Monday, November 26, 2012

    1. Has the Wind really shifted?
    2. The allure of worship.
    3. Sustainability is the new black.
    4. Gluttony, or a different kind of starvation?


Friend and fellow-blogger Doug Masson quotes the second sentence of Indiana’s “Gay Marriage” amendment (“Gay Marriage” apparently will be the title as the people vote this Fall 0r next) and asks “What does this mean?”

The amendment in question reads in its entirety:

Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

I pretty well know what the first sentence means. The only thing I know about the second sentence is that we’ll find out the meaning from judges over the coming years. That is not an outcome devoutly to be hoped for.

But if I vote against the amendment, the media will chalk my vote up as supporting SSM or at least supporting leaving that door open. Neither of those would be my intent any more that voting for Gary Johnson was intended to help re-elect Barack Obama. (I held my finger to the Hoosier wind and discerned that Romney was going to get our electoral votes, which assurance spared me the hardest vote of my life.)

Thinking about Indiana’s amendment language started me wondering how the wording of various referenda around the country might have influenced voting.

  1. What if they tendentiously named the Indiana amendment “Forbidding Marriage Equality” or “Enshrining homophobia in the Constitution”? How do you think that would fare?
  2. With a lot of folks favoring domestic partnerships (as a compromise or on principle), how might the second sentence of this measure hurt the whole measure’s chance of passage?
  3. What analogies to points 1 & 2 may have skewed the voting in other states, where media report without mention of any such nuances?

I wrote a much longer blog that may or may not see the light of day. This issue emotionally is hard for me because it’s extremely polarized, and opposition to SSM is widely (and in my case wrongly) equated with hatred. Sadly, that’s promoted by SSM strategists: shout ’em down and villify them..


I think I’ve told the story of my conversion to Orthodoxy here (I’ve told it just about everywhere). But it dawned on my today that in addition to a couple of little intellectualoid epiphanies, there was the emotional draw of worship.

I don’t know where it started, but for decades and decades, even before I discovered Orthodoxy, I lamented the things that passed for worship in the Churches I attended and all others I was familiar with. Instead of hymns (i.e., directed upward toward God), we often got hortatory or touchy-feely “horizontal” songs (think “In The Garden“).

Not so in Orthodoxy. Even those rare occasions when we turn inward are pretty serious stuff. I’m pretty sure that the tacit message – “Here at last is a community that worships God” – had a lot to do with my ability to believe without fully understanding.


“Sustainability” can be just another marketing slogan. I hope you’re not shocked to hear that. Feeding chicken parts to fish on a fish farm is dubiously sustainable, as Chef Dan Barber recounts in his TED Talk, How I Fell In Love with a Fish (there’s a transcript if you don’t want to take 18 minutes to watch). But he found a 27,000-acre Spanish fish farm that appears to be the real deal.


Speaking of food, C.S. Lewis used it as an counterfactual to illustrate how human appetites could become disordered and hypertrophic.

He used as an example a hypothetical venue where people gather to watch acts wherein platters of food tauntingly presented, with the lights going off just as the lid is raised to reveal a pork chop. He suggested that such a venue would bespeak gluttony, not starvation. (The analogy to sex and more conventional strip-tease acts was what Lewis was after; he positively ridiculed the idea that England in his era was sexually repressed – starved.)

I think of Lewis’s counterfactual as I watch the Food Channel, todays equivalent of his hypothetical food-tease dance. Does the Food Channel bespeak our gluttony? Maybe. Or maybe it bespeaks our confused starvation for real food, instead of the untouched by human hands, high-fructose-corn-syrupized crap we’ve become habituated to.

Does this have a sexual parallel? Probably. Connect your own dots.

* * * * *

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

One thought on “Monday, November 26, 2012

  1. Well, FWIW, Arizona rejected the first Marriage Amendment on the ballot because of similarly vague wording that would have had unintended consequences for a large number of seniors in the state. Everybody recognized that it was the vague language that led to its defeat. The next cycle it was cleaned up and passed.

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