A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nice, Balanced Piece on the Marriage Mandate

Kevin has written a good post that takes issue with two extreme positions: the "gift of singleness" school of thought and the "marriage mandate" school of thought. Now, personally, I don't see anywhere in the Scriptures any kind of insistence that most people should get married. Maybe most will, but that's a matter I believe God has left up to us. I believe the Bible declares singleness and marriage to be states that are both intrinsically good (1 Cor. 7:25-40). Yes, I know that you know that I believe that (grin), but I thought I offer my standard disclaimer just in case.

22 comments:

Kevin in Manila said...

Thanks for mentioning this.

Kevin

singlextianman said...

It's not, as I say, theological rocket science.

catwoman said...

Nice work, Kevin.

It would great if you could post on Amazon your piece about McCulley's book, just like you did with Maken's.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"Ultimately, we are single because that’s God’s will for us right now. That’s it. It’s not because we are too old, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, to quiet, too loud, too smart, too simple, too demanding, or too anything else. It’s not wholly because of past failures or sin tendencies . . . We are single today because God apportioned us this gift today."

This is an interesting issue. How much of what happens to us is God's active will and how much is what He lets happen to us? In other words, how much is just God watching us idiots down here make dumb-a$$ choices like He knows we will?

I have friends that are over in Iraq right now teaching Iraqis how to fly. More than once they've had to save the aircraft because the Iraqis quit flying the aircraft in a real emergency (or even a practice one), leaving the infidel to save the day. The rationale being that if it is God's will that they survive, they will live. If not, they will die.

The reason why I bring this up is because I find this attitude troubling. It seems to me that the Bible is clear that He helps those who help themselves. Thus He doesn't expect us to sit idly by and let Him do everything for us.

Likewise, it seems to me that a "God given gift of singleness" is more a salve used to heal up a wounded ego than a real reason to be single. Maybe a woman (or a man) is single because she (he) is too fat, too skinny, too career focused, too demanding, too picky, has too high an opinion of themselves, etc. Don't blame your faults on God's will. Don't let an easy excuse relieve you of your responsibility for honest self-assessment.

I haven't read Maken's stuff. These few snippets of text have demonstrated to me that (a) I don't want to, and (b) why Anakin and Triton beat up on her so much.

Kevin in Manila said...

Catwoman,

I may post it over at Amazon one of these days. Thanks for the suggestion.

Elusive,
To be completely honest, I think McCulley missed an opportunity to warn her readers not to follow in her footsteps. According to her own testimony, she spent her 20's doing relationships the worldly way, repented at at 30, then wondered why the Christian men weren't lined up to marry her. And it's "God's will" that she's single?

None of us are perfect, and there are plenty of people who do everything wrong and still end up happily married. But we have to look at probabilities, and certain decisions do affect the probability of finding a suitable spouse.

Learner said...

Anyone want to write a book or sermon entitled, Men have Brains, Women have Big Butts? Not me!

Ha! That is a good one Kevin.

Kevin in Manila said...

He he--glad you liked it :)

If ever I am feeling suicidal, that will be the title of my next book :)

Amir Larijani said...

Kevin, Learner: That would make a nice title, but remember: having a large ass might not be a bad thing, scientifically speaking...

Elusive Wapiti said...

"...she spent her 20's doing relationships the worldly way, repented at at 30, then wondered why the Christian men weren't lined up to marry her"

Ah, that would have been a good lesson to teach.

When you say "worldly way", do you mean that she slept around to?

That may also help explain why Christian men weren't necessarily all fired up to hitch themselves to her wagon.

Also, nice job on the post Kevin

Kevin in Manila said...

Elusive,

Here's what she said the book:

Throughout my twenties, I pursued various sins. I can remember laughing at the "old-fashioned ideas" of the few Christian women I knew who were willing to abstain from sex until marriage. . .

That changed when I became an authentic, believing Christian at age thirty. My pastors taught their flock well about God's purpose for marriage and family . . . So I wanted it. A lot. Thus a new idol was created: Husband of My Dreams, the reward for m new obedience in chastity. When this wonderful husband didn't immediately materialize, I sometimes found myself shaking my puny fist at the Lord . . .



I rejoice with anyone who has repented and given their lives to the Lord. But I wish she had warned her readers about the consequences of spending your 20's the way she did.

Amir Larijani said...

EW, Kevin: That leads to the issue of choices and consequences.

Whether or not she slept around, she can answer for herself (or choose not to).

On the other hand, waiting until your 30s to pursue Christian relationships, whatever you might have done in your 20s, carries consequences.

While that is true for the men as well as the women, it is harder on the women, because their best childbearing years are now behind them.

