Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Marriage Matters

Here are a couple of fine letters to the Committee on Civil Union and Christian Marriage. One is from Earl Apel and is posted on the Layman's website. It is the second one that the editors titled, How We Interpret, Follow the Bible is Important. Here is a piece of it:
My own church, Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, has been quite vocal on this subject in the past. In fact one of our pastors, Steven Van Kuiken, was defrocked by the Presbytery of Cincinnati for taking such a bold stand in saying that services of same-sex couples were the same as marriage. There was division in our church as to strategy and bottom line our relationship to the PC(USA) whether to go or stay. After Mr. Van Kuiken’s dismissal, our church did issue a new policy that I think is inclusive to all persons wanting to have their partnerships blessed and affirmed in the PC(USA).

I happen to be gay and haven’t been at a point in my life where I needed to have a relationship formally affirmed in the church. But I certainly understand the needs of so many others that wish to do so.

But here is the bottom line. The Christian Church by nature is filled with various relationships. We are in a sense family to each other just as Christ and his followers were. It is important for a healthy family that relationships are honored and respected.
Another good one is posted on Witherspoon's site. This is from a psychologist, Dr. Matthew D. Johnson (scroll down to 7/13/2009). An excerpt:
It is clear from the research literature that the act of a couple gathering together their friends and family and making a promise to stay committed in front of the people most important to them and in front of God is profound. This leads to greater commitment (feeling compelled to stay in the relationship) and dedication (feeling compelled to actively work on improving the relationship) to their partner. These effects are much stronger when a couple weds than when they simply live together. A wedding that lacks an endorsement from the church may well weaken the benefits of marriage for the couple.

Strong marriages also benefit the children. A large amount of research conducted in the last two decades suggests that, on average, the presence of two parents is associated with better outcomes for children.

Unwed parents who cohabitate are more similar to married parents than to single parents on variables related to child outcomes, but children in families with married parents have the best health, behavioral and academic outcomes.

Strengthening families regardless of the gender of the parents should be an important goal of the church, and one way to do this is to allow all couples who seek to enhance their relationship through marriage to do so with the support of the church.
Don't forget to send yours!
Responses can be sent electronically (civilunion.marriage@pcusa.org) or mailed to Civil Union and Christian Marriage Committee, Office of the General Assembly, Room 4621, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202-1396.
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