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Jun 29, 2007

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Sam Carr

I wonder Michael, whether it is wise to 'spell out' the role of sexual intercourse in heterosexual marriage. Many marriages, especially mature ones, do undertake periods of 'no sex' just as they could joint fasting. This does not mean that the marriage 'takes a break', just because sexual intercourse takes a break.

There are also heterosexual marriages where sex has never been a part of the 'formula' say if one considers marriages where one or both have disabilities that make sexual intercourse unfeasible.

Michael W. Kruse

Sam, here is how I think about it.

I think it is important to distinguish marriage as an institution from particular marriages. One important purpose of the institution of marriage is to channel sexual intercourse and its consequences toward ends that build up and strengthen the community. Marriage has always had the sense of complementary pairs uniting, not identical pairs uniting. Two people of the same-sex may care about each other deeply and may be able to have mutually erotic connections through simulated sexual intercourse, but by definition it is a category of relationship that could never actually have sexual intercourse. They are a pairing and not a marriage. Male and female is a category of relationship that is uniquely capable of sexual intercourse because of their complementary nature. Marriage helps ensure that this complementary union moves toward socially responsible ends.

Another way to say this might be that marriage creates a socially sanctioned environment in which sexual intercourse happens. It does not require that sexual intercourse always transpire. A particular male and female couple may not physically be able to participate in sexual intercourse but if you could wave a magic wand over both them and return them to normative status would they be able to? Yes. That will never be true of two people of the same-sex. Therefore, there may be some legitimate reason for creating a covenant between two same-sex persons but it is not a marriage.

nate

Mike,

I am sorry but that is a really lame argument. You rule out a homosexual marriage on a definitional basis. Come on ... lets at least make our thinking clear.

The Future of Marriage reviews the anthropological evidence for the early origins of intense sexual attachments among human beings, which normally result in children. Blankenhorn then makes the case that marriage is a cultural achievement, created in historic times, to permanently unite these sexually bound parents to raise their children. Once invented, marriage has become a nearly universal social institution through which a man and woman turn their sexual relation into a social relation for rearing the kids that their sex produces.

That is from the blog that you did not quote. Do you agree with that as well? Is marriage a social institution created to help raise kids that sex produces? Does that mean a married couple can/should divorce after their kids are raised? Does that mean that once a couple can no longer have children they should get a divorce? Of course not ... my grandparents are a wonderful example of the mutual love and submission, the kind of sacrificial love Jesus has for his church. They also have not had children in 40 years. Should they get divorced? Of course not. Their witness to the glory of God is more powerful today then it was when they were raising children. Marriage is about more then raising children, it reflects the nature of God. I would take my definition of marriage over blankenhorn's every day, and almost every thinking christian I know would as well.

The reality is, we are surrounded by homosexual couples with 20, 30, and 40 year relationships. We are surrounded by couples where 2 really have become 1. We are surrounded by retellings of the story of God. Simply because you define intercourse a certain way ... does not change that reality.

Michael W. Kruse

“You rule out a homosexual marriage on a definitional basis.” Yes, but what is your point? Marriage is in part a legal entity, which means some relationships are marriages and some are not. How do you propose we rule homosexual relationships in our out if not by definitions? You’ve lost me. Furthermore, from a purely social scientific framework, I fully agree with the quote from Blankenhorn. I’m mystified as to what you see as contradictory between what I have said and what Blankehorn says.

Nate, I think you are confusing the purpose of the “institution of marriage” (a pattern of relationships, laws, mores and customs) with the activities and outcomes of particular marriages. I would say more specifically we are talking about the “institution of the family,” of which marriage is a solidifying and sustaining bond. The issue is not that each marriage needs to produce children. That is a red herring. The issue is that when men and women engage in sexual intercourse a frequent occurrence is the birth of children. The most beneficial arrangement for society to care for children is for their fathers and mothers to be united in a lifelong partnership. They birth children into the world. They raise the children and launch them from the nest. They become the wise models of guidance and support for the extended family as they grow into old age. Therefore, an essential element (I have no where said the only element) of the institution of marriage is to circumscribe the practice of sexual intercourse (and by this I mean vaginal intercourse) to the context of a committed life long relationship.

