Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Michael Phelps is a freak of nature...

I don't know if you've been watching any of the Olympics, but you should catch up on Men's Swimming if you haven't seen any as of yet. Michael Phelps is a freak! The dude can swim... fast. He's unbelievable to watch. (Plus his neck is the circumference of an average car tire.) But that's just an aside...

My wedding was one of the best days of my life. I'll breathe my last breath knowing that the decision to marry Brittany was one of the best choices I made on this earth. Our wedding was a celebration of that love and it was tremendous.

With that being said, I'm not a fan of attending weddings. I know, its selfish. I wanted people to come to mine and then I'm not enthusiastic about going to others unless I'm really close to them. Ah well... atleast I admit I'm selfish. But anyway, I struggle at weddings because of what is said a lot of times.

I hate when people talk about "soul mates." (Brittany told me she remembers when I first said that to her--she was so upset. Now she understands where I was coming from and what I mean. For instance, when a marriage ends in divorce, are those people not soul mates after all? Is their soul mate still out there? Was their first marriage a mistake? What about the kids from that non-soul mate marriage? Its a complicated issue for me...)

I hate it even more so when its taken a step further and its talked about that "God made these two people for each other." Its pretty much the idea of "Christian soul mates." That's probably some of the worst theological talk one could possible make. I am a Creationist. I believe that God literally made the universe and everything in it... including humanity. However it worked and however it was done (including how long it took), I find to be trivial. To me, the important part is that God/Jesus/Elohim did it. Anyway, in that same vein, I believe God made people for him. (Which is a complicated issue within itself, but that's another post.) We were created with a bigger purpose that marriage to another human.

For Christians to talk about "two people, who were made for each other" sickens me. To imply that we are made for marriage is horrible! Horrible for the reasons I've already discussed and because it puts so much emphasis on marriage. What about singles and people who never get married? Did God not "make someone for them?" Are they doing something wrong that they are not entitled to a soul mate? Is their life incomplete because they haven't found "their" significant other?

I think we can "over-spiritualize" choices in life. Like prayer before meals and softball games being a requirement, we can miss the point entirely if we aren't careful. If you've gotten to really know someone, to really love them, and you can't see a future without them, then rock and roll on it. But that's not the point of our existence.

I told a friend one time that I feel like most Christian college ministries are just free dating services. We emphasize it to the point that people feel like they must find someone to marry. A lot of Christians are so eager to marry, that they go with the first person who comes along. (Is sex really that important? By no means! I've heard Shane Claiborne talk about the fact that we can live without sex but we cannot live without love. Marrying for sex is like flushing happiness down the toilet.) The New Testament, quite frankly, encourages singleness. Let's be honest: there's a lot of inherent freedom in being single. You can go where you want to go and do whatever you want and need to do without having to worry about anyone else.

I'm rambling at this point. I obviously don't have a problem with getting married or with weddings--I'm married and I had an amazing wedding celebration. Brittany and I just attended a great wedding celebration this past weekend. I just can't believe what we do with Biblical texts sometimes. I can't believe what we tell our kids and teenagers. I think, at the end of the day, if God created people for each other, our existence is meaningless. It turns the Way of Jesus on its head--life becomes about something it is not. And I find it sad...


joe hussung said...

Hey JD I agree.

Our cheif purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. But I do think that we can say that two people are made for each other without giving up that principle or minimilizing the ligetimacy of singleness. Just because I and my wife were purposed to be married does not negate the fact that some peopel are not to be married and are "made" for singleness. Also I think that this phrase has some biblical roots (at least on the female to the male). Eve was literally "made" for adam. Anyway just some thoughts. and yes Phelps is a beast.

in christ

JD said...

I guess the difference here is that I don't think someone is destined/made/purposed for marriage or singleness. We need not overspiritualize it. We simply get to choose to be married or to remain single--its kinda up to us.

