The challenge at the end of Acts

Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented quarters and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete boldness and without restriction.
Acts 28:30-31

Paul lived the gospel with no restrictions.

He only had a rented house and didn’t own his own shelter. He was on house arrest and was limited in his ability to move about or communicate freely. He had limited potential to earn finances. But none of that deterred him. The picture painted in this last passage of Acts tells us quite the opposite. This is a sobering reminder that many of the barriers we’ve placed before the gospel are self-placed.

Job – God’s sovereignty in suffering

He said, “Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!” In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety. Job 1:21-22

This passage follows Job’s extravagant outburst of sorrow. He tore his robe, shaved his head and threw himself face down to the group. Imagine a child in a shopping aisle in tantrum. This picture frames his words. In his anguish, he philosophises with a sense of symmetry:

  • We came with nothing and we leave with nothing
  • God gives and God takes away

Job’s rollercoaster life illustrates the very things that our sovereign God gives and takes away – life and everything in it while his spoken analogy of birth and death reflects the sovereignty of God giving and taking away perfectly. This illustrates 2 things for us:

  • Nothing in this life is permanent – the gift of life (on this earth) is transient
  • Nothing is outside of God’s control – the sovereignty of God is all encompassing (Job 42:2)

These are 2 very important concepts that Job teaches us. But lets not forget the third – God’s plan is good:

So the Lord restored what Job had lost after he prayed for his friends and the Lord doubled all that had belonged to Job… So the Lord blessed the second part of Job’s life more than the first.
Job 42:10, 12 (see 10-17)

God wants good for us. The ultimate goodness that God wants for us is not comfort, health and wealth because these things are all transient but Himself – everlasting, all powerful and all good. Sometimes God does bring goodness in this life as is the case in Job but we can be sure He brings it in the next. Notice that although it says that all these good things are restored to him “after” or “when” he prayed for his friends, it was not because of Job’s actions. God’s goodness is not shown here to be dependant on our action.

Job’s exclamation is entirely appropriate: “May the name of the Lord be praised!” This is not fatalistic “que sara sara” exclamation, this is “praise God” active acknowledgment for His gift (transient it may be), his sovereignty and his goodness. Job even before God restored him had already found the ultimate goodness – God himself.

Learning from others mistakes

I was reading this morning (http://marcronez.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/city-harvest-case-part-5-chcs-crossover-or-sun-hos-crossover/) and realised that we haven’t spoken too in-depth about transparency and the associated risk and risk strategies. (And here is my governance/public servant brain speaking: these should be documented as well.)

Read: Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 13:10; 15:22; 19:20-21; 20:18. And probably Rehoboam’s story.

Risk strategies is not just financial. So far, the only things we’ve spoken about is: “what if we can’t get 30 people” or “what if sara and may get pregnant”. We’ve looked at the risks to our product but not the risk in our process.
– What are things that we are doing now that can be perceived in the wrong light/will be hard to explain? / Will what we are doing be seen in good light by all?
– What is our plan Bs for each milestone? Are we placing all our eggs in one basket? Are there different ways of doing things with lower risk that we need to explore or keep the door open for?

Regarding transparency:
– Is the means to reaching the goal appropriate to the goal? Can our process and rationale be scrutinised by a third party?
– Have we included nay-sayers in our planning and rationalising process or is it all yes-men? What have we done about the words of nay-sayers?
– Who are our advisors? After reflecting on our advisor’s words, do we go back to our advisors and discuss what we think about those words?
– Have we been transparent with our current leaders/mentors/advisors?

The author of the article had difficulty separating God’s call from selfish human desires by examining the church’s actions. And honestly, as living breathing people, examining our ourselves is hard. Thats what advisors are for. Ps Kong Hee had advisors – good and respected advisors. Did the advisors not pick out these blind spots (which makes them not so great advisors) or did Ps Kong dismiss/rationalise away anything perceived as against the agenda. The problem is that in Christiandom, once someone says “God said so” or “this is God’s call”, others often back off with their disapproval and/or they can’t say anything else. That is a challenge to the kind of transparency, openness and authenticity we strive for.

The same set of questions above need to be asked of our own lives as well – our ministry is an extension of our life. God’s call, confirming prophetic words, encouragement from advisors is all good but handled without wisdom (and plain common sense) will jeopardise the call.

