We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Change of Heart

Sen. Rob Portman (R, OH) has long been an advocate for traditional marriage and an opponent of gay marriage.  Then, in 2011, his son "came out" to his parents, and Sen. Portman learned a different way to view the whole matter of gay marriage.  He has recently written an op-ed piece in The Columbus Dispatch entitled, "Gay couples also deserve chance to get married," which documents his change of heart.  In the piece, Portman particularly wrestles with his religious understanding of homosexuality, which originally was that the Bible forbids gay marriage.  The fact that his son, a person he loves deeply, is gay presented Portman with the opportunity to see the Bible from a fresh perspective.  He writes, "I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God."

What a difference it makes when we read scripture lovingly!  Portman's change of heart reminds us that what we bring to the Bible is as important as what we find there.  If we bring law, we find Law.  If we bring love, we find Love.  The thing is that when we bring love to the reading of scripture we are more firmly grounded in the Spirit as we read it and better able to see that the biblical journey of faith is the transformation from Law to Love, a transformation found in both testaments.  Amen.