November 20, 2017

Biblical Marriage: BEYOND Traditional

chagall177

Song of Songs (1974), Chagall

In last Saturday’s Ramblings we had a story about Rick Warren turning the Vatican into a revival meeting in support of Biblical, traditional marriage. He did so with a scintillating 8-point sermon that followed the alphabet . . . . Well, he followed the alphabet until he got to the last point, and then it seems that Warren just couldn’t remember what follows “G”. (That’s ok, heat of the moment and all, believe me I understand.)

Anyway, Bishop Warren gave an eminently Power-Pointable list of action steps for Christian leaders and churches wanting to promote “Biblical marriage.” This is necessary, he said, because we live in a world in which “marriage is ridiculed, resented, rejected and redefined” (nailed the alliteration, didn’t he?). One of his action steps to solve this problem was that Christians should:

Develop small group courses to support marriage

Now I know Rick Warren is a busy man, so in the spirit of Christian love and cooperation, I thought I’d help him out by writing an explicitly Biblical small group course for him. I call it, “Biblical Marriage: BEYOND Traditional,” because as you’ll see, traditional marriage as many of us see it ain’t got nothin’ on what the Bible actually portrays.

Here are some sample lessons. I’m sure you’ll see how practical and helpful they will be in advancing the cause of Biblical marriage that goes BEYOND merely traditional:

iBooks logoLesson One: Garden delights (Genesis 2-3)

Let’s start where the Bible does: with husband and wife frolicking about naked in a garden. If you want your marriage to be Biblical, outdoors nudity is essential. This lesson will give practical suggestions for creating your own private, outdoor retreat where the neighbors can’t spy on you, where you can play au natural to your hearts’ delight. Nothing will free you to express love, devotion, and commitment like walking, talking, eating fruit and gardening with each other in the altogether. Don’t be ashamed. Forsake those fig leaves that have kept your marriage from being all that it can be, and go BEYOND!

iBooks logoLesson Two: But what if I married a Nephilim? (Genesis 6)

No marriage is perfect, but sometimes you wake up and wonder if the person lying next to you is actually some fallen angel with demonic intentions. The Bible affirms that this is indeed possible. Perhaps you think you missed God’s will. You never found your “Noah” even though you dreamed of a righteous and blameless life partner with whom you could weather the storms of life. So you settled for someone who called himself “a son of God,” but now you realize he was really an alien giant with a heart as dark as the depths of the sea. This lesson explores how you can manage those pesky human/alien incompatibility issues. It will also reveal how God wants to flood your life with blessings in spite of the bad match you made.

Boaz wakes and sees Ruth at his feet, Chagall

Boaz wakes and sees Ruth at his feet, Chagall

iBooks logoLesson Three: Creative ways to pass on your heritage (Genesis, Ruth)

God designed marriage to be his chosen method of producing a godly line of descendents. This can challenge a marriage, and sometimes, we have to work extra hard to make that happen. We want to encourage you to get creative, and go BEYOND!

We’ll study Lot, for example, and discuss the daughter-father connection. And then we will look at Tamar, who illustrates the more complex but explicitly commended Biblical principle of “my husband’s dead and my brother-in-law won’t sleep with me and I don’t have kids so I guess I’ll become a prostitute and seduce my father-in-law so I can become a mother.” As a bonus, we’ll discover how we as parents can be like Naomi, and encourage our daughters to go lay naked at the feet of drunk wealthy landowners until they wake up, fear the worst, and agree to marry them. The possibilities are endless!

iBooks logoLesson Four: Developing a way with words (Song of Solomon)

Ladies, ever wish your husband would speak more lovingly to you? That, for example, he would tell you your hair is like a flock of goats, your breasts like towers, your belly like a heap of wheat? Or at least that your feet look great in sandals? And men, wouldn’t you love to hear your wife compliment you for those ivory abs, those alabaster pillar legs you have? Wouldn’t you just love her to praise you as a gay gazelle, leaping over the mountains? Then you won’t want to miss this lesson. We’ll divide up into couples and challenge you to find creative ways of describing your partner’s body parts. Then we’ll come back together and share what we’ve come up with! It’s loads of fun and not embarrassing in the least. Then we’ll send you home to practice naked in your garden.

iBooks logoLesson Five: Marriage as Evangelism (Hosea, Esther)

God may sometimes call you to marry someone you would never naturally consider, just so that you can win them to the Lord and be an example to others. This was Hosea’s calling, and in this lesson we’ll help you men learn how to identify which broken, fallen women are just right for you. We’ll discuss strategies for the ladies too, taking our cues from Queen Esther. You’ll learn how to work up the perfect erotic dance moves so that you can capture the heart of the evil monster you’re eager to reach. Who knows whether some of us will be called to this kind of marriage in “such a time as this”? This is the time to go BEYOND!

• • •

Our crack staff will be hard at work developing other Biblical lessons too. We’ll suggest survival tips for concubines and demonstrate the best use of mandrakes to foil your sister-wife from sleeping with your husband tonight. We’ll show you how to keep a Levitical calendar and checklist to make sure your sex life doesn’t break God’s rules. For those of you forced to live with contentious spouses, we’ll show you how to make a corner of your attic into a proper place where you can hide, as Proverbs instructs. We’ll also study the prophets to see when it is appropriate to talk dirty and examine why Paul would rather stay single than go through all this hassle.

In every way possible, we want to encourage you to go BEYOND in your marriage! So watch for this ground-breaking study at Saddleback Resources in early 2015.

Take a stand for marriages that are BEYOND traditional — Be thoroughly BIBLICAL!