The Mystery Of The Kingdom

The Parable of the Growing Seed
He also said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who spreads seed on the ground. He goes to sleep and gets up, night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. By itself the soil produces a crop, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. And when the grain is ripe, he sends in the sickle because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

There is a certain mystery about the kingdom – about the sowing, growing and harvest. Something that is beyond human comprehension and observation. The work of God that happens behind all that we can see, hear and do will always remain a mystery.

A clear reminder that I don’t know it all and I never will.

Useful vs Precious

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
John 6:26-27

Three weeks ago, Dennis and I watched a John Piper sermon which he preached to death row prisoners. At first, I deeply respected the tone which he approached the gravity of their situation and sought to humbly encourage them. By the time he had finished preaching, I knew it was for me.

Two weeks ago, two lives hung in the balance- a new one, which ended, and an old one, who praise God, lives on.

In that precious and difficult time, I rejoiced that God gave both the opportunity and also the victory all in one fell swoop, for the sole purpose of glorifying himself.

God is a supremely and unshakeably happy God, says Piper. Having been so happy, he made man, so he could share what he loved so much with us- relationship. God didn’t make us to be useful to him. I know this, because he was fully content in himself before he made anything. So we weren’t needed to make life easier, or as pawns. We were made to be valued.

God also made us in His image, that we should be able to value him too (Gen 1:27)- in having His image, he wanted us to be like him and to love him and the others around us with a Christ-likeness. This is what gives him glory- that we value him for who he is and what he is, and also seek to emulate it.

God made it clear in John 6 that he didn’t come to be useful. We know this ourselves. We don’t like people who like us for what we can do for them or for our money or status. We don’t like being taken for-granted. We seek to find deep relationships where our value is unconditional.

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:44-46

I know that we are not out to take Jesus for-granted, and we are not in a relationship with him in order to milk the benefits. However, there are times in my life where something happens and I realise that part of me does value Jesus for what he does for me. When I turn my face from him when I’m angry, or when I question why I suffer, or when I am afraid to surrender all that belongs to me because I don’t know what God will do with it, it hits me. I’m not trying to abuse God, but somewhere along the line- is He precious enough to me that I would give it all up? Everything? And be completely okay with it? Oh, that’s something I want so much.

In this day and age there is a lot of prosperity being preached in the church. Yet, we will never have had the chance to hang on to Jesus like Job did if we do not look at our rough patches with joy enough to say, “here’s my chance!” I’m not asking you to wallow in suffering and self pity and burden, nor does this mean we shouldn’t fight very hard for victory in Christ. However, let’s not deny that God still lets curveballs happen to us in life.

Here’s the secret- if I let Jesus be precious, treasured, and valuable above all else, I will in my joy find the sacrifice of valuing him quite a lot more pleasant than my flesh thinks it will be.

I’d like to encourage you- the times that you have pulled through tough patches, and the times where you hung on tight and called God good anyway: these times make him so supremely happy because you were able to value what is above all things valuable. And this gave God the glory he so desired. In going through that rough patch, you made Him happy, and also fulfilled a fundamental purpose in life- to give him glory.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21

To bear arms

When it came time to bear arms
Against mine enemy
The truth of my mortality
I resisted.

Bear resilience! Take up arms!
The fight already
In my mind begun
But then I saw.

Within the ugly crevice of mine foe
A truth
It’s maker, His face divine
And a dawning realization.

The face of its maker, also mine.
Then all resistance yielded
That in my humanity
The Glory of His deity- eternal.

There is no need for more.

Eloisa to Abelard

In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav’nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
What means this tumult in a vestal’s veins?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love! — From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.

Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal’d,
Nor pass these lips in holy silence seal’d.
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where mix’d with God’s, his lov’d idea lies:
O write it not, my hand — the name appears
Already written — wash it out, my tears!
In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.

Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains
Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:
Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn;
Ye grots and caverns shagg’d with horrid thorn!
Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey’d virgins keep,
And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep!
Though cold like you, unmov’d, and silent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
All is not Heav’n’s while Abelard has part,
Still rebel nature holds out half my heart;
Nor pray’rs nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
Nor tears, for ages, taught to flow in vain.

Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes.
Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!
Still breath’d in sighs, still usher’d with a tear.
I tremble too, where’er my own I find,
Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o’erflow,
Led through a sad variety of woe:
Now warm in love, now with’ring in thy bloom,
Lost in a convent’s solitary gloom!
There stern religion quench’d th’ unwilling flame,
There died the best of passions, love and fame.

Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine.
Nor foes nor fortune take this pow’r away;
And is my Abelard less kind than they?
Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare,
Love but demands what else were shed in pray’r;
No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
To read and weep is all they now can do.

Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
Ah, more than share it! give me all thy grief.
Heav’n first taught letters for some wretch’s aid,
Some banish’d lover, or some captive maid;
They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires,
The virgin’s wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.

Thou know’st how guiltless first I met thy flame,
When Love approach’d me under Friendship’s name;
My fancy form’d thee of angelic kind,
Some emanation of th’ all-beauteous Mind.
Those smiling eyes, attemp’ring ev’ry day,
Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day.
Guiltless I gaz’d; heav’n listen’d while you sung;
And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
From lips like those what precept fail’d to move?
Too soon they taught me ’twas no sin to love.
Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran,
Nor wish’d an Angel whom I lov’d a Man.
Dim and remote the joys of saints I see;
Nor envy them, that heav’n I lose for thee.

How oft, when press’d to marriage, have I said,
Curse on all laws but those which love has made!
Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies,
Let wealth, let honour, wait the wedded dame,
August her deed, and sacred be her fame;
Before true passion all those views remove,
Fame, wealth, and honour! what are you to Love?
The jealous God, when we profane his fires,
Those restless passions in revenge inspires;
And bids them make mistaken mortals groan,
Who seek in love for aught but love alone.
Should at my feet the world’s great master fall,
Himself, his throne, his world, I’d scorn ’em all:
Not Caesar’s empress would I deign to prove;
No, make me mistress to the man I love;
If there be yet another name more free,
More fond than mistress, make me that to thee!
Oh happy state! when souls each other draw,
When love is liberty, and nature, law:
All then is full, possessing, and possess’d,
No craving void left aching in the breast:
Ev’n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part,
And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart.
This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be)
And once the lot of Abelard and me.

Alas, how chang’d! what sudden horrors rise!
A naked lover bound and bleeding lies!
Where, where was Eloise? her voice, her hand,
Her poniard, had oppos’d the dire command.
Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain;
The crime was common, common be the pain.
I can no more; by shame, by rage suppress’d,
Let tears, and burning blushes speak the rest.

Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day,
When victims at yon altar’s foot we lay?
Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell,
When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell?
As with cold lips I kiss’d the sacred veil,
The shrines all trembl’d, and the lamps grew pale:
Heav’n scarce believ’d the conquest it survey’d,
And saints with wonder heard the vows I made.
Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew,
Not on the Cross my eyes were fix’d, but you:
Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,
And if I lose thy love, I lose my all.
Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
Those still at least are left thee to bestow.
Still on that breast enamour’d let me lie,
Still drink delicious poison from thy eye,
Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press’d;
Give all thou canst — and let me dream the rest.
Ah no! instruct me other joys to prize,
With other beauties charm my partial eyes,
Full in my view set all the bright abode,
And make my soul quit Abelard for God.

Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care,
Plants of thy hand, and children of thy pray’r.
From the false world in early youth they fled,
By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led.
You rais’d these hallow’d walls; the desert smil’d,
And Paradise was open’d in the wild.
No weeping orphan saw his father’s stores
Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors;
No silver saints, by dying misers giv’n,
Here brib’d the rage of ill-requited heav’n:
But such plain roofs as piety could raise,
And only vocal with the Maker’s praise.
In these lone walls (their days eternal bound)
These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown’d,
Where awful arches make a noonday night,
And the dim windows shed a solemn light;
Thy eyes diffus’d a reconciling ray,
And gleams of glory brighten’d all the day.
But now no face divine contentment wears,
‘Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears.
See how the force of others’ pray’rs I try,
(O pious fraud of am’rous charity!)
But why should I on others’ pray’rs depend?
Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend!
Ah let thy handmaid, sister, daughter move,
And all those tender names in one, thy love!
The darksome pines that o’er yon rocks reclin’d
Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind,
The wand’ring streams that shine between the hills,
The grots that echo to the tinkling rills,
The dying gales that pant upon the trees,
The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze;
No more these scenes my meditation aid,
Or lull to rest the visionary maid.
But o’er the twilight groves and dusky caves,
Long-sounding aisles, and intermingled graves,
Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws
A death-like silence, and a dread repose:
Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
Shades ev’ry flow’r, and darkens ev’ry green,
Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,
And breathes a browner horror on the woods.