If it is not life long, then an older man may engage in intercourse with another fertile woman and impregnate her. He should now bond with her as the mother of his child but he is already bonded to another. Meanwhile, a woman beyond childbearing years may enter sexual intimacy with another women’s husband and thus divert his commitment from his covenant relationship with his wife in providing for his family. The institution of marriage (male and female united), and the institution of the family (i.e., laws, mores, customs, etc.) is what has proved to be the most constructive way of ordering society for centuries and millennia. Regulating sexuality and care for children is integral to this whole consideration but it goes much beyond this.

Furthermore, most of what I have written would fall under the category of arguing from natural law. For those of us from a Judeo-Christian heritage, we also have revealed law. The only institution created prior to the fall was the family. The Greeks and Romans saw the state as paramount. The individual and family existed at the pleasure of the state. That has been true of many civilizations throughout history. In the 20th Century, whether it was Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, Kim Jung-il’s North Korea, the family had to be subordinate to the state, otherwise rulers would not have had unfettered access to shape individuals as they pleased.

The Judeo-Christian tradition sees the family as an inviolate institution established by God. That state and all other institutions that may be formed exist ultimately in support of the institution of the family. (Reflect on the Jubilee code concerning this. Inalienable private property held stewardship for God.) In our Western tradition we technically “solemnize” marriages, which is to say we grant formal legal status to a union that exists beyond our bounds to create. Inextricably tied up in the Judeo-Christian concept of marriage is sexual intercourse (between male and female) and the two becoming one. We can debate all day whether the idea of two men (for instance) achieving erotic stimulation using each other’s waste elimination organs is sinful or not, even within the confines of an ongoing loving relationship, but it categorically is not of the same as two becoming one through self-giving love to one who is other than ourselves. A same-sex union of some type may be legitimate but it is not the ordained basis for marriage and family.

The present attempt to legitimize same-sex marriage (an oxymoron) is an extension of Enlightenment/Modernist hyper-individualism that places the individual at the center of the universe. Rather than marriage being an institution established by God which I give myself to, it is made into a consumerist contractual arrangement between any two people (or three? or four? children and adults? siblings?) that the state bestows privileges on at its own discretion and withdraws at its own discretion. In other words, it is the dissolution of the family as the cornerstone of society that bares the individual to the whims of the state. It may not have significant consequences now or for a couple more generations, but since our entire system of justice, rights, and limited power is rooted on having families and intermediate institutions between the state and the individual it will inevitably lead to a new dark age if unchallenged. It was the Judeo-Christian institution of the family and its proliferation that has contributed to much of the freedom and justice we experience compared to most societies throughout the ages.

nate

Mike,

A few comments:

1) The problem with winning an argument based solely on the power of your definitions is that it leaves no space for discussion. It is like mental masturbation, lots of work, but ultimately no productive power, or in this case no power to change anyone else's mind.

2) Your argument centers around the idea that the only kind of child rearing relationship that exists today is that of a nuclear family. This is simply not the case. Lets consider the case of a gay couple who adopts a child. Clearly it is in societies best interest for that couple to stay together. Clearly since sexual fidelity is often linked to relational fidelity it would be best to encourage that couple to live in a life long monogamous relationship. Clearly then you would support them being married right? See how weak your definitional argument is, change one little definition and the argument switches sides.

3) You are correct that your arguments are almost all drawn from natural law, instead of from a theological formulation of marriage. I do find that a touch surprising. When discussing most other matters you start from a theological basis, on this one not so much. I am not arguing that any family should be subordinate to the state. Nor do I have disdain for the institution of the family. I just am asking for the freedom to define family as it occurs, not just as a natural law. I suggested a very clear theological definition of marriage, one you echoed: "two becoming one through self-giving love to one who is other than ourselves."

