet” on my approach to this issue is undoubtedly going to offend some of my friends and associates. Folks pitching further right of me may say that I’ve lost my doctrinal footing, and folks pitching further left may tell me that I’m not being faithful to my LGBT friends. Add to that the constant state of limbo that’s driving my Myers-Briggs “J” absolutely berserk, and those pterodactyls start to make more sense.
Let me be more specific. I believe that God’s ideal plan for marriage is one man and one woman, joined in a lifetime bond of fidelity. But I also know from personal experience that there are some women married to women and some men married to men who come a lot closer to reflecting the love and faithfulness of Christ in their relationships than some women married to men and some men married to women. My prophetic mind says, “Hold to the standard.” My pastoral heart says, “Can’t there be some leeway?” I listen to voices from both sides of the issue, and many of them resonate with me. I’m confused, I’m frustrated, I’m exhausted… and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
So, why am I writing this post? Why didn’t I just fold like I was sorely tempted to do? Because I have the strong inclination that I’m not the only one who’s bumbling around this particular gray area with both hands stretched out in front of her – and I want to let these particular sisters and brothers know that they’re not alone. I want to embolden them to keep listening, keep developing relationships and keep seeking God’s will with folks across the spectrum of perspectives. I want to remind them (and myself) that holding patterns can be acceptable alternatives. Limbo’s an okay place to be; it means that you’re still learning. And I want to encourage them with the words I heard from the pulpit this Sunday:
“…but [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NRSV
We’re not called to have all the answers – in fact, that was never part of the deal to begin with. The good part about floating, though, is that it forces us to anchor ourselves to what’s truly solid: God’s grace. It’s sufficient for us, regardless of the situations or uncertainties we face. So while I’m living life in limbo, I’ll take comfort in the fact that the one who does have the answers walks with me every step of the way.
JODI CRAIGLOW is an adjunct professor and PhD student at Trinity International University, a ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church in Libertyville, Illinois, and a curriculum developer for the Synod of Mid-America’s Theocademy. In what spare time she has, she loves to sing and travel (together, if the opportunity affords).