Yet here for ever, ever must I stay;
Sad proof how well a lover can obey!
Death, only death, can break the lasting chain;
And here, ev’n then, shall my cold dust remain,
Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
And wait till ’tis no sin to mix with thine.

Ah wretch! believ’d the spouse of God in vain,
Confess’d within the slave of love and man.
Assist me, Heav’n! but whence arose that pray’r?
Sprung it from piety, or from despair?
Ev’n here, where frozen chastity retires,
Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now turn’d to Heav’n, I weep my past offence,
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
‘Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
And love th’ offender, yet detest th’ offence?
How the dear object from the crime remove,
Or how distinguish penitence from love?
Unequal task! a passion to resign,
For hearts so touch’d, so pierc’d, so lost as mine.
Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
How often must it love, how often hate!
How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain — do all things but forget.
But let Heav’n seize it, all at once ’tis fir’d;
Not touch’d, but rapt; not waken’d, but inspir’d!
Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself — and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
“Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;”
Desires compos’d, affections ever ev’n,
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav’n.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whisp’ring angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th’ unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes,
For her the Spouse prepares the bridal ring,
For her white virgins hymeneals sing,
To sounds of heav’nly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.

Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
Far other raptures, of unholy joy:
When at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
Fancy restores what vengeance snatch’d away,
Then conscience sleeps, and leaving nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
Oh curs’d, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
Provoking Daemons all restraint remove,
And stir within me every source of love.
I hear thee, view thee, gaze o’er all thy charms,
And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
I wake — no more I hear, no more I view,
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
I call aloud; it hears not what I say;
I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
Alas, no more — methinks we wand’ring go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other’s woe,
Where round some mould’ring tower pale ivy creeps,
And low-brow’d rocks hang nodding o’er the deeps.
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
And wake to all the griefs I left behind.

For thee the fates, severely kind, ordain
A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;
Thy life a long, dead calm of fix’d repose;
No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows.
Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow,
Or moving spirit bade the waters flow;
Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiv’n,
And mild as opening gleams of promis’d heav’n.

Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread?
The torch of Venus burns not for the dead.
Nature stands check’d; Religion disapproves;
Ev’n thou art cold — yet Eloisa loves.
Ah hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn
To light the dead, and warm th’ unfruitful urn.

What scenes appear where’er I turn my view?
The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue,
Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
Thy image steals between my God and me,
Thy voice I seem in ev’ry hymn to hear,
With ev’ry bead I drop too soft a tear.
When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight,
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown’d,
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.

While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
Kind, virtuous drops just gath’ring in my eye,
While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
And dawning grace is op’ning on my soul:
Come, if thou dar’st, all charming as thou art!
Oppose thyself to Heav’n; dispute my heart;
Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes
Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears;
Take back my fruitless penitence and pray’rs;
Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode;
Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!

No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate’er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view!)
Long lov’d, ador’d ideas, all adieu!
Oh Grace serene! oh virtue heav’nly fair!
Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care!
Fresh blooming hope, gay daughter of the sky!
And faith, our early immortality!
Enter, each mild, each amicable guest;
Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!

See in her cell sad Eloisa spread,
Propp’d on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
And more than echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watch’d the dying lamps around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
“Come, sister, come!” (it said, or seem’d to say)
“Thy place is here, sad sister, come away!
Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray’d,
Love’s victim then, though now a sainted maid:
But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep,
Ev’n superstition loses ev’ry fear:
For God, not man, absolves our frailties here.”

I come, I come! prepare your roseate bow’rs,
Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flow’rs.
Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
Where flames refin’d in breasts seraphic glow:
Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay,
And smooth my passage to the realms of day;
See my lips tremble, and my eye-balls roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Ah no — in sacred vestments may’st thou stand,
The hallow’d taper trembling in thy hand,
Present the cross before my lifted eye,
Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
Ah then, thy once-lov’d Eloisa see!
It will be then no crime to gaze on me.
See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
Till ev’ry motion, pulse, and breath be o’er;
And ev’n my Abelard be lov’d no more.
O Death all-eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when ’tis man we love.

Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy,
(That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy)
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown’d,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round,
From op’ning skies may streaming glories shine,
And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.

May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o’er,
When this rebellious heart shall beat no more;
If ever chance two wand’ring lovers brings
To Paraclete’s white walls and silver springs,
O’er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
And drink the falling tears each other sheds;
Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov’d,
“Oh may we never love as these have lov’d!”

From the full choir when loud Hosannas rise,
And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye
Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
Devotion’s self shall steal a thought from Heav’n,
One human tear shall drop and be forgiv’n.
And sure, if fate some future bard shall join
In sad similitude of griefs to mine,
Condemn’d whole years in absence to deplore,
And image charms he must behold no more;
Such if there be, who loves so long, so well;
Let him our sad, our tender story tell;
The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost;
He best can paint ’em, who shall feel ’em most.

By Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744)

Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010

6 March 2012

Committee Secretary
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Australia

 

Dear Committee,

RE: Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010

I wish to make my views about the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 known. I believe that this move toward marriage equality is fundamentally flawed. Same sex couples do not have the right to be married and I argue that this is not because they are discriminated against. To allow same sex marriage is to disadvantage our children.

Marriage is by definition a voluntary union between a man and a woman. This definition was present in multiple ancient civilisations and is still relevant today. The reason for this definition is obvious – it is biological. The union of a man and woman is able to produce children by completely natural means. I am a Christian and I am a Creationist. I believe that God created man and woman and the design of procreation between a man and woman is intentional. God defines a union to be between a man and a woman and He called it Marriage. It is fundamentally a God defined term – something that we should not seek to redefine.

If I was an Evolutionist, this bill would be just as flawed. Procreation is one the most basic functions in any life form. All plants and animals are able to procreate and the ones that cannot or will not become extinct rather quickly. Such a move to redefine marriage is against evolution. It does not inhibit our ability to procreate but it redefines a family unit to be a unit that cannot procreate biologically. Indeed, a family unit is not defined by its ability to procreate, but it certainly is a basic function. Same sex marriage is against progress, in fact, it is evolutionary regression.

Please excuse my crude analogy but I feel that it describes the situation very well. Trying to change the definition of marriage can be likened to changing the definition of a female toilet. Female toilets were designed to be used by females. We are not discriminating against men for not wanting them in female toilets. We are not discriminating against men for not having a urinal in female toilets. It is simply by definition and design a female toilet. It is possible for men to use a female toilet, but should they? Absolutely not. We can very quickly see that it is not a matter of rights or discrimination. In the same way, we are not discriminating against same sex couples; we are simply upholding the definition and design of marriage.

The inherent value of marriage is not only in its commitment, more importantly it is in it’s make up. A marriage is made up of a man and a woman, and there is inherent value in that for children. Children have the right to learn in a biologically diverse environment, from both a father and a mother. Men are often naturally more masculine and women are naturally more feminine. This shows in our bodies, our minds, our actions, our habits – our whole lives. These are distinct differences that have its biological roots in our hormones. This is not traditional thinking; this is natural and normal thinking. Children have the right to grow up with the knowledge of such a distinction and to form their identity from this understanding.

A child that does not have such an environment to grow up in is disadvantaged. This is not to say that they cannot rise above the situation and grow to be people who contribute greatly to society, but they have the best chance of doing so in a correctly defined family unit. To favour same sex marriage is to oppose the rights of children.

I have friends who are gay and I do not treat them any differently. They are friends whom I work with and live with, have drinks with, laugh and cry with. I do not hate gay people or gay couples. I want to see them enjoy life as much as any other couple does, but never at the expense of other’s rights. That is why we should take care of our natural environment. The environment, though not an entity of its own, has the right to be protected for our future generations. Marriage, although not an entity of its own, has the right to protect and maintain its definition.

I hope that you will consider the points I have made regarding the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010. Marriage by definition excludes same sex couples and this is not discrimination. Keeping the current definition of marriage gives the best possible environment for our future generations and protects their rights. I firmly believe that such a bill should never be passed.

 

Sincerely,

Dennis Tng