4) Your appropriation of my definition was really interesting. Please help me a bit, when I see two men becoming one through self-giving love to one who is other than themselves, why is that categorically different then when I see a man and a woman becoming one. Because you have defined it that way? It is like you saying: Acid rain cannot exist because if it was acidic it would not be rain and me replying ... something is falling from the sky, its wet, comes from clouds, and is melting my car. No matter how much you insist that it can't be called acid rain ... the reality is my car is still melting; no matter how much you insist that two men cannot become one, they still do ... and then folks that live in community with them have to ask, given what we see, how shall we respond.

5) Mike, the history of Judeo-Christian values is that the state has always granted and withheld the right to marry. For centuries a white person could not marry a black. For more centuries there were rules about slaves and free people marrying, rules about Jews marrying non-jews, marrying your brother's wife, etc. Lets stop throwing out canards like if this happens in 100 years ... no one knows and playing the fear card is pretty lame.

Nate

Michael W. Kruse

Nate, my definition of marriage is something like “A man and a women united in a life long covenant committed to raising the offspring of their union.” (Again, this is not a mandate that each couple produce children but rather that resultant children will be cared for.) You accuse me of using definitions. Then in number three you write

“I suggested a very clear theological definition of marriage, one you echoed: "two becoming one through self-giving love to one who is other than ourselves."

Explain to me why it is that when I offer a definition, I’m engaging in “mental masturbation” but when you offer a definition (that utterly violates any historical understanding of the term marriage) you are simply being tolerant and reasonable? Explain to me why another commenter should not come along and say you are engaging in mental masturbation by limiting this to two becoming one? Any number of people should be able to become one together.

The issue isn’t that one of us is using definitions and the other is being tolerant and reasonable. The issue is that we have differing definitions and you are intolerant of me having a definition that differs from yours. If we can compare definitions and have respectful dialog about that, then I am willing to address your other points. If my differing understanding is to be dismissed as mental masturbation out of the box, then I see no point in engaging in further discussion. You have no interest in hearing what I have to say and are here to be polemic. I don’t have time for that.

nate

Mike,

Perhaps I was not clear. My issue was not that you offered a definition, it was that you made your argument by definition. Meaning that once a person agrees to your definition there is no space to discuss the issue.

If we start with my definition we can then discuss if two men can give themselves to each other and become one. You already suggested no, I have suggested yes. If we accept your definition then there is not much space for any discussion.

If this were a debate, the other side would scream that your definitions are abusive ... I instead suggest that they are lots of sound and fury but unable to produce any kind of substantial dialog.

So that is the distinction I am drawing ... not between offering a definition or not offering any definitions but between making your argument based on the definitions or making your argument based on evidence and reason.

I hope that reply is not too polemic for you, I would suggest that comparing the rise of homosexual couples living together to the extremes of Nazism and Stalinist; much less comments about new dark ages ... is slightly polemical as well.

I will do my best to address your question about limiting marriage to two people in a seperate post ... so that this thread is easier to read for someone else coming by. Can you answer the question I posed: If we both witness a same-sex couple that gives themselves to each other, becoming one, and bearing witness to the Love of Christ for the church. What language would you use to describe that reality? Or as I originally stated it: how then shall we as a christian community respond?

Michael W. Kruse

Nate, I’m simply going to ignore the whole definition question. We are lost in rabbit trials. I need to back up and make an orderly presentation at length, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid. So here goes

THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

From a Christian standpoint, the answer to many of our questions is in the opening chapters of Genesis. From the first creation account:

Gen 1:27-28

“27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”

Then in the second account:

Gen 2:18-24

“18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,' (ishshah)
for she was taken out of man." (iysh)

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

In the first passage, Adam and Eve are given their mandate. Part of that mandate is “Be fruitful and multiply…” Elemental to their mission and their design is sexual relations that bear children. This is the God ordained institution of marriage.

