Remembering an Encounter with a Young Pastor in a Park

Several years ago my wife and I were at a park playing with our son (then just a toddler).  We noticed a younger couple having a wonderful good time playing with their child around the swings.  Somehow it happened that the two wives starting talking together as did the two husbands.  I discovered that the young man was a Lutheran seminarian or pastor in training.  At that moment I was worrying about gay marriage (this was well ahead of the controversy we are embroiled in today). The young pastor asked me, “Why are you so concerned about that?  Isn’t it evident enough that men are made for women and women for men?  Hasn’t God made it clear in His creation?”  At the time I was annoyed, but the message has remained with me.  Why should I struggle and worry about the nature of marriage?  God has made it more than clear in his design.

Today, I find myself frequently remembering what he said to me.  Marriage is changing rapidly.  Though the democratic results have largely been in favor of traditional marriage, all of us can feel the massive change that has occurred among elites and the young.  It is coming.  Marriage may well be altered for a long time to come.  And yet I remember that God has made the matter evident.  If we make this change, it will be on us and on the way we have chosen to alter our minds.

When I ponder what the young pastor said, I sometimes think that I should give up on any concept of culture war.  Why insist on something when great masses of people seem bent on going a different way?  But I can turn that thinking around to twist myself in a knot.  There have been times when great masses of people were convinced that dark men were not men.  And yet had not God made it evident that they were men?  Indeed, he had.  Anyone could see that the black man was a man and not a beast of burden.  We experienced judgment in the form of a terrible war and the subsequent malformation of our politics and culture which continues to this day.

I think we must be faithful by reasoning in the public square and by championing the truth as we have light to see it.  That is the task before us whether we prevail or not.  But fundamentally, the most important war is the one being fought by the young pastor.  That is the war of the spirit.  When our spirits are submitted to God, he will show us the way.  The question is whether we will be interested in knowing Him.