(That's not said as a statement of condemnation, just fact.)

Here's the other thing that bothers me: the extent to which people wear every detail of their past on their sleeve. While I believe there is a time and place for dealing with past sexual matters--hopefully before the wedding--I do find it offputting when people wear their pasts on their sleeve.

While I would not hold it against a gal who had such a past--provided it's her PAST--I would take offense if she went around announcing to the world that she was once the 1995 State College Gangbang Champion before she repented of her sins...

Whatever happened to "putting off the old and putting on the new"?

catwoman said...

I doubt she was all that wild. She probably lived with a guy for a few months or something. Now she's self-flaggelating about it.

Kevin in Manila said...

Keep in mind this is only one paragraph from the book. As far as I can remember, it is the only time she mentioned her life before Christ.

I don't really have a problem with the testimony she shared. But I was concerned with the complete mental disconnect between her choices and the consequences.

catwoman said...

Kind of like, "oh well, I guess it was God's will that it all happened that way", rather than looking at the possiblility that her situation could, directly or indirectly, be the outcome of the choices of herself and her generation.

Kevin in Manila said...

Catwoman,

Exactly!

I'll be honest with you guys--as a 36 year old single guy, I'm doing some soul-searching of my own.

I spent most of my 20's working and finishing my theological studies. I think I should have spent more time on my social life.

Would I be married if I had? I don't really know--I can only speculate.

But neither of these books were at all helpful. One author says I'm single because it's God's will, the other says it's because I refuse to grow up and be a man.

BTW, I'm seriously considering writing my own book on this subject.

catwoman said...

Do you think it's harder to find someone you like, or is it harder to get someone you like to like you?

Kevin in Manila said...

Catwoman,

During my high school and college days I experienced a great deal of rejection. I was already shy, so this just didn't help.

Lately the issue has been finding someone I'm truly passionate about.

But I'm still tenaciously optimistic about love :) If ever I get married, my testimony will be that I never gave up.

catwoman said...

Truly passionate about...hmmm...you must be a man of many options to dare such a dream!! A while back, I was chatting with a girl in New Zealand about your age (maybe a year or two younger) who was bemoaning the lack of godly guys there. Come to think of it, she was also a missionary! Hey wait a second, am I playing cupid here? Just tell me when to stop! : )

Kevin in Manila said...

At the risk of sounding very politically incorrect, I tend to date younger women now that I'm in my 30's. And I'm not really looking for long distance arrangements.

But thanks anyway :)

Amir Larijani said...

Catwoman asks: Do you think it's harder to find someone you like, or is it harder to get someone you like to like you?

Good question. When you say "someone you like", I'm assuming you mean "someone you think might be marriageable".

In that case, I'd say it's harder to find someone I like who also likes me.

I don't see it as my job to "get her to like me", as that is something over which I have no control. Either she likes me or she doesn't. If she is not interested, it's not because she's bad: she's just not interested.

Personally, I'd prefer to think I've got a wide enough tent that I'm being reasonable. Trouble is, "reasonable" is not easy to determine.

We all need to have standards, but what constitutes "reasonable" is not always an objective matter.

And I'm not merely speaking of physical attractiveness, either: even in matters of Godliness, some assessments are subjective, as we all tend to wear different shades of gray.

I'm strong in some areas but not others. She's going to be stronger in some areas than others.

There are some weaknesses that are major red flags, and those are non-negotiable. My list of red flags might be different from hers.

Finding one on whose list I measure up--and she measures up with me--is the hard part.

In my experience, I've fallen short my share of times, and they've fallen short a fair share of times.

Against that backdrop, an agency--whether it's a party within the Church, or families of bride and groom--is not such a bad idea.

It ought not be part of a "marriage mandate", but for those who DO aspire to marry, and are--for any number of reasons--more difficult than usual to marry off, an agency of sorts would be quite equitable.

catwoman said...

"At the risk of sounding very politically incorrect, I tend to date younger women now that I'm in my 30's."

All the power to you. But Kevin, if you have so many options as well as high expectations, then it puts you in an awkward position if you pile on with others here about the sorry state of womenhood. Sure, there are some "skanks" out there, as they say, but among believers you must come across some very fine single women. Or maybe it's different in the Phillipines?

Kevin in Manila said...

Catwoman,

I don't think you'll find much on my blogs about the "sorry state of womanhood." I do have some concerns about radical feminism, and I think the author of this blog appreciates my attempt to write balanced posts from a masculine point of view.

But my blogs aren't really part of the MGTOW movement. I mainly read Biblical Manhood (and other similar blogs) to hear more than one side. Sometimes I agree with the posts here, sometimes I don't.

Blessings!