Genesis 2:23, brings in the companionship question. Adam uses a Hebrew wordplay to describe his new companion, calling her ishshah, “the female man.” She is spiritually and physically the complementary being that completes a him. The instruction given in 2:24 is not that a man leaves his parents to bond to another person. It is to bond to his wife, a woman.

Note “…they will become one flesh.” There is no doubt that there is “becoming one” in the sense of emotional bonding, but becoming “one flesh” is also a euphemism for male/female vaginal sexual intercourse, where the two parties use their complementary sex organs to engage each other. It is absolutely inseparable from the biblical notion of the two becoming one flesh. Two men or two women may develop very close emotional bonds. They may engage in mutual sexual erotic stimulation by simulating sexual intercourse. But they cannot become one flesh in any biblical sense of the term. It is a physical impossibility. Male and female united are perfect complements by design and calling. Same-sex parings simulating sexual intercourse are not complements.

Jesus draws specifically on these passages to make the same point about marriage in Matthew 19:4-6:

4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Where is Jesus endorsement of any two persons becoming one flesh? Marriage is a man and woman.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9:

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes (malakoi = males who act as the female partner in homosexual relations) nor homosexual offenders (arsenokotai = males who to take other males to bed)…”

Then, using a chiastic structure in verses 13-20, Paul contrasts the satisfaction of two physical appetites: food and sex. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food but both well perish. What we eat is not of consequence. By contrast, the body is eternal and will be raised again. Our body is meant for the Lord and the Lord for our body. Because we are united to Christ as his body, whoever we unite eternal body with we unite also to Christ. How does this “uniting” take place?

“16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”

The “uniting” is through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse (male and female complementary engagement of sexual genitalia) is integral to “becoming one flesh” and marriage. There is a mysterious spiritual component to sexual intercourse and this sexual intercourse is by definition not available to same-sex parings.

In Chapter Seven, Paul begins by writing:

“7:1 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”

He does not say each person should find a sex partner to be in a life long loving relationship with, but male should unite with a female and a female with a male in the covenant of marriage.

From as far back as we have historical record about the Jews up into the 20th Century, we have univocal and unequivocal witness within the Judeo-Christian heritage that sexual intercourse (male and female complementary engagement of sexual genitalia) is integral to marriage. From a Christian theological perspective, to suggest that two men or two women can be married is a profound misrepresentation of “two becoming one flesh” and makes the Bible say the precise opposite of what it really says.

THE PUBLIC POLICY QUESTION

Part of the point of the article that began this discussion was the author’s observation that (with one exception) across cultures and eras, sexual intercourse between a man and a woman has been an integral aspect to concept of marriage. Christians would argue that this is because marriage and family are what God ordained. From natural law, some would argue that physically complementary anatomy suggests that male and female were intended for special interaction. Natural law would also point that it is safer and more harmonious for a male and female to be exclusively and perpetually united with each other, instead of each person sharing many partners. Even within polygamy there is a notion creating exclusive relationships to one man.

Human relationships come in many forms. I have acquaintances that I rarely see. I have casual friends. I have a smaller circle of friends that I have a much closer relationship with. There are a couple of friends I have known most of my life that I have a very deep connection with. Do I need a license to have any of these relationships? Do I need official state recognition of these friendships for them to exist? Of course not.

Now let’s say one of my closest male friends and I decide to engage in mutually erotic acts. Do we now need a license to legitimate that relationship? What is it that makes a very close relationship between two people of the same-sex having erotic contact qualitatively different from two very close people of the same-sex not having erotic contact? What about this requires official sanction?

