Saturday, September 24, 2005

Marriage and a bunch of other stuff

I was just reading a blog by one of my friends about marriage. She referenced an article from an ezine and its response. (Look at all the fancy web lingo I'm using. I feel so savvy. (Sorry, a bit of my roommate's personality is seeping in.)) I would agree that marriage is something that God has planned for us, and I personally believe that most people (not everyone) who are not planning on getting married... I had a statement here, but Mike Larson just came in and we talked for a while and watched Rita decide to turn towards Louisiana instead of Texas, so I'll take a break from marriage (more like a temporary separation) to discuss (tell you what I think. I can't discuss on my own) something else. I was eating at Farmer's Market last night on the curb behind my church's both when this woman with an old roll-along suitcase asked me if I went to the Bible College. It took me a moment to realize she was talking to me, with the noise of the market and the fact that she wasn't speaking loud nor looking at me. She asked again and I said that I wasn't. I had taken a Hebrew class a few years ago. She started talking about how people say they're Christians, but they can't just believe in Jesus, they have to live like Jesus. As odd as I feel about correcting someone (anyone) who could be thirty years older than I, I couldn't let this one go. I told her that all we have to do to be saved is believe. God will change us so that we will live like Jesus, but it is not a requirement. (What kind of world would that be if that were true? We'd get the select diluted few who think they could attain it and hold contempt for the masses who knew they couldn't so wouldn't try... Sounds a bit like life in this world without Christ. There are those who try and be righteous on they're own merit and those who don' t care enough to try because they think they could never be, that God asks too much. (How long of a blog am I going to write tonight?) But look up Genesis 15:6. I dare you. (One of the first I memorized.)) She asked me if I memorized the Bible, and I told her I didn't have that kind of mind, but God teaches me from it and I understand the message. She had a problem with this. She said that God doesn't teach it, but lets us figure it out on our own. I strongly (with big muscular arms if I had them) disagree with this. And I told her so. I said that if God didn't teach it, then only the intelligent have a chance, and God loves everyone. The Bible says so. She shook her head as if I just told her the square root of pi was something other than what it actually is... a slice? I don't really know. I know that the square root of -1 is i. And that stands for... well... imaginary. We made it up. Well... not me. I didn't get that memo. Someone who probably would have told me that creativity is a waste of time probably made up the number i, which isn't a number, nor is it on topic. So the woman, I never found out her name, said that God doesn't love anyone. That's why there are the hurricanes in the South, because God isn't there. I told her that the hurricanes are a wake-up call. She said that they were to punish the prostitutes. (I'm not sure if I spelled that correctly, but I'm okay with being ignorant about that particular word.) She said that you can't love a prostitute. I told her, "Yes you can." Not that I had any particular prostitute in mind, but then I said that God does and I started naming the ones I knew from the Bible. I mentioned Rehab and the one God told Jeremiah to marry (it's actually Josiah, or Hosea or someone else but I am always getting the names mixed up), and that woman that the Pharisee's threw at Jesus' feet. (A few more I didn't think to mention are Judah's daughter and law and Brian Plunkett said that Mary Magdaline was the one that poured oil on Jesus' head and the entire nation of Israel was called a prostitute by God Himself. (on a side note, both Judah's daughter and law and Rehab are Great to the x power Grandmothers to Jesus.) (Also, I don't go about studying prostitutes in the Bible. It just so happens that God is bringing them to my memory.)) She mentioned a prostitute named Miriam, who I didn't know about that loved God, but God turned his back on. I asked Brian Plunkett if he knew who she was and he didn't know either. I told her that I didn't think that story was in there, and she said it was in the Catholic Bible. I don't know about that either, but I've never read the Apocrypha... Catholic Bible so I can't say for sure. Anyway, she wasn't going to listen to whatever I said and probably wrote me off as some young kid who didn't know what God was all about. I told her that I do know God. But she walked off as I called after her that she could too. This is sad. (Both the music that just came on as I type this and the life of this poor old woman.)
I believe what I said about the hurricane. That it is a wake-up call. Even our best engineering (we moved the Mississippi so that New Orleans could flourish as a port city. Naturally, the river changed it's course about every six years... It think. Also, we try to build levees to keep out the Gulf of Mexico from a city 8 feet below sea-level and Katrina just blew them over. We rebuild and Rita whomps them again.) has not kept out what God has spoken. Now I'm not saying that God is pronouncing judgment on New Orleans. Because as close as close to Sodam and Gorremah as it may be, He would spare it if He found even ten righteous. Even for the sake of one. He didn't bring down fire from above either, he brought something we watched move slowly from the Atlantic, over Florida, through the Gulf towards Louisiana. There were no surprises here, except the realization of how vulnerable we are. Consider us woken.
Okay, back to marriage. I'm not married, and I soon hope to be. I read the articles (or rather had them read to me by my cool computer) and I agree with most of it. That women are seeking later marriages because they want to do something important with their lives first, so they can feel special or something or like they have contributed to society. Never have I understood the verse in the Bible more (That women will be kept safe through childbearing) than I have tonight, and after I get back from the bathroom, I'll begin to explain... Unless I think of something else to address while I'm in there... you know, like a letter or something... like V. (if you don't understand, don't worry. It's not important. Just wait a little bit.)

