Thursday, May 10, 2012

When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite

Of course, these early Christians weren't "real" Christians -- in the same way that Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan no longer count as a "real" conservatives.

anthropologist: When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite

Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.

Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the "Office of Same-Sex Union" (10th and 11th century), and the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century).

These church rites had all the symbols of a heterosexual marriage: the whole community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar was conducted with their right hands joined, holy vows were exchanged, a priest officiatied in the taking of the Eucharist and a wedding feast for the guests was celebrated afterwards. These elements all appear in contemporary illustrations of the holy union of the Byzantine Warrior-Emperor, Basil the First (867-886 CE) and his companion John.

Such same gender Christian sanctified unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12thand/ early 13th century, as the chronicler Gerald of Wales (‘Geraldus Cambrensis’) recorded.

Same-sex unions in pre-modern Europe list in great detail some same gender ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents. One Greek 13th century rite, "Order for Solemn Same-Sex Union", invoked St. Serge and St. Bacchus, and called on God to "vouchsafe unto these, Thy servants [N and N], the grace to love one another and to abide without hate and not be the cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God, and all Thy saints". The ceremony concludes: "And they shall kiss the Holy Gospel and each other, and it shall be concluded".


Kevin Scheunemann said...

Interesting you call the people in these examples "Christians".

Can you be "Christian" while willfully sinning against Christ?

When I purposely, willfully, and intentionally choose sin, am I living in Christ?

Vince Marolla said...

Kevin, believe it or not, these are your Christian forefathers and foremothers. They practiced a Christianity that is open and accepting. If you say they are not Christian, then you have excluded centuries of people from Christianity. Many Christian denominations see homosexuality different than your denominations narrow definition. They are Christian.

I know you find that difficult to accept. But the God I know through my faith is a God of love and acceptance who seeks to bring people to him and to eternal life, not a God of judgement who seeks to exculde like the God you seem to know.

Kevin Scheunemann said...


So as a Christian in your world, I could willfully, and intentionally, embrace sin and still be a Christian?

There are no limits on sinful behavior?

So after drinking all night, participating in the A.M. orgy, stealing from my neighbor, and neglecting my kids, while skipping church for the 48th could start those sins all over the next day and consider themselves Christian?

Intentionally embracing sin would not bring about God's judgment?

Sin excludes one from the presence of the loving God you described. Christ forgives that sin, with repentance for that sin. However, if you willfully intend to commit that sin again and again...are you repentant and forgiven?

The answer is "no", you are not repentant, therfore not forgiven, especially if you do not consider the action a sin.

Sin draws you away from Christ, not closer to Christ. Strong faith in Christ compels you to want to reject sin, not redfine or rationalize it.

Vince Marolla said...

Kevin, I know you believe in your heart you are correct. My question to you is simple, what Mark shows us is the history of the early Christian Church which had a rite for the blessing of same sex unions. They interpreted the same Bible you read -- the cannon of the scripture was set in the 3rd century -- to say that same sex unions were acceptable to God and therefore not sinful.

If you are saying that this is sinful, you are saying that the Christian Church misinterpreted scripture for the first 12 centuries, at least, of its existence.

Kevin Scheunemann said...


Any segment of the earthly church that willfully, and intentionally, embraces sin rejects Christ.

That's why the word "Christian" is misused in this post.

A true Christian is compelled by faith, and the love of Christ, to want to reject sin, not embrace it.

It's clear the biblical cannon, both Old and New Testament, views homosexuality as a sin.

This debate has jumped the shark. So this is not about the (in)tolerance of non-Christians engaging in this behavior?...Christians are now supposed to re-write the Bible and accept sin, a sin which draws one away from Christ?

Mpeterson said...

Selling bad food to children is a sin, isn't it? And then justifying your actions because greed is good, would also be a sin.

I'm not sure you should cast the first stone in this conversation Kev. Besides, it's pretty clear at this point that your theology is based on what you've heard on Fox News rather than on a careful reading of the Bible. Besides, I thought you were a Randian Atheist.

You're just in here trolling to amuse yourself.

So, go and sin no more young man. There's still time left for you to join us on the right side, rather than the Right Side, of both politics and Christianity.

Vince Marolla said...

So let me understand you Kevin, in the first 12 centuries of its existence, the Christian Church -- there was basically only one as none of the splits had happened -- viewed homosexuality as something to be celebrated even to the point of providing a rite of union.

You are saying that the Christian Church during this period was sinful and not following God's Word?

And please, if you choose to answer, none of your crap about sin as rejecting God. This is a simple question -- the historic Christian Church as pointed out by Professor Peterson celebrated homosexual marriage. Yes or no, were they wrong?

Kevin Scheunemann said...

I sell nothing but good food.

If you were going for the healthy vs. unhealthy argument, that depends on which latest alleged academic expert/egghead weighs in on dairy products.

USDA says dairy, in moderation, is good for you. USDA even reccomends dairy in your diet.

You friends in PETA call dairy products "liquid meat".

I don't share the view of your radical left wing PETA friends on dairy consumption. PETA does not boast Christianity as its prime motivation, so I would not take too much advice from PETA very seriously.

If something i sell ever turns out to be "bad", or an unacceptable product, we replace, refund, and fix the issue at no charge. Can we do that with professors in the UW-system?

I got a long list of professors at UW-Milwaukee that should be replaced for product promise defects.

And another thing,

Working hard, 7 days a week, to provide a product to someone, who is willing to buy that product is not "greed".

"Greed" are those looking to take the earnings of those that work hard WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION. "Greed" also takes the form of coveting the earnings of those that worked hard, saved, and invested.

I find that you do a lot of coveting on your blog.