Now let’s say one of my closest female friends and I decide to engage in sexual intercourse? Is there something that qualitatively changes that might make official sanction wise? Yes. Sexual intercourse frequently leads to children. Care and nurture of children is one of society’s most critical functions. The wisdom of the ages across cultures and eras is that the optimal condition for raising children is in the context of a man and women (with extended family) caring for new human beings to which they give life. Consequently, it is in society’s interest to legitimate, promote, and protect that environment that is optimal for rearing children, namely the family.

None of this says that any particular instance of a single parent, or two people of the same sex, or people in other arrangements, who are raising a child can’t raise a child well. This is irrelevant to the public policy question. The question is what arrangement, taken in the aggregate, creates the optimal environment for raising children? Answer: A mother and father united in marriage caring for their children. Therefore, we create special privileges and responsibilities that are accorded only to the traditional family that both promotes their formation and nurtures their perpetuation.

What I have described is just one factor. Another critical issue is the political economy question. Whether by God’s ordination or by naturalistic evolvement, the family predates the state. Marriages existed long before the state ever emerged to legitimize them. You wrote above:

“…the history of Judeo-Christian values is that the state has always granted and withheld the right to marry.”

You are conflating state recognition of a marriage with the marriage itself. The technical language on many marriage licenses is that once a wedding ceremony is held, a minister testifies that he or she solemnized (witnessed the formalization of a relationship), thus making it legitimate in the eyes of the state for the couple to take on the privileges and obligations that the state is willing to accord them. Yes, there have been times when the state withheld its recognition of marriage but the recognition by the state is not needed for two people to be married. The state cannot prevent an interracial marriage but it may improperly refuse to acknowledge it as a marriage. Marriage and family is an institution that exists outside, above and beyond the state. The challenge of the state is to correctly identify a legitimate marriage when it occurs.

That leads back to my original points. When the state recognizes that the family does not exist at the pleasure of the state but rather that the family is an independent institution, and that families have an inalienable right (barring certain levels of abuse) to bear and nurture children, then healthy checks and balances exist over what the state can do. Without this understanding, the family merely becomes an extension of the state. The state may take a “hands off” approach on how families deal with children and relate to each other as individuals. However, the state could just as easily dictate how families will raise their children and what they will be taught. The state could dissolve the institution of the family altogether. There is no moral basis on which to oppose the state should it make such a decision. The protection and nurture of those closest to an individual who are most likely to have his or her best interest at heart through familial love are neutralized. The state is free to use the individual for whatever is in the states best interest with no regard for individual who it can not possibly know with intimacy.

During the late 20th Century in the West there has been a steady and growing onslaught to undermine the understanding of marriage and family as an institution. It is a natural extension of Enlightenment/Modernist hyper-individualism with its emphasis on unrestrained choice and antipathy for limiting institutions. Our cultural heritage grants privileges and status to men and women united in marriage because family is an independent institution and because the state sees it as in its best interest to protect this institution. This galls the hyper-individualist who resent the favored status of the family and by implication the diminishment of their choices. The institution of the family could not be assaulted head on, so the strategy has been to dilute the meaning of marriage and therefore family. The attempt is being made to move marriage, in the legal sense, from state recognition of an independent reality to a private contract between any consenting adults. When this is widely accepted and broadened in application then there is no reason to grant true marriages any privileged status above anyone else’s “contract.” The institution of the family is effectively dissolved and becomes merely one state allowed contract among many.

CONCLUSION

Therefore, when you speak of the “two becoming one” with regard to same-sex relationships, you are profoundly misrepresenting the biblical message and making it say precisely the opposite of what it says.

So what about same-sex relationships? Personally, I think two folks, same-sex or not, ought to be able to legally contract with each other to create a whole host of arrangements. They should be able to specify who inherits their possessions, who can make end of life decisions for them, who might have power of attorney for them and a whole host of other concerns. If you want to package several of these arrangements into some instrument that might be called a “civil union” or “domestic partnership,” that may be an option. This would apply to folks whether there is sexual eroticism in the relationship or not. But what we dare not confuse are instruments created by the state for special circumstances, with the independent institution of the family, with rights and privileges, which may not be abridged.

