Friday, June 26, 2015

#186 - Marriage, God, and the Supreme Court

As I type this, pundits, analysts, naysayers, and average citizens are discussing the 5-to-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. My only regret about this decision is that the vote was not unanimously in favor.

As I see it, this issue was and is a matter of civil rights an equality under the law, not a religious, spiritual, or moral issue, even though many have tried to paint it using those colors. However, if the constitution precludes the establishment of a national religion, as it does, then it must also preclude using religion when making such a ruling.

A number of the posts opposing this ruling have used God and God's Word as a justification for their opposition. I assume many of them are using the King James Bible as their moral foundation. But who decided that version (or even any version of the Bible) should be the "official" word of God?

Every version of the Bible with which I am familiar is a translation. Or, more accurately, a translation of a translation of perhaps yet another translation. I am assuming that most people do not have access to the original Hebrew and Greek texts, and even those were written down mostly by people who were told something by someone else who may or may not have been around at the time the events were said to have occurred.

Also, many versions of the Bible are translated in such a way as to support and reinforce the philosophy of the church for which the version is being produced. For instance, the King James Bible was produced based on instructions from King James that the translation uphold the theology of the Church of England, which placed the monarch at the head of the church, unlike the Catholic Church, where the Pope is the head.

In addition, there are many who would argue that nearly all (if not all) translations were produced in such a way as to support the power structure of the church in place at the time (ordained clergy, the placement of men in positions of theological power, the subordination of women, etc.). Perhaps even the original scriptures were written in this way.

People are wont to cite the Word of God whenever stating an opinion on something they seem as a moral issue, forgetting that all of these texts were actually written by men. Humans are not perfect beings and are sometimes prone to error, misinterpretation, and even willful disregard of the truth. I think it is highly likely that at least some writers of the Bible were trying to cement their positions within the then fledgling church and wrote their sections in such a way as to do so.

I think those who wish to use their version of the Bible as moral guide to how they should live should be perfectly free to do so - as long as they recognize that other deeply spiritual people may not agree with their views or interpretation of God's Word.

Personally, the God I believe in is much bigger and much greater than any book purporting to be God's Word can represent. The God I believe in is one of love, not of judgment. If, as 1 John 4:18 states: "God is love," how could God be opposed to the Supreme Court ruling or, for that matter, anything that furthers the cause and the expression of love?

The Supreme Court decision will not end the debate, but I believe it is a step in the right direction. To quote from an old Pablo Cruise song, "love will find a way." Today, it did.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

#185 - The Dog Days of Summer Come Early

I know the so-called dog days of summer don't really hit until August, and summer doesn't officially start for another two weeks, but I think I'm justified in saying that this summer has been a real dog so far. Literally.

This past week, I took our ten-year old Beagle to the vet to have what was apparently a harmless growth on his back left leg removed. I say apparently harmless because the rate at which it grew in the previous seven day would have made the growth a prime target for the upcoming NBA draft.

The situation with our dog was only the latest in what has already been an expensive summer. In the last two-plus weeks we've had the air conditioner on our fifth-wheel replaced, the rear differential fluid and one of the two batteries on our F-350 truck replaced, and we are now waiting for the motor on the black tank valve to be replaced.

This latter repair, the cost of which is still unknown, caused me to cancel a planned two-week trip to Utah with my son to go visit a friend I haven't seen in six years. So the cost has not been simply financial. Hopefully I can make the trip next year.

On the bright side, Teresa and I will have more time to practice for what I hope will be another performance at this month's Idaho Songwriters Association forum. However, I won't find out if we're guaranteed a slot until the middle of the month. Fingers crossed!

At this stage of my life, I have no illusions of anything approaching stardom, but it is fun to get some of my music out there and to have it well received. I would be able to do neither without Teresa's help and encouragement. I guess she can add arranger and accompanist to her resume.

One thing I think I am learning is that, while dreams may have to change or be reshaped a bit, growing older does not mean an end to dreams or to dreaming. Nor does it mean one has to completely abandon the dreams of youth. My musical dreams began when I was 18, but I lacked the confidence, the courage, and probably the ability to pursue them at that time. 40 years later, those dreams have been modified a bit, but they are coming true. So keep dreaming!