Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CP 235 Eros by any other name.

CP 235 Eros by any other name.

Thinking about marriage 7.
The editor of “Leadership”, Marshall Shelley, recently wrote an editorial under the heading, “Eros by any other name”. I’m reprinting it in full.  It’s challenging for you – and for me. Enjoy both the article and, well… all things!
“Sometimes things just don’t come out right.  A pastor friend, Armin, told me about going to his first meeting of the local ministers.  He’d just moved to town, and as a courtesy, they asked him to begin with prayer. Concluding his prayer, he intended to say, “And, Lord, give us continued good success”. But it came out, “Lord, give us continued good sex”. The room froze; Armin didn’t know what to say next.  But one of the other ministers said heartily, “Amen!”
Everyone cracked up.  Armin reported, “They asked me to pray for them quite often after that”. It’s tough to talk in church about sex, even though it’s our culture’s most pervasive theme.  How can we speak willingly and well to a sexually charged culture?
John Piper and Justin Taylor, in their book, Sex and the Supremacy of God, offer a helpful insight: “The word sex in an English Bible almost always occurs in the context of sexual immorality (Greek, porneia).
You might conclude that the Bible does not have much to teach us about sex, and that when it does address sexuality, it does so only in a negative, prohibitory fashion.
But this would be a shallow conclusion.  Scripture has a lot to say about sex, because Scripture has a lot to say about everything.  So rather than searching the Bible only for the word sex, a more productive strategy would be to search for the phrase all things, since sex is obviously a subset of all things.
A sampling:
  • Sex is good. (“Everything created by God is good.” – 1 Tim 4: 4)
  • Sex is subject to Christ. (“He has put all things under his feet.” – Eph 1: 22)
  • Christ makes sex new. (“I am making all things new” – Rev 21: 5)
  • We must not be enslaved to sex (“I will not be enslaved to anything.” – 1 Cor 6: 12)
  • In this fallen age, sex is both pure and impure. (“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure.” – Titus 1: 15).

What a sermon series this would be.”
(Marshall Shelley Leadership – Winter 2006)

And a further ‘Fred’ comment on last week's piece about, “Definitely not marriageable material… yet!” It’s this. Few of us will ever be able to enter marriage with sufficient maturity to be in a blissfully happy relationship. Strangely, just about the only setting in which such maturity can be developed is marriage!

Be blessed… Fred

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CP 234 What some say about marriage...

CP 234 What some say about marriage...

Thinking about marriage 6

  • Before marriage keep your eyes wide open. After marriage keep them half shut. (Supplied by Jo)
  • For a marriage to be successful the husband should be deaf and the wife blind. (Russian proverb)
  • Marriage is not a word. It is a sentence--a life sentence. (Cynical wordsmith comedian)

  • Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are attached. (Cynical self-pitying comedian)

  • Marriage is love. Love is blind. Therefore, marriage is an institution for the blind. (Cynical one-eyed comedian)

  • Marriage is an institution in which a man loses his Bachelor's Degree and the woman gets her Masters. (Cynical over-educated comedian)

  • Marriage is a thing which puts a ring on a woman's finger and two under the man's eyes. (Lucky-to-be-alive comedian)

  • Marriage certificate is just another word for a work permit. (Cynical comedian likely-to be-worked-over)

  • Marriage is not just a having a wife, but also worries inherited forever. (Comedian who-had-better-count-his-blessings)

A snippet from Selwyn Hughes:
’After the woman was created God brought them together in a relationship of oneness.’ (Gen 2: 22)
When God brought the woman to the man there took place the world’s first wedding.  Little is said about this in Scripture but the moment must have been indefinably precious and beautiful.  It was God’s intention that just as the Trinity were experiencing ‘oneness’ in heaven, Adam and Eve were also to enjoy the same relationship on earth, and that oneness was to be a revelation of God himself.”

A comment attributed to Martin Luther:
“Marriage is God’s best way of explaining himself.”

Wise old Walter Wangerin:

“Mutuality is accomplished by two whole persons; and if each partner truly intends to be but the fraction of a relationship (thinking my whole makes up half of us) he or she will soon discover that these halves do not fit perfectly together. The mathematics can work only if each subtracts something of himself or herself, shears it off, and lays it aside forever. There will come, then, a moment of shock when one spouse realizes, ‘You don’t want the whole of me? Not the whole of me, but only a part of me, makes up the whole of us?” P 45”
(Walter Wangerin Jr., As For Me And My House: Crafting Your Marriage To Last)


Well, I hope that is enough to chew for one week.

Be blessed in Him,


Friday, January 17, 2014

CP 233 Definitely not marriagable material... yet!

CP 233 “Definitely not marriageable material – yet!”

Thinking about marriage 5.

