Jotted down in my little scripture study/church meetings notebook
1) A family has different types of members -- like a body, like the Church! -- with different roles, functions, gifts and callings
2) Families are extended, and complex: mother-father-child is a cell, a unit within the family; it is not the family
3) The Earth has a history and a destiny which cannot be fulfilled without every member of the human family playing his or her destined role. Humanity in its entirety is the largest, most complete expression of family: the family of Adam and Eve. The timeline for the fulfillment of that destiny is known only to the Father.
4) We each need family to grow and develop into our full stature.
5) Friendship/Love is the most fundamental power/force driving/creating/sustaining family.
Last night, after we dropped Glen off at his dorm, Göran and I watched the Israeli film Eyes Wide Open, which tells in a very straightforward manner the story of two gay Orthodox Jews living in Israel, and the unexpected love that grows between them. One is married, the other is not. It's a beautiful, thought-provoking film.
The film lays out with wonderful clarity the theological challenge related to same-relationships. There's a scene in which a rabbi states -- as a general principle -- that abstinence is a sin. God has created a world full of beauty because he wants us to have joy. That is the purpose for which God created the world. To set oneself apart from that, to refuse to partake of the joy God offers us is a sin. The main character in the story, Aaron (the gay, married man) takes issue with the rabbi. Man is supposed to struggle. Without struggle and self-discipline, life has no meaning. That about sums up the theological divide between gay Christians, and Christian ex-gays.
Later in the film, when the rabbi questions Aaron about his relationship with Ezri (the younger, unmarried man), Aaron explains that Ezri makes him feel closer to God. Before meeting Ezri, he explains, he had been dead inside. He had once been dead, now he was alive. Ezri had given him life. Ultimately, however, when the community threatens to cast Aaron and Ezri both out of the synagogue, boycott Aaron's butcher shop, and force him and his family out of the community, Ezri leaves, order is restored, and Aaron grieves silently and alone. In a very poignant moment in the film, Aaron is praying silently in his bedroom while his wife observes, "I know what you are praying for."
The film certainly left me reflecting on my relationship with Göran, on the truth that it is my relationship with him that has enabled my heart to open itself up to God. It is in my relationship with him I believe I experience the fullness of joy for which God has created all of us.
All too often, convention is just another form of human pride and stubbornness. It's our excuse, our rationalization, our justification for things that, in the broad scheme of love and justice, would otherwise be indefensible. So often in scripture, we see God acting against convention, working through outcasts, undermining the wise, the powerful and the self-justified.
The question for us is: Am I on the side of Love, or on the side of its denial?