Okay, all refreshed... Well, I've been convicted on following the Word of God (Bible) for quite a few years now (more exact, the years that I've been Christian) and one time I read about what the Bible says about the roles of women, especially of those in authority. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 says, "Women should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be kept safe through childbirth, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."
First of all, if you become upset or angry at a piece of scripture, you have bigger problems than what that particular scripture is talking about. You are upset or angry because there is a rift in your relationship with God. If your relationship with God was really as good as you say it is, you would learn in quietness and full submission. You would say, Yes, Lord. to anything that God told you, no matter what current culture and society says, no matter how much you understand, no matter how wrong you think it is, the fact that God says it should be enough. If you are not at this point, arguing over this point is of no use (God also says not to argue, or complain.) You should reread the Gospels and start over, building your relationship on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ and what He gave for you on the cross. Just as a broke marriage needs to go back to the beginning, to the decision of spending your lives together, to the moment of saying yes to the proposal, and build again from there, with the truth that you've both promised to the wedding where you declared publicly your lives as one and up to where it fell apart. Go back and be romantic. Chase and be chased. Pursue and be pursued. Divorce is not an answer, and no matter how you think you failed God, He will never never never divorce you.
I'm not going to expand on women's roles in ministry tonight, but I will take the time to write about marriage in relation to me. I am not married, in case you forgot when I said it last time, pages ago, or thought that in the time it took me to write this, that a beautiful woman leapt into my arms while I was on my way back from the bathroom and we tied the knot... with my shoelace so I wouldn't trip. I want to be married. Maybe not tonight, but I don't want to wait until I'm a few decades earlier. I like how the ezine took a stand on saying that God wants people to get married. He does. How else do you expect Him to relate the love He has for us if not through marriage and children? Those are His greatest examples of His love and we willingly resist them as if they were an illness. I was going to say the plague, but no one really fled from the plague because they didn't know what caused it. Marriage is one of God's greatest gifts and I'm repeating myself for both emphasis and because it's past two in the morning and I've been going to work early this week and I'm tired. (I'm not complaining, just explaining.) So who do we think we are? We who say, I'm not going to take that lesson from You, God. I know enough to keep me happy. We don't. There is always more that we want than what we have. We worry about keeping what we have, or about losing it. We worry. Worry is the absence of trust. Fear is the absence love, just as darkness is the absence of light, and hell is the absence of God. That's why this world isn't hell. Because God's still here. Loving you, loving me. And as long as I walk on this Earth, He will be here. Not because I command Him, but because He has promised that He will never depart from me. You who know me, you know that calm familiar warm sense of comfort you feel when I'm there? It's God, not me. Those of you who are not walking with the Lord, you know that awkward scolded caught stealing feeling you get when I'm there? That's Him, not me.
I can't wait until I'm married. But I'll have to, because I'm not. I dream about having kids and a wife to share them with. I think ahead to the future, when my fingers curl around another's hand, and a head rests on shoulder. I pray that I'll be able to work hard enough that my wife, whoever she is, won't have to work, and even if that means we have to be poor, she won't work and she'll spend her time ministering and caring for others. I pray for God to give her a free schedule so that she never feels busy or overwhelmed and she would live life as if it were in slow-motion, always making time for everyone of her needs. I pray that I would love her the way I'm supposed to and that I would be a good leader for her and the family to follow. I pray that I handle her submission with gentleness without exuding superiority, but instead I would look at her submission everyday and be reminded to submit myself the same way to God.
I don't care what society says about strong women. I want one who is strong in Christ and will give up everything she has worked for for the gifts that God has laid about her. I'm in love with this dream girl and I'm waiting for God to show me who she is so that I can pursue her, because I know that I have to, and in that area, I pray for courage, because all my pursuits, if you will call them that, up to this point would have not beaten neither the turtle nor the hare in a foot race. And if I have to be single for the rest of my life waiting, I would rather do that then be any less of a man to my wife than what God has called me to.
So how old should you be when you get married? The answer is easy. Old enough to base your marriage on Christ and not emotion, and young enough to live like a child of God with whomever God gives us. This is a long blog, and if you've gotten this far, I would like to offer you a popsicle. I don't have any popsicles, but if I did, I would offer them to you.


Kristen said...

Very interesting read.

About the response to the articles. I agree totally about women's roles (this alone has taken some time to get to), but I disagree as to our struggles with the Bible.

I think that if scripture is hard for us to take in or even understand, that we should wrestle with God about it. Sometimes it takes rebuilding a foundation, and most often it takes revelation, but it should be to the degree that God intends. Sometimes it takes seeing lives lived out in front of you, sometimes it is the singing of a bird, but God has so many ways of showing that His word is true and its application, that we can't assume that if we struggle with the meaning of a verse that it must equate with unbelief (which is indirectly supposed).

Thanks for taking a stand for lots of issues, and I'm sure that God will give you wisdom about the future things in life :D

Jonathan Dow said...

Perhaps it's a difference of personality, but I don't see any good coming out of wrestling with God. I would rather sit and listen, ask questions and understand than try to figure things out on my own. I shouldn't have to understand the reason for something to obey. That's what it means to me to trust God. To do what He says simply becasue He says it.