Thursday, March 3, 2011

oh the things we are challenged to think about in college

For my Old Testament class, I watched this sermon (I want to watch the entire series):

We were also to read this article:

It really got me thinking.  I had to write a response paper on the article, and I included that here.  I also am still mulling over somethings about the sermon involving "Religion vs. Redemption."  So, I will most likely get back to that on blogger eventually.... :)

Both the article and the sermon provided eye opening and thought provoking points.  The sermon brought to light the idea of marriage as a covenant and a consummation; the process of becoming one flesh.  There is a promise, a pledge, a covenant made.  It is sacred and holy.  When this covenant is consummated, man and woman become one.  It is really beautiful, and I really liked the way Pastor Mark Driscoll presented the marriage covenant interwoven with Ruth’s story of Redemption.  This marriage relationship can be related to God’s covenant relationship with his people.  He wanted to be one with his people, and they pledged and promised to love and obey him.  God’s people did not always remember their covenant however.  They were unfaithful.  It was sad and tragic because that covenant bond was meant to never be broken.  God is gracious, though, and redeemed his people.  He loved them anyways, and once they turned back to him, they were forgiven.  The story of Ruth is a story of redemption, as is our story as Christians.  When we break our covenant with God, it breaks his heart; but when we turn back to him, we are forgiven.  We are redeemed through Jesus Christ.  This relationship is a parallel and a model for Christian relationships and marriage.  This is the foundation that Christian marriage should be based on – the example of God’s love for and covenant with us. 
The article The Case for Early Marriage was very intriguing to me.  The author points out that there are many more Christian young women than men.  This makes waiting for the right spouse difficult, and can lead to a decision to compromise and have sex outside of marriage.   I think that our society and the church as a whole has put so much emphasis on sex and waiting for sex and staying pure and being a virgin that the actual beauty of sex and marriage are becoming lost in translation.  God created us to “be fruitful and multiply.”  He created marriage, and he made us have sexual desires to bring us closer together and to create new life.  Our society has made sex a fact of almost every “normal” relationship, but it has made marriage the last thing on anyone’s mind.  In relation to that, the church has made such a huge deal about waiting until marriage to have sex, that young couples’ focus is on sex, whether it be guilt from going too far or on making such a big effort to wait.  Instead of seeing marriage as a natural part of the Christian relationship, many young Christian couples are overwhelmed with the issue of sex.  Many marry so that they can experience guilt-free sex.  This whole way of thinking cheapens the marriage covenant and the idea of becoming one flesh. 
One thing that I found extremely interesting in this article was the idea that marriage is (can be) “formative,” meaning that one does not have to be this wholly formed person.  Individuals grow and couple grow closer as they experience life together; they become one.  This is something completely foreign to me because it is the opposite of what I always thought growing up.  I agree with this idea because God wants us to have that marriage covenant.  How can we really become one person if we are two completely whole individuals?  I am still developing my ideas about this one.
What is the point of all of this?  Well, as the author points out, the trend in both the church and in society as a whole is to get married much later.  For Christian couples who have decided to wait until marriage, this means that they are putting off the natural desire for sex even longer.  This alone is definitely not a reason to get married earlier, but it is something to think about.  Getting married young is not a bad thing, and it can be really healthy if entered into with the right mindset. 
The author mentioned five reasons that marrying young can be dangerous.  They are as follows:
1.       Economic insecurity
2.       Immaturity
3.       A poor match
4.       Marrying for sex
5.       Unrealistic expectations
Personally, I think that all of these reasons could lead to a failed marriage at any age.  However, I would have to say that young marriages could struggle the most with a poor match due to a shorter search or with unrealistic expectations.  Jumping into marriage too soon is always dangerous, but can be especially detrimental at a young age.  Unrealistic expectations are also more prevalent at a young age because many young people think their lives will pan out just as planned.  This never happens and can be very disappointing and stressful in a marriage. 
“Christians need to get real about marriage: it's a covenant helpmate thing that suffers from too much idealism and too little realism,” the author says.  Waiting for years to be sure you are marrying the right person does not ensure a perfect marriage.  Waiting for sex until marriage does not promise a great sex life with no difficulties.  Getting married later in life does not mean that you are any more ‘ready’ to be married.  Marriage is a covenant.  Marriage is hard work.  It is not ideal.  It is a real thing that requires commitment and understanding.  The church may need to reconsider its approach to young people about sex and marriage.  Chastity is a good and beautiful thing, as is marriage.  But shouldn’t the focus be on the covenant of marriage, rather than on sex outside of marriage?  Doesn’t that misguided focus just lead to an inaccurate picture of what “becoming one” really means?  

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