Saturday, May 12, 2007

Life: Striving for the ideal and living in reality

I occasionally check Boundless Line as they offer up informative little items about the culture from a Christian perspective, challenging posts to push me to examine my life and indeed, sometimes, they just want to stir up a little argument so people polish their thinking about a tough subject.

One thing they come back to every so often is the fight over whether or not marriage is normative and the ideal.

My own thinking on this subject is a work in progress. What I see is two high ideals from the wise counsel of the Scriptures.

I read about the high ideals of Christian marriage described in Ephesians 5 which is part of a beautiful and practical call to walking in love.

There are also high ideals put forward for those who are single in 1 Corinthians 7 in Paul's discussion of singleness and marriage and how the bottom line is devotion to the Lord.

So I appreciate that Mohler and Piper are highlighting those ideals.

However, having said that, I really would like to also hear about how to live in the reality that we often fall short of those ideals?

In my observation I see six situations which really need to be addressed by these high powered preachers. Yes, promote the ideal but dog gone it (we run a family friendly blog here!) throw some stuff down to where the cows can get at it!

(1) I see married folks who suddenly realize after the honeymoon period is over that they have gotten themselves into something a lot harder than they expected. Some of them are going to be able to make it through the rough spots while others are going to land on the rocky shores of divorce. They need practical help to make it through that period of time where they don't know if they are going to make it!

(2) There are married people who are on their second and sometimes third marriages and in some cases they are getting it right this time around but some are making a mess of it again. What advice is Mohler and Piper going to give to them? What kind of preaching will help the person who has botched one, two or three marriages already?

(3) What kind of teaching is going to help those who have or are contemplating marrying outside the faith? Beyond preaching, just say no, can they offer something more?

(4) Among single folks, some in the eagerness to get married some people are rushing into it. What do you, Mohler and PIper, have to say to them?

(5) Let's hear some encouragement for the single person who wants to get married, is trying to do the dating thing right and is sitting in the pew feeling, I'm really trying to exhibit godly initiative and responsiveness but my heart keeps getting torn to pieces with disappointments. I feel like I'm damaged goods or expired goods.

(6) What do Mohler and Piper have to offer to the Christian in situation 5 so long that they reach situation 6 of being hurt so many times that they have given up hope for marriage?

I love high ideals. I need them because they provide something to aim for. But I live in reality where I fall short of those ideals. The people in the 6 categories above need help and I'm sure they feel the intramural food fight over whether marriage is the normative ideal is too removed from their reality.

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