There is no such thing as a same-sex marriage and calling it marriage doesn’t make it so.

nate

Hey Mike,

Thanks for making a bit more clear your understanding.

In the end I think our difference center around a literal versus metaphoric reading of the second chapter of Genesis. You think the central reading is that two becoming one is a euphemism for male -> female intercourse. I suggest it is describing a spiritual, emotional, psychological reality that is enhanced by sexual activity (but not restricted to males -> female intercourse).

Both of our interpretations require us to move outside the text itself. Your logic of "If God had desired marriage to include same gender relationships we would have examples in Genisis" is just as flawed as when it says "If God had intended to have women serve as pastors and apostles Jesus would have included women in his twelve."

Your passage from Paul's writing is an interesting choice as well. You seem far more confident about the translation of malakoi and arsenokotai then most Greek scholars I have read. The books I have read suggest that those words are neologisms of created by Paul, that cannot be found in other greek texts, or understood in any other context.

Especially because the use of the words revolves around temple prostitution ... but you don't translate becoming one with a prostitute to possibly include a male becoming one with a male prostitute (that you claim he refers to not 10 verses earlier). Would I be cruel to suggest that Paul may have been a better Hebrew scholar then you?

I must say, as a person who has witnessed GLBT couples suffer because the state we live in refuses to recognize their relationship in legal areas (hospital visitation, power of attorney, last rites, etc) I find your lack of conviction about civil unions somewhat troubling.

Three years ago I watched a friend and co-worker be hospitalized and in a coma from a car accident. Her family with whom she had not spoken in 15 years barred her partner of 14 years from visiting her, from having any say in her care, until she was conscious enough to speak her own mind. This was a violence done, that would not have happened if her partner were male.

So why not support enthusiastically laws that made it possible to enter into such legal bindings? Hospital visitation is something that no legal will can effect it is a hospital policy that can only be overridden by state or federal law, my friend had tried.

Out of curiosity, what special privileges do you think are inherit in the family that the state cannot or should not interfere with?

Michael W. Kruse

Nate, I would love to go into more detail on all of this but I’m simply swamped. I just don’t have the time to address to engage in a full blown discussion about same-sex issues. Here are just a few comments.

Literal or holistc?

“In the end I think our difference center around a literal versus metaphoric reading of the second chapter of Genesis.”

I think the difference is between a holistic reading versus a reading with a Gnostic split between spirit and body. Paul’s whole point in the 1 Corinthians 6 passage was that what we do with our body is inseparable from spiritual realities (unlike food). The way the two become one is through both body and spirit. Male and female are complementary in body and spirit. Male and male, or female and female, are not.

Women and Homosexuals

Women were more or less chattel in most of the cultures surrounding Israel. Yet we see a continued elevation of women through the biblical texts. The movement is away from the practice of surrounding cultures. Homosexual behavior was at least tolerated, in the cultures surrounding Israel. The resounding and unequivocal stance is a movement away from the culture as well.

There were no examples of egalitarian arrangements (in the modern sense) between men and women in the NT era, yet Jesus and Paul opened the door for the evolution to occur. Depending on how certain passages are translated there are seeming differences about what role women should play in the church. There were examples of homosexual behavior all around Jesus and especially Paul. Yet we see not the slightest hint toward redeeming the behavior as a valid expression of sexuality. On the contrary. We see univocal and unequivocal rejection of sexuality that is not expressed within the covenant of heterosexual marriage. You might be interested in William Webb’s book “Slaves, Women and Homosexuals” on these comparisons.

Prostitution (or something else condemned), not Homosexuality

I’m very much of aware of the work of some scholars to expand, contract, or otherwise qualify the meanings of certain words in Romans 1:27-28, 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10. The claim that these terms refer to prostitution is false and bad scholarship. From “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics” by Robert Gagnon out of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

Arsenokoites is almost certainly a combination two Greek words appearing in the Septuagint’s translation of Lev 18:22 and 20:13.

