Marriage: It’s not all about you

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It’s time for a long-overdo post addressing a controversial, relevant topic.  Marriage, specifically, homosexual marriage.  The recent Supreme Court decision over SCOTUS stated that a homosexual marriage recognized in one state must be recognized in all states.  In this post, I will not address the unconstitutional nature of this decision (violates the 9th and 10th amendment, in summary: individual Constitutional State laws cannot be overridden by the Federal government, and all rights not given to the Federal government are reserved for the individual States), and instead address the issue of marriage itself.

I am approaching this topic with a bias (for all you skeptics who like to make comments about bias), I am a Christian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but I am going to use as much logic as possible and examples, historical and Biblical, in this post.

I realize that the title of my post will immediately cause one to be defensive of their motives for getting married, for who gets married with selfish motives?  According to many many people, Christian or not, marriage is a partnership, right?  This is true, marriage is a partnership, but it is a special and sacred partnership.

The history of marriage starts with the Creation of the world.  God, the Creator, desired to create an organism (for lack of a better term) in his image, one who could create, have emotion, have intellect, and desire relationships.  Therefore, he created man, “in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” (Genesis 1:27).  Instead of speaking this new creature into existence, as he had for everything else, God got down in the dirt, and formed man from the dust, breathing life into his nostrils, (Genesis 2:7).  God then placed man in a beautiful garden and gave him the special job of naming all the animals and cultivating the garden (Genesis 2:8, 15, 19).

This man, God named Adam.  At this point, God had not created woman, because God wanted Adam to learn something.  As Adam was naming the animals, he noticed that they came in pairs, male and female.  He also noticed that there was not another creature like him, no creature fit to work with him, (Genesis 2:20).

Why had God not given Adam a partner?  God wanted Adam to realize that he needed a partner, to desire a relationship.  “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man,” (Genesis 2:21-22).  When God brings the woman to Adam, Adam is amazed and full of joy at this perfect partner.  Adam and his wife, Eve, enjoy the first marriage, completely without shame or dishonesty, (Genesis 2:23, 25).

A few observations from this passage.  First, relationships, especially marriage, are necessary for a society to thrive.  Adam and Eve worked together in the garden, and would eventually parent children that would marry and have their own families and populate the earth.  Secondly, Eve, the woman, was created from Adam’s rib, symbolizing her status as Adam’s partner and equal.  Eve was not created from Adam’s head, symbolizing dominance, or foot, symbolizing servitude, but from his side, a very carefully planned action by the Creator.  Finally, God did not make another man for Adam, but a woman.  This is significant in two ways. One, that God’s creation was not complete with a man, but with man and woman, woman is necessary.  Two, that though Adam and Eve were created equally, they were created with different roles and functions which compliment each other.

God created marriage for several good reasons.  Marriage was created for the procreation of children and the pleasure of the married couple.  Marriage was created to secure the family.  there are several reasons why marriage was created, but the most important reason is that it reflects the Unity of the Trinity, and this is why marriage is sacred.

Our culture has believed many lies about marriage and the family, but the biggest one is this, that marriage is about being happy.  While happiness should come with marriage, it should not be the focus of the marriage.  This sounds completely crazy in our world, but it is true.  Making happiness the focus of the marriage will ruin the marriage.

Two hard truths for me to accept as a romantically minded girl who grew up watching Disney movies were that there is not “One” out there for me and that romance is not everything.  One does not have to feel that special spark to marry someone, and there is not one person alone who can give one the perfect feeling.  While this principle seems super unromantic and boring, it actually helps marriages last.

Why does the principle of “no one true love” make marriages last?  Because feelings change.  One could feel the “spark” from another person and think that because he/she felt that it means that he/she is supposed to be with that person.  All cares are tossed to the wind, and the romantic relationship begins.  The couple lives happily ever after, right?  Wrong.  What happens when that romantic feelings fades, or one partner lets the other down?  Does that mean that he/she is not the “one” and that its time to end the marriage and move on?  That is what Hollywood would have us believe.  However, this is just not realistic.  A couple that can work through the hard days will have a better relationship afterward.  Yes, there are circumstances when one partner is abusing the other, but could that be because the relationship was initially based on a “spark” instead of on something more foundational, like trust?

