‘Important conversation’ on same-sex marriage continues tonight


By Gary Budzak

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Ohio Wesleyan University Chaplain Jon Powers said he wanted to have a community conversation for those who are “getting push back” over their views on same-sex marriage.

After having his first community conversation Tuesday evening, Powers will hold another discussion on same-sex marriage from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today in the Norman Vincent Peale Chapel on the third floor of the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.

“I did this because I am concerned,” he said.” This is an important conversation to continue, but I don’t think this is an orderly conversation.”

Powers calls the talk “Gods, Gays and the Judeo-Christian Holy Scriptures — a respectful, thoughtful, prayerful and civil conversation about ALL Biblical texts related to homosexuality in relation to the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning same-gender marriage.”

Tuesday’s discussion was in a classroom next to the chapel. Handouts were distributed to a couple of dozen people on matters such as “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags” (among them, “If ‘love wins,’ how would you define love?”); “The Varieties of Biblical Marriage” (according to the handout’s author, there are eight); and “God vs. Gays.”

Those in attendance then said a prayer by St. Augustine aloud. A set of Bible study “operating principles” were also provided, which included “We must further assume that we will arrive at different understanding of portions of Scripture and that that will not disturb God as much as it will some of us.”

The 90 minutes were dominated by a YouTube video of Danny Cortez, pastor at New Heart Community Church in California. In the video, former Southern Baptist Cortez gives his interpretation of the verses in Romans I that are often used to condemn homosexuality; explains how his thinking on the subject changed over time due to his extensive study of ancient texts; and emotionally describes what happened when he was confronted by the issue in his own family.

“I wanted to share one man’s story with you,” Powers said after the video. “Danny’s story is my story. I love his humility, his agony.”

Powers said he wants to hear all sides of the issue, but noted, “If we make it a debate, we all lose.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 26 to legalize same-sex marriage across all 50 states.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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