Arsenos ou koimethese koiten gymaikeian (18:22)

Hos an koimethe meta aresenos koiten gynaikos (20:13)

Arsen is the word for male. Koit is the word for “bed” or “lying.” Add the male suffix es to the end and you get arsenokoites, males who bed each other. It is drawn from the Leviticus prohibitions. (See page 315)

Malakia is discussed in two different places by first century Jew, Philo to describe those who are the receptive partner in a homosexual relationship and adopt feminine manner and appearance to enhance their role. There is no mention of temple prostitution or idolatry. Gagnon also notes that malakia can have a variety of meanings and context is important. Its placement in the 1 Cor 6:9 list between to acts that unmistakably involve sexual acts indicates that sexual activity is in mind here and not just acting in an effeminate manner. (308-309)

Also, the term “prostitute” in 1 Cor 6:9 is pornees, which is the feminine form of pornos, meaning “male prostitute.” So yes, I would agree that Paul had a better understanding of Hebrew than I do and I’m willing to live by his understanding. Are you? *grin*

I’m in a denomination where many in the hierarchy take your position. I am in a presbytery where I would say a slight majority take your position. I know all these arguments. You need to read more widely than just the positions that support your own side. I highly recommend Gagnon’s book.

Family Privileges

Families have primacy in the nurture, education, discipline and care of children. Families have a right to make the decisions that affect their corporate lives together and to keep their private actions, and conversations, private. The have the right to make these decisions without the input from the state or other institutions. They have a right to jointly share and use assets, and should be able to pass on assets to progeny to aid in future family formation and protect legacies. These are a few I would suggest. Just as with individual liberties, all of these have limitations. But the presumption lies with the families prerogative and the burden of proof lies in showing why interference should take place.

As to the rest of the comment about how to address the difficult and painful questions that people engaging in homosexual behavior face, there are biblical issues, pastoral care issues, and public policy issues involved. I just don’t want to go there right now. I’m too preoccupied to open such a wide ranging discussion.

This discussion began with the observation that for the first time we are trying to define marriage absent a sexual component. I think I have demonstrated why I understand this to be bad biblical exegesis, bad Christian anthropology and bad social policy. I’ll just leave it there.

nate

Mike,

A few quick comments... and I promise nothing substantial to add to the thread its your blog, you have the last scholarly word.

1) Most sides think the other side has bad scholars. My own greek skills are lacking. I have just entered a greek learning group that draws from two communities I have my feet in. 1) A reconciling methodist church 2) a conservative baptist university in our town. We will be meeting 3 times a week to start to learn greek, I look forward to the time I can type in greek and have this dialog at a deeper level. Until that point I have added the second book you suggested to my reading list and look forward to growing through my interaction to it.

2) I will also continue to engage in my reading about sexuality in the thought in ancient times. I must confess my reading has centered around Michael Foucault and people in dialog (inc. disagreement) with him.

3) Your ideas about the prerogative of families is really interesting and compelling. I hope you pick that up again sometime I would enjoy reading through it in depth. I also wish you could include the families that I see in my community of faith that include GLBT folks, for so many of them, the government does intrude on these rights you outline in awful ways ... but that again is an issue for another time.

4) Thanks for all the time and the length of posts you have written here. I think I am starting to understand the "family focus" you are starting from. It is not a thread I have seen clearly stated before. I am not sure I can yet see the thread of liberal/leftist attacks on the concept of family, but that is for another time as well. Thanks again for your honesty, thought, and insight and for providing a place for discussion like this to happen.

Nate

Michael W. Kruse

As always Nate, you push with some good solid questions. I appreciate you and I appreciate your desire for justice, even if we don't sometimes see eye to eye on what that justice is. Let us keep on pressing to the higher calling of our Lord!

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