That is my reasoning why feeling romantic about another person does not justify marrying them, no matter how “in love” one is.  True love is demonstrated by sacrifice, its not just a feeling.  The idea of getting married for love is actually a very modern one, and not a completely perfect idea.

For thousands of years of history, marriages were arranged.  In many pagan cultures, these were not good arrangements for the wife, who was often much younger than her husband, and usually one of several wives.  In cultures such as Mesopotamia, the husband could send his wife away just with the charge of adultery.  A man could accuse his wife of adultery, and even if the charge was false, the woman was executed.  This was a tragedy, but it was not because the marriages were arranged, but because the people who practiced this were immoral, and evil.

The ancient Hebrews also practiced arranged marriage.  However, because of the laws of Yahweh, the God of the Bible, these marriages lasted much longer and were much happier than many in other cultures.  The eighth commandment states, “You shall not commit adultery,” (Exodus 20:14), but in the Hebrew law, if a man or woman committed adultery, unlike in other cultures where typically just the wives were punished, both the proven adulterer and adulteress were put to death.  All other sexual immorality was also punished by death.  This is because God considers marriage sacred.

In the New Testament, Jesus points again to marriage as God created it, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate,” (John 10:5-9).  In this verse, Jesus talks about how special marriage is by saying that a marriage is a man and his wife becoming one flesh, and that a marriage should not be separated.

Finally, I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is special and Biblical because it reflects the relationship between Christ and the Church, (Ephesians 5:22-33).  This passage also describes the roles of the husband and wife in correlation to the Church and Christ.  The best marriages have Christ at the center, with the husband and wife serving each other, praying for each other, and sacrificing for each other.

On side note, although marriage is not for everyone, God commands that everyone who remains unmarried remain celibate.  In fact, the apostle Paul preferred to be single, because he believed that he could do more ministry that way. (1 Corinthians 7:25-40).

In conclusion, I believe that according to the scriptures, the only true marriage is that between a husband and a wife.  Marriage is a sacred covenant and should not be entered into lightly.  Romance is not everything, although it is part of the pleasure of marriage.  All in all, the unity of the marital relationship is something created by God to reflect the unity of the Trinity, thus it is sad to see it lose its value in divorces, adulteries, and other sexual immorality.  However, there is always healing for the broken, so even if a person has had a broken sexual past, he or she can find redemption at the cross, with Jesus’ sacrifice of love for all.  That is the greatest example of love in history, and it was done for every person who ever lived or will live.  That day, love won.

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The Emerging Church

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The emerging church is attempting to live in this post-modern culture by asking questions and changing the way the church worships, evangelizes, and sees community.  While some elements of this movement are positive, I believe that it is important for the emergent church to stay firm on the foundation of the Bible and salvation.

The emerging church is fond of challenging theology and basic doctrine, and the people within the “conversation” are fine with not knowing all the answers.  While it is important to question and deepen one’s faith, it is also important for one to stay within the limits of scripture in answering those questions, something that I am not sure all emerging churches do.  We cannot look to the world for answers, since it is fundamentally broken by sin.

What I appreciate about the emergent church is their emphasis on Christ being both transformational and relational, our Savior and friend.  I also love the ideas of transforming secular society and imitating Christ, which are two of the core doctrines of the emerging church.

Overall, I think that there are many good things about the emerging church, but I also think that those within this movement need to make sure that they are holding to scriptural authority and Biblically accurate theology.

The Tragedy of Feminism

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A relatively recent movement in American history has been that of the feminists.  While there have been some good things that have happened as a result of this movement, many things that have happened because of this movement are tragic.