Sure, the Genesis narrative says that God made Eve because it wasn't good for Adam to be alone (without someone like him.) But two things: 1, that situation was kinda unique in that there was no other human beings around to choose from--Adam was the only human; 2, your reading makes sense only if you take that story literally: that God literally made a man named Adam and a woman named Eve etc etc etc... I'm not saying I don't take it that way. But you could read it as simply a metaphorical story in which God created humanity.

Long story short, we get into the whole "what does God do or not do?" stream of questions. If God is the epitome of a control freak that decides everything for everybody, then sure, we could in some sense be made for another in just the same way that we could be made for hell. But if there is freedom in love, and God does give us this beautiful free will, then the choices are up to us.

joe hussung said...

I think Paul (though not in the same way) Spiritualizes marriage when he says that it is a metephorical picture of Christ and the church. And especially if our main goal should be to glorify God then that would be the case also in marriage. Marriage is a very spiritual thing.

Also I think that you technically could read that story as metephorical but you would be wrong, since it is historical and claims to be as much.

Truthfully I was not trying to get into what God does and does not do.(we both know what each believe on the subject). But I do think that the whole "God control freak" comment is unwaranted. In Calvinism he isn't a control freak he is just freer than we are.

Anyway good talking to you we can explore the whole free will predestination thing if you want but i'm sure that it would be better off left alone.

In Christ

JD said...

Sure marriage is spiritual. You must have misread what I meant: some people overspiritualize the decision to get married. Trying to base it on some special formula rather than a logical choice to commit one's self to another for the rest of their life on this planet. I based my decision on the fact's that: a) I loved Brittany and b) I could spend everyday of my life along side her. I didn't have to agonize over whether or not we were "meant to be together." I was simply saying that trying to include the idea of "soul mates" into one's theology is cultural B.S.

And to read parts of the Bible (including parts of the beginning of Genesis) as metaphor isn't necessarily wrong. Its not necessarily right either. But to say parts like Genesis 2 have to be read one way or the other isn't necessarily a great idea. I just don't see the need for one interpretation to nail it down and say "it has to be this way."

I find calling a God who controls everything for everyone a "control freak" a suitable term. Its just a simply observation. What do you label a God who allows his creation to make its own decisions? Recklessly loving? I dunno... I'll leave it with a quote from the song "Bukowski" by Modest Mouse:

"If God controls the land and the seas
And keeps a watchful eye on me
If He's really so damn almighty
Well, my problem is I can't see
Who would wanna be,
Who would wanna be such a control freak?"

joe hussung said...

Foolish and impotent that is what I would call a God who leaves everything up to his creation. And the false stereotype is the assumption that I think that we make no choices. I make choices all the time that I desire to make. The problem is that these desires are not my choice.

Anyway that modest mouse song can't speak for you. Actually I think that it is making a leap that you yourself won't make. Namely if God controls the sea and keeps a watchful eye on you and is Almighty (hopefully three things that you believe) then this guy seems to think that he is a control freak. So do you believe in a control freak?

Also about reading Genesis that way. It isn't an option. The New Testament writers necessitate that Adam be a real person that did the things that that account says that he did. Whole arguments for who Christ was and what he accomplish pin on Adam's deeds in Genesis 2 & 3.

Lastly, agreed that we have romanticized the idea of "soul mates" to the point of being ridiculous, but I don't think that it is merely a logical choice. I think that you even said as much with the "facts"that you stated. The choice that you made to marry Brittany were all on the bases of your love for her, and that's exactly how it ought to be.


In Christ

Joe said...

Hey JD

After sleeping on it I think that the foolish impotent statement was a little harsh and unclear. If you would just disregard the first of the statement (I would withdraw it and revise it but i didn't log in under google so...)

in christ

JD said...

No big deal. You know me--I don't take much personally in the blogosphere. I'd rather someone be honest/open and have to retract a statement than to not say what they mean at all.

I always appreciate the discussion.