WILL YOU ATTEND A GAY WEDDING?
We threw this question to Christians and here are some responses.
Keep The Connection
DR HERA LUKMAN dives deeper into the question, “Will you attend a gay wedding?”
My response to this question has evolved over the last decade. I started thinking about this question from a hypothetical perspective, given that I didn’t personally know of anyone who was same-sex attracted, let alone someone who was in a same-sex relationship aiming for matrimony. Hence, my initial analysis of the said question was done within an extremely limited context where the focus was solely on my moral stand regarding same-sex marriage while little consideration was given to the character(s) involved in the wedding ceremony.
A few years ago, I was forced to revisit this question when I came to know that someone very dear to me has same-sex attraction. When there is a face to this question, I found myself no longer satisfied with my initial categorical and uni-dimensional analysis of this question. Somehow, my response to a hypothetical situation has become markedly different when it becomes personalised. Today, this question is no longer just an academic discourse or a subject matter for debate. It demands a practical response.
As I wrestle with this question, I was reminded of a few aspects of human nature that I tend to overlook, particularly during self-evaluation. I wish to share a couple of these with you.
1. WE HAVE THE TENDENCY TO SIMPLIFY
Evidence from behavioural sciences has informed us that human beings tend to use limited data in decision making. Our tendency to simplify often results in erroneous assumptions about a subject matter and/or a person. It is not surprising that many unnecessary miscommunications and misunderstandings in relationships are due to such assumptions.
In the context of our discussion on same-sex wedding, there are multiple reasons why people choose to attend or otherwise, as in any event. We must not assume that being present at the wedding is tantamount to supporting same-sex marriage. Likewise, we should refrain from assuming that being absent represents disapproval of same-sex marriage and/or a rejection of friendship or kinship. Such assumptions not only oversimplify the complexity of relationships, they may cause us to make unrealistic demands on relationships, i.e. if you care for me, we must always see eye to eye.
In my opinion, a strong bond between two people can still exist despite holding on to different perspectives. It is the bond that sustains the relationship and it is through this sustained connection that different perspectives are heard and exchanged. We must work towards maintaining connection if we value the relationship and if we want the other to understand where we are coming from.
2. WE HAVE THE TENDENCY TO DEFEND OUR STAND
To some of us, deciding on whether to attend a same-sex wedding is more than wrestling with social expectations. It is a measure of our allegiance to God. Even if we are aware that attending does not correspond to endorsing same-sex marriage, we may still decline the invitation because we are compelled to defend our moral stand. Some of us may even be willing to sacrifice the relationship in the name of “honouring God”.
In my opinion, while defending a moral stand is essential for Christians who desire to honour God, we are called to do more than defend our stand. We must also relate our stand. The posture of relating is person-centric, while that of defending is subject-centric. During Jesus’ time on earth, while He opposed sin, He proactively sought connections, particularly with those ostracised by society and the religious community.
His method of connecting is not always socially sanctioned but He did it anyway! In so doing, Jesus did much more than just defend the commandments to love God and to love man, He related His stand and demonstrated this stand with His actions.
In my journey with friends in the LGBTQ community, I am regularly reminded how similar we are as people who wrestle daily with various aspects of our fallen human nature. We all fall short of God’s standard and we all face challenges to live righteously before God.
In other words, we are all “Work-in-Progress” and God is not done with us yet. Before He is done with us, let us not be too quick to simplify how God would work in and through us as we model after Jesus in the way we relate with one another.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Dr Hera Lukman is a registered Chartered Health Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. She obtained her BA (Hons) at Simon Fraser University, Canada, her MSc at the University of Sheffield, UK, and her Ph.D at the University of Leeds, UK. For the past 15 years, Hera has taught Psychology at several Universities in the UK and Malaysia. She is currently the Head of Psychology and Learning Centre at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur. As a Christian pyschologist, Hera is passionate in integrating psychology with Biblical principles in understanding personhood and one’s indentity in Christ.
Asian Beacon: Apr – Jun 2018 (Vol 50 #2, p22-23)