Because of the early feminist movement, women gained the right to vote and the right to a higher education.  Clothes have become more comfortable, with pants becoming the norm.  In modern day, women from the Middle East have started to come out from oppression and find a voice, though facing much persecution.  Furthermore, feminists have attacked human trafficking, which is a wonderful thing.

However, the feminist movement has brought tragedy with it.  Through fighting for equality, feminists have decided that they should be equal to men in all ways.  Same role, same ability, same lifestyle.  As a result of this philosophy, the family has suffered.  Men and women no longer take the roles of husband and wife, but as mere business partners.

Feminists have lost sight of who women were created to be, in fact, they are trying to make women take on the roles of man.  That doesn’t mean that they want women to look or talk exactly like men, but they do want women to have the same role as men.  In reality, they are saying that the best woman is a man.  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being a feminist?

God created women to be beautiful life givers, and helpers.  Women are equal to men, not in their roles, but in their purpose.  Yes, men were created to be leaders, but that does not mean that they should oppress women.

One particular thing that feminists pressure women to do is to go have a life outside of the home.  Women have to go to college, get a high paying job, and not be hampered by children.  If women stay at home and make their house beautiful and take care of children, they are demeaning themselves and their potential.  This is vastly different from what the Bible says.

Proverbs 31 outlines what makes a woman beautiful, inside and out.  This woman is multi-talented within her home, and is a help to her husband, not just a house-keeper.  She obviously not a slave, but enjoys her job as a wife and mother.

The feminist movement is tragic because it pushes the idea that women are not good as they are, that they need to do things that God has not created them to do.

What if Jesus Said: “No Offense.”

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The other day, my family was having a conversation at the dinner table, and we joked about what the Bible would sound like if Jesus had used the phrase, “no offense,” and other American attempts to keep people from getting upset by what he said.
Here are some of the “padded” Bible verses with some of Jesus’ more offensive statements.

  • “You brood of vipers. No offense, but who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
  • Let’s say hypothetically: if your foot causes you to sin, you should, hypothetically, cut it off.”
  • No offense, but you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth, because the truth is not in him.
  • I won’t mention any names, but everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
  • No offense, but it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

These are just a few examples of how ridiculous it would be for Jesus to say “no offense.”  Hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any more ideas, please comment below.

Frozen

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After a long Christmas break, I have decided to finally write a new blog post!

Over break, my family went to see the new Disney movie, Frozen.  While it would not make my list of top three Disney movies, I really enjoyed it.  With the fantastic songs and cute characters, what I loved most about Frozen was its theme of unconditional love.

The two girls, Anna and Elsa, are sisters and best friends who grow up without a care in the world.  Elsa, who has inherited an ancient power, is able to create snow and ice.  The girls use this power in their play, until an accident happens and Elsa is forced to conceal her power.

In an effort to conceal Elsa’s gift, the king and queen send away most of the servants and keep Elsa in her room.  Anna is confused about why her sister is shut up in her room.  The movie shows the sadness and loneliness Anna feels growing up without her sister.  Although Anna is lonely and feels ignored by Elsa, she does not grow bitter.  Elsa, on the other hand, feels like no one will accept her, and isolates herself in her fear.  She hurts herself and the one closest to her, Anna, because of her fear.  In the end, love wins the day when Anna sacrifices herself for Anna.

Frozen clearly shows the Biblical theme of true love throughout the movie, exhibited by characters like Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff.  In one scene, Olaf explains to Anna that true love is putting someone else’s needs above yourself.

Furthermore, this movie shows the dangers of being desperate to fall in love, like Anna.  While a girl may be infatuated with a boy, or vice versa, that does not mean that they feel “true love.”  It takes more than a conversation or a romantic moment to truly fall in love.

In conclusion, I would say Frozen is a great family movie.  The songs, humor, and characters are all very good, especially the whimsical snowman, Olaf. 

1 John 3:16

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”