Posts filed under ‘marriage’
Al Mohler seems to be the go-to-fundamentalist in many Christian circles today. He has an article in Christianity Today decrying the overturning of Proposition 8 in California yesterday. Below are some quotes from the article, along with my comments.
“On page after page, Judge Walker …declares the evidence and arguments put forth by the defenders of Proposition 8 as lacking in any rational basis”
And the rational basis is what? The defenders of Proposition 8 had their day in court, they had their witnesses take the stand to make their case. And the judge found that, yes, they were indeed lacking a rational basis for their opinion. This statement only attempts to persuade based on rhetorical skill, and nothing else.
“A single unelected judge nullified the will of the voters of California as expressed through the electoral process.”
Isn’t that an established purpose of federal judges, to rule on the Constitutionality of legislation? I am not a scholar of our government, but that is my basic understanding.
“Until this verdict, such language had never appeared in a decision of a Federal court. If gender is no longer “an essential part of marriage,” then marriage has been essentially redefined right before our eyes.”
This is true, but wasn’t that true one time of race relations in the United States? It would have been true then, just as it is today. But that doesn’t make it wrong, just (perhaps) unprecedented.
“The central institution of human civilization suffered a direct hit, and its future hangs in the balance.”
That is true only if Mohler believes marriage is defined by governmental rules. But of course he would say it is defined by God as expressed in the bible, right? If so, what factual impact does this statement carry?
If one is to assault gay marriage from a religious perspective, do it from a religious perspective, and within religious institutions. The legislation in question is part of a culture war and a religious issue, but not a case of judicial incompetence or injustice.
I have added a short page to the top of this site to gather links about the role of religious belief in marriage. Please take a moment to check it out. Any feedback positive or negative would be much appreciated. Thanks!
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
2 Corinthians 6:14-15, King James Version
In reading about fundamentalism I have been better able to understand my own experiences in Christianity. But it can be upsetting when I see fundamentalist assumptions I didn’t really think about before or which did not affect me much. Fundamentalists assert their principles are universally Christian and their doctrines comprehensive, but that does not mean they really are. Like the Christian concern of being “unequally yoked” in marriage to an unbeliever.
Google the phrase “unequally yoked” and you will find web site after web site discussing the mortal danger a Christian faces if they marry an unbeliever, and web site after web site offering support for Christians who find themselves for whatever reason in this undesirable condition. Now while the verse quoted above does not speak specifically to marriage, I would agree it supports the principal that Christians are supposed to be uniquely separated and different from those around them, with obvious implications for marriage. But are there other ways of looking at this verse?
First, I will say that the verse contains a healthy dose of common sense, completely apart from any issue of biblical authority. Who would tell another person to be unequally matched in marriage? Sure, we celebrate diversity between married partners, but most marriages are built on sharing things in common.
Are shared religious beliefs alone enough for two people to be considered “equally yoked?” Consider two Christians from radically different cultures or socio-economic backgrounds. Maybe shared religious belief will provide adequate compatibility in marriage, but maybe not. What about their approaches to raising children, to politics, to women working outside the home, to caring for the poor, to watching TV, to which way the toilet paper roll goes? Perhaps being equally yoked entails more than just a faith commitment. Maybe there is more complexity and nuance to marital relationships.
Or what if beliefs change over time even if both partners remain Christian? As a recent commenter here noted: “. . . my husband and I are so far apart in our beliefs (even though we are both believers) that we might as well be atheist/Christian. His God is not the God I worship for sure. I am very progressive. He is . . . ahhhh . . . he is not.” I do not know their situation, but I would think it is likely they did not enter marriage that far apart. Or if they did, things have changed in some way since they were married.
I think the Christian emphasis on being unequally yoked in marriage exacerbates situations which are already difficult to navigate. All marriages are hard at times, and a measure of biblical condemnation does not help. Fundamentalists assert there is only one way to interpret the bible – their literalistic way, with their own sets of rules and a black and white view of the world. If one accepts the fundamentalist false dichotomy they are left either embracing that entire vision of Christianity or rejecting it all, without much middle ground. And perhaps one is then left with embracing everything about their spouse or rejecting them entirely, emotionally and intellectually if not physically.
I have rejected conservative Evangelicalism, and in doing so have rejected its fundamentalist underpinnings. I reject fundamentalist thinking regardless of what direction it comes from, conservative or liberal, theist or atheist. And I reject any assertion that my marriage is going to fail because we are unequally yoked. In fact, I think my wife and I are quite equally yoked and compatible, and I am not going to have fundamentalists define my marriage otherwise.
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever, is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).
I never read blogs until about eighteen months ago, just never got into them, now I follow a bunch. Most of them I read because I learn new things in one way or another, all but a couple are related to religion in some shape or form. The ones I tend to benefit from the most are by people who have come from a similar conservative Evangelicalism and either left or reworked their beliefs in order to stay. It can be a lonely experience, for me not because I was alienated by friends but just because they did not share a similar experience. Yes, blogs have their limitations, and “just anyone can write anything out there,” but really all forms of communication have limitations and particular uses. The Internet is pretty interesting that way, bringing together people who have very specific interests or backgrounds.
I have especially appreciated blogs where people share something of how their changing beliefs affected their friendships with others, particularly in marriage. It is helpful to know there are others finding their way through similar struggles; that usually isn’t something found in the public library. Regarding writing about marriage, The Woeful Budgie wrote a particularly poignant and heartfelt post, you can read it here. She expresses so well how hard it can be to talk about these things in a marriage.
If you can relate in some way or know of other blogs like that, please take a moment to leave a comment. And if you think it sounds strange, atimetorend recommending a post by The Woeful Budgie, don’t worry, I do too!
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to rend, and a time to sew… Ecclesiastes 3:7
I would like to introduce a new visitor to this site, she will go by atimetosew, at least for now. She is a lovely individual, a committed Christian, a mother of four beautiful children, and my long-suffering wife of over 13 years. I have been sending her individual posts for a while, but she has recently started reading here directly. Which has, to say the least, been an adventure for both of us!
If you have read anything of the angst of deconversion here, you can be assured she has suffered through as much or more than I have this past year. And we’re still in this thing together somehow. Now I get to see how much my own thoughts I write about here line up with reality… ;^)
Following is her first guest post.
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Guest post written by atimetosew (my wife).
To all of you who are faithful (or sporadic) readers of my husband’s blog, I write this post to thank you and to introduce myself. Thank you for your comments, your listening “ears”, and your support of my husband through what we would both consider a “messed up year.” ATTR was up and running some three or four months before I knew about it. Even then, my husband was reticent to share his posts with me. Ouch! That was hard for a wife to take. I remember saying, “I thought we were friends.” Yet, some things were too hard to work through at the time. Thanks for being there for him when I couldn’t.
As for blogging, Mr. ATTR has been after me for several months. I’ve been a journaler all my life, but exceedingly private about it. The thought of a worldwide community of anonymous readers is extremely intimidating. I’ll give this a try, but make no promises. I don’t think or write as well as Mr. ATTR. If you wish to follow our marital journey through this mess, my blog will be located at atimetosew.wordpress.com. I’ll warn you, though, that I’m much more of a “rambler” than Mr. ATTR. I imagine that my posts will be a bit more practical…but perhaps more whimsical as well. Time will tell.
As for me…who I am…where I belong…that is harder. Even with all we’ve been through, I still am, or would like to be, a follower of Christ. I’m on a journey to seek out what that means. It’s a journey I’ve been on for 23 years or so now. Sometimes the more I travel, the less I know. Nevertheless, I’m very seriously seeking.