This week one of my readers fed back to me a link to an article entitled Marriage isn’t for you. Catchy title. Attention grabbing. It’s about a young man who was in a bit of trouble in his marriage. Went to dad for advice. Dad responded, “Son, marriage isn’t for you!” My instant reaction was that that was brutally blunt on dad’s part, and not at all helpful or easy to hear, even if dad was right. If my dad had said it to me it would have been an arrow shattering a fragile heart.
Of course I needed to read on. His dad’s explanation was that he had been placed in the marriage for the sake of his wife, for his children, and for the community, and for continuation of the community, not for himself. I thought, “Heavy stuff. Sounds sort of right. Not supposed to be selfish. Not a lot of joy in it though.” (And not so impressed when it transpired that the son who wrote the original article had been married for just 18 months. I mean, what would he know? He should talk to veterans like us who have been going for 40-something years! I jest.)
So, as you see, it got me thinking… and remembering a book I have, somewhere on a dusty shelf, with the attention grabbing title of Sex and Love when you’re Single Again. That book, by Thomas F Jones, has a central, captivating idea. (Or should that be ideal.) It’s a simple statement: You shouldn’t get married again, until you don’t need to be married again. There is an undeniable truth here, and it applies also to those getting married for the first time. If I get married with the aim of having my needs met then I will be in that marriage seeking to get rather than give. I’d be in there for my sake, not for the sake of my Rosemarie. I’d be there drawing my life from her humanly limited resources. Yet, I have to admit, with a lot of regret, that is exactly what happened.
I was 21 when I married, and I had needs - deep-seated, unmet, emotional needs for security, affection and acceptance. And I loved Rose so much that I was willing to entrust her with the joyous privilege of meeting all my needs! Lucky her!
I remember, very clearly, after reading that book, (20 years married), realising an uncomfortable truth about myself. I was so ‘needy’ when I married. Therefore I brought all sorts of expectations, desires, demands and controls which imposed near impossible burdens on the beloved. I have sometimes said to myself, with not a little scorn, that, at age 21, I should have been wearing a headband or a T-shirt with the words, Definitely not marriageable material – yet”.
You know, I reckon all of us are tarred with that ‘using’ brush. It’s impossible for any of us to be clean-of-self in regard to our needs and motivations. Bringing our personal ‘self’ agendas is inevitable. We are children of Adam and Eve. The spiritual genetics play out every time. It’s about I and me, me and my, I, me, my and me.
However, however, however, undeniably, we were married. We vowed to be faithful to each other and the Lord promised to be faithful to us. We are still married. We are still ‘engaged’ if you know what I mean. We have been blessed out of our socks with a freedom to forgive which echoes his freely-given forgiveness. His grace, love and mercy has been transforming us along the way. We have learned better how to live out of our Lord’s unlimited resources. He’s been drawing out the lies we’ve carried in our heads and hearts, and establishing his truths in those vulnerable and sacred places. He’s a stake-holder and he has not let go.
My conclusion? The Lord draws us into these relationships, knowing just what we bring, who we are, and what we are like, and deliberately, and strongly, and mostly gently, keeps us there. And by his Holy Spirit he turns our marriages into little workshops as part of his transforming purposes for us. And to recall the thoughts of an American preacher, (name unremembered), whenever we experience marital Good Fridays, there will always follow marital Easter Sundays!
Be blessed in Jesus, Lord and Christ, healer and sustainer.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

CP 232 Teyve and Golda... their closing duet

CP 232 Teyve and Golda… their closing duet.

Thinking about marriage 4.
Hello friends… back on line with marriage snippets. Today’s contribution I found in a book called ‘Timely Homilies’, by Father William Bausch. It’s a series of sermons for all occasions. In a wedding message he quotes, in full, the final dialogue, between Teyve and Golda, from Fiddler on the Roof. It spoke to me because it addresses that deep inner insecurity that many of us can hardly acknowledge. There’s a strange comfort in there somewhere. Good to chew on. Here it is:

Golda, do you love me?
Do I what?
Do you love me?
Do I love you? With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town, you’re upset. You’re worn out. Go inside. Go lie down. Maybe it’s indigestion.
Golda, I’m asking you a question. Do you love me?
You’re a fool.
I know, but do you love me?
Do I love you? Twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cows. After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?
Golda, the first time I met you was on our wedding day. I was scared.
I was shy.
I was nervous.
So was I.
But my father and mother said we’d learn to love each other. So I’m now asking, Golda, do you love me?
I’m your wife.
I know, but do you love me?
Do I love him? For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought with him, starved with him. Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?
Then you do love me?
I suppose I do.
And I suppose I love you too.

My question? What does it mean to say, “I love you”?

Be blessed! Fred