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Dear John,

I fear that my reply to Lisa has moved the discussion away from the kernel of compassion and understanding which began this whole exchange. All of your comments warrant consideration, yet I believe that this is not the forum for that discourse, and that includes what I said in my reply to Lisa and even about Mr. Mouw's being empirically wrong. Let me say with the utmost sincerity that I welcome your thoughts and disagreements, and it is with great optimism that I hope you will continue to seek your own answers to these very thorny questions, seeking guidance from trusted spiritual advisers. I have found my answers. It could be argued that my answers are self-serving, and I can't deny that they are, but it's up to you to decide for yourself. And it's up to me to respect your process. We really aren't talking about the law as it pertains to marriage equality here, we're talking about the context of the open and hopefully civil exchange of ideas as that law takes shape. This is a very important distinction, and I believe it is the heart of this discussion.

There is a quote, often attributed to the Buddha, that I think works well here: "If you propose to speak, ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind." There is another from the Bible: "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7.12 ESV) I will try my best to relay this kind of equanimity before I speak.

Best wishes,