Comments

  1. Love it! It’s much better and more BIBLICAL than Rick Warren’s list. The operative word here being BIBLICAL.

  2. A little light hearted sarcasm, directed at someone who represents the evangelical circus?

    • While we’re laughing ever-so-gently at him (let’s not forget that the man recently experienced the grievous loss of his son to suicide), we should not under-appreciate the comic aspect involved in the fact that officials of the Roman Catholic Church invited Warren to speak at their get-together about marriage, no doubt knowing what he was about and fully expecting the Vatican to be turned into a “revival meeting in support of Biblical, traditional marriage.” This, too, is funny.

      • David Cornwell says:

        One of the stranger things to come from this Pope. I didn’t understand it then, and still don’t.

        • Randy Thompson says:

          It may be indeed be strange, but it strikes me as a good strange.

          Truly strange would be Pope Francis preaching at Saddleback. Again, good strange.

        • Christiane says:

          Hi DAVID,
          popes do the unexpected, some even before they are elected to the papacy . . . Billy Graham preached at a catheldral in Poland at the invitation of the man who would become John Paul II . . .

          in a way, evangelicals have a far greater difficulty with Catholics than Catholics have with evangelicals . . . both John Paul II and now Francis seemed to LIKE evangelical leaders and to befriend some of them . . . maybe partly because, in Catholicism, Christian diversity is not so much regarded as a ‘threat’ to the ‘in-group’ and, let’s face it, there is a LOT is mis-information out there in evangelical-land about Catholicism for sure.

          • David Cornwell says:

            Thanks Christiane. I’m sure you are right. The Pope is far more charitable than me. Probably a good thing.

      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        That didn’t shut him up–why should it shut us up?

  3. OldProphet says:

    Rick Warren is a Godly man. I don’t think making fun of his ideas is funny at all. There a lot of people outside of Evangelical circles that I can ridicule or criticize.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      MODERATOR: Comment deleted.

      This post is meant to be a light-hearted critique of the uncritical biblicism in the evangelical world, not a personal attack on Rick Warren. Let’s stay on topic and with the spirit of the post, please.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        And yet uncritical praise is on topic? How about this: his own words, without additional comment:

        “HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero”

        Or does quoting his own words count as a personal attack?

        • Richard, I just ask that we stay on the topic today. We are not examining Warren and his career here.

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            I confess to having a thing about Warren. His is the gentle face of bigotry. I prefer my bigots to be properly spittle-flecked. They are more honest.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      He made a sermon in an forum. A response is very much within bounds.
      Especially when his premise is entirely unsound.
      Sometimes a premise is so wonk that jest is the only credible response [sometimes, not always; but IM is certainly not at risk of becoming one of those dreadful BLOGs, or TV shows, that survives via constant ridicule].

    • You’re in good company, Mike. Philip Yancey reports a similar misunderstanding in What’s So Amazing About Grace? He had written an article for Christianity Today entitled “The Atrocious Mathematics of the Gospel” where he lampooned the math in Jesus’s parables—leaving the 99 sheep to find the one; the widow’s penny that meant more than the wealthy men’s offerings, etc. There was an unusual amount of hate mail denouncing him for that, including words like “blasphemy,” “unchristian,” and “satanic.” But that itself was a learning experience.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Jesus was like Andy Kaufman when it came to absurdity.

        • Thank you, HUG, this thread was getting too serious. Then you, our court jester, stepped up again.

          Come on folks. More talk about outdoors nudity and creative descriptions of body parts, please. And no one has even mentioned Hagar and Ruth yet.

          Maybe we needed beer with this post.

          • I only drink wine, cabernet sauvignon is my choice. Beer is too fattening It’s the Castilian blood in me

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Andy Kaufman came up last night in conversation, and one of the points about him was that “He’d always throw the unexpected at his audience, including some stuff that’d make the audience mad at him, and he didn’t care if you got mad at him.” Add some sleep deprivation and a couple hours later, the analogy between Andy Kaufman and Jesus went ZANG!

          • George Christiansen says:

            I am trying to imagine the video ad for the ‘Adam and Eve Couple’s Retreat Center’.

    • George Christiansen says:

      Making fun of silly ideas should have no exceptions, but I’d say claiming your silly ideas are God’s ideas should get your ideas pushed to the front of the line.

  4. There’s a problem with step one in the small group program: people in Canada can only wander around in their gardens for like 4 months of the year naked and not get hypothermia!

    And the people taking offense for Rick Warren: Get a sense or humor!

  5. doubting thomas says:

    Chaplain Mike,

    You should pitch this to the big Christian publishing houses. You’ve got a bestseller here. Think of the royalties.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Got $200 grand to juice it onto the NYT Best-Seller list?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      There is no shortage of material.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Of course, and a marketing contract for the various Evangelical retail outlets. Hoping to have some infomercials on immediately following late night televangelists.

        Which means I am also recruiting models and spokespeople! Submit your application now!

  6. You left out Lesson Six: Celibacy – TOTALLY Beyond Marriage (Jesus, Paul), where the Gospel passages in which Jesus places the Kingdom above marriage are explicated, backed up by Paul in I Corinthians 7.

    Oh, and OldProphet… If the irony of an evangelical pastor going to a 500-year old cathedral to teach the Catholic church about the sacredness of marriage (which they, unlike us, consider a sacrament) is lost on us, then we desperately need an infusion of humor. 😉

    • What makes it even more ironic is that this evangelical pastor was invited to speak about the sacredness of marriage at the 500-year old cathedral by the mostly celibate hierarchy that administers the going-on at that cathedral.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      If you are going to assemble 30 global religious leaders – Evangelicalