Guest Blogger

What Would Jesus Do If Invited to a Gay Wedding?

Filed By Guest Blogger | March 03, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Bible, Christian beliefs, Jesus, LGBT, straight, straight allies, wedding

Editors' note: John Shore is the author of "Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang: Why I Do The Things I Do (by God, as told to John Shore)" and "I'm OK-You're Not: The Message We're Sending Nonbelievers, and Why We Should Stop." He lives with his wife in San Diego and blogs at JohnShore.com.

new5778.jpgI've recently been invited to a couple of gay weddings. So -- what with being Christian and all -- I asked myself the famous question, "What would Jesus do?" (Which I don't too often ask myself, actually, since Jesus could, for instance, raise people from the dead and turn water into wine, whereas I can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning and/or turn water into coffee. Safe to say lots of His options are none of mine.)

Wondering what Jesus would do naturally enough led me to the New Testament. And therein I found these quotes:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices -- mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law -- justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:23-24);

and

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." (Matthew 23:13);

and,

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." (Matthew 23:15);

and, last but hardly least:

"Love your neighbor as yourself," [said Jesus]. "There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31)

When I next went looking for anywhere in the Bible where Jesus says anything -- and I mean anything -- about homosexuality, I learned that Jesus spent about as much time talking about gays and/or lesbians as I spend talking about button collecting and/or sea horses: none. Of course, it's entirely possible that Jesus did say crucial things about homosexuality, but that when he did (curse the luck!) no one around him just then happened to have handy an ostrich feather, sappy stick, or whatever it was they used for pens back then. Which would make sense, actually. If you've spent any time at all reading the New Testament, you know that Jesus' disciples weren't exactly Johnnies-on-the-spot. They were just normal, everyday guys.

Kind of the whole point! Jesus most surely did love him some everyday people.

Throughout the New Testament, the only kind of people with whom Jesus consistently took frightful exception were the very "teachers of the law and Pharisees" we see him dressing down in the passages above. One thing that often gets lost in our considerations of Jesus is the degree to which he is exactly the wrong person to piss off. And you don't have to spend a lot of time in the New Testament before you understand that the only kind of people who seem to ever truly anger him are those who put religious dogma above what he most stood for, which was God's compassionate will.

Around Jesus you can whine, lie, shift your loyalties, be late, be greedy, be too ambitious, be stupid, be a coward, be a hypochondriac, constantly complain, fall asleep at every wrong moment -- you can do nothing right, and it won't in the slightest way seem to offend him. But you put dogma ahead of empathy? You transmogrify God's law into a justification for denying God's grace?

Then... yikes, man. Then you've got yourself a problem no one wants.

I'm not exactly sure how we came to so often consider Jesus-formerly-known-as-The-Carpenter as a kind of a soft, dreamy, namby-pamby sort. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) But it's hard to believe it was from the accounts of Jesus we have in the Gospels. That's just not the guy on those pages.

Jesus is scary when he's riled. And the only people who rile him are those who, in His name, set themselves up as sanctimonious judgers of others.

I think I better go to the weddings of my gay friends. I'm almost scared not to. In some of his parables Jesus wasn't exactly fortune-cookie clear, but he didn't even almost waffle about his "Love your neighbor as yourself." He very explicitly declared that the "first and greatest commandment."

If there's any wiggle room there, I just don't see it.

So I'll attend my gay friends' weddings, and I'll do so in the exact same spirit I'd expect them to attend a similar function of mine. And if it happens that in the course of either of their weddings or receptions I find myself wondering if I'm doing the right thing, I'll be sure to remember the first miracle of Jesus' recorded in the Bible. It's when he turned water into wine. At a wedding.


Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


I still believe that at the next coming of Christ, she will be a People of Color transgender woman from a 3rd world country. What better way to find the true Christians.

Certainly not a 3rd world country as Uganda. Careful for what you wish!

Excellent comment but, as in all things ecclesiatical, it begs yet another probing question. What would Jesus bring for a gift? What was the Biblical equivalent of a toaster?

I was at the District of Columbia Superior Court today in downtown Washington, D.C. What a beautiful, festive atmosphere there was with over 140 same sex couples applying for their wedding licenses. There was a supportive group of more than a dozen interfaith clergy including a rabbi, Methodist, Episcopalian, MCC, Presbyterian singing outside, making it a joyful and historic day for all of America's lgbt community. A Council Member, David Catania, who spearheaded the legislative battle on this, was handing out wedding cupcakes to all.

I was married in California in 2008, and DC has recognized these marriages since July 2009. I hope that many Bilerico readers come here to get marriedd. There are civil ceremony options with our most glbt friendly judges, as well as many church options available.

Rick Elliott | March 4, 2010 2:28 AM

Guest blogger--I'm an ordained Christian minister. I've spent much time debating within myself Jesus' acceptance since I'm gay in a denomination that bans gays from leadership callings. I agree with your opinion on how Jesus would act. However, I'd like to make your same point even stronger by pointing out an important detail. Matthew's gospel has Jesus saying--the greatest and first commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The second commandment is LIKE the first--Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I emphasized LIKE because it's an important word: it's the same
Greek word that's used for SIMILAR triangles. Remember similar triangles from Geometry? triangles that have the same shape but one's a different size?
To make your point even more conclusive--The first commandment is to love God and the second bears the same shape as the first one--love your neighbor as yourself. LOVING EACH OTHER IS LIKE LOVING GOD. The two are intertwined: we love God by loving each other.
Now let me cement that truth by putting these words into context. Jesus makes it crystal clear that the whole law--from the 10 commandments through nit-picking Levitical law (that declares homosexuality as an abomination)--all of it needs to be interpreted with these two laws as a foundation. A Pharisee asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replied love of God and love neighbor. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
THAT COULDN'T BE CLEARER--SO--THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IS FULL OF BULL!
Guest Blogger, I hope you don't mind me correcting one strain of thought. However, I believe my thought makes your conclusion even stronger and more iron-clad. I believe Jesus would be at those gay weddings, making his presence known to any who wanted to know.
One final pot shot: our foe is the RELIGIOUS Right, not the CHRISTIAN Right. Religious and Christian are distinctly different concepts. Like the guest blogger wrote Jesus was angriest with the religious folks.

It blows me away to continually see the amount of hate that is thrown toward Christianity by the GLBT.

And, it’s always done by those who haven’t a clue…by those who fail to differentiate between those who make up the church, including some of its leaders, and the Christians who actually follow the teachings of Christ.

This is very nicely put.

godmademegay.com is a wonderful exploration of what the Bible says on homosexuality, written by an old school, straight married Baptist preacher. He prayerfully studied the issue with an open mind after someone in his care worried her gay son was going to hell, and reconsidered his position. His Letter to Louise is a classic. I share in case someone does not know about this resource and struggles as I did reconciling his/her Christianity with who we were made to be. Soulforce.org and Mel White helped me a lot too. Saved my life actually. Thank You Mel.

The "religious right" will usually counter the argument that Jesus said nothing about gays and lesbians (such as Paul seemed to have said in Romans 1 and 1 Cor. 6) by underscoring his quotation of Genesis (1:26-28) in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6, that "God created them male and female," and from that there are distinct sex roles that include a particular (hetero) sexuality.

Now, in the Jewish Talmudic traditions, as Daniel Boyarin discusses in "Carnal Israel," there is also an understanding of "male and female" being far less a matter of distinct genders than of a conjoined, multi-gendered being in Adam (despite the use of "them" in the text). The role of gender in the understanding of the tradition is more complex than the "religious right" (including the Jewish right) seems to understand.

Challenging these gender complementarity arguments and their connection to sexuality is essential to undercutting the "religious right's" argument that Jesus said nothing about gays and lesbians.

Have a glass of wine and dance the conga?

The Rev. Kit Wang | March 4, 2010 12:11 PM

I love this post, especially the notion of how unable we really are to do what Jesus did. I'll definitely remember the raising dead/water into wine compared w/getting up in the am and turning water into coffee!

Bless you!

He would tell you to abandon your house and partner for him if you wanted to inherit everlasting life.

Matthew 19:29 (King James Version)

29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

as an atheist who thinks Jesus was an amazing teacher, I gotta say...

he would so go to the wedding. he was the champion of the underdog- he believed in love and kindness.

it's a no brainer.

"...it's entirely possible that Jesus did say crucial things about homosexuality, but that when he did (curse the luck!) no one around him..."

And then there's the other alternative.

That he did, but it was wiped out by the developing Catholic Church.

Kind of like they did with his words that supported the idea of women as equals.

They couldn't have that threatening their power and society as a whole, now could they?

Jesus would be a great guest at any wedding! I think he would have a great time and be the life of the party! It would not matter if it was Gay marriage or not to him!

Do you mean attend a wedding while he was alive or after death as the holy spirit?. He was for the old Moses law while he walked the earth and that meant stoning to death two men who had sex and killing children who talked back to their parents. I am not going to quote the Bible here but it is all in Matthew. His death on the cross takes away the severe penalty of death for sins like homosexuality and cursing parents. His death takes their place because divine wrath for human sins was poured on him on the cross. The Catholics believe in the "Trinity" that Jesus is all three, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. How crazy is that? It's gets complicated. Jesus is sweet but God and the Holy Spirit are bad boys causing all kinds of chaos supposedly working in "mysterious ways".

>>Soulforce.org and Mel White helped me a lot too. Saved my life actually.

Now that's what I call a truly profound statement. In fact, it has the ring of TRUTH – “justice, mercy and faithfulness." And it very clearly echoes, "The greatest of these is love."

. . . so these I shall make my gospel, my new creed, and you my gifted prophet of the truth! To you I give my thanks and praise . . . for you have shared so much of yourself, in so many ways, with all of us. And I should like to pray now, a prayer of gratitude for you, for the gift of your life, one that gives meaning for us all. And now I say the triangle is complete . . .

I think the first reaction I have to this, is...

You were invited to help celebrate the union of two people who love eachother. Why do you need to read the New Testament to figure out if you should go?

what first comes to mind is the woman caught in adultry thrown at Jesus's feet, and then he said " he who is without sin throw the the first stone" and then he began to write in the sand and they all left, then Jesus said where are your accuser's.... and he went on to say neither do I accuse you. As for me I need grace and mercy so I cannot accuse. We all have our own walks to deal with.
in 1976 I had a real experience with Jesus and 2 weeks later I had another encounter. A love came over me a love and presence that was eternal and was outside what we call time, and I saw a Father figure on a throne and He said to me I love you no matter what you do. I didn't understand what He said then but I have experienced that unconditional love over the years. I have struggled over the years with my sexuallity, suppressing what was inside of me and just writing it off as sin, but in these last 6 months I have discovered that I am not alone in my transgender issues i came out of my self inficted and whole life suppressing closit. denying it does not make it go away it just denies me whole life living I look back with regret for not getting it sooner, but it took this long to get through to me. I am a woman in a mans body. This has free'ed me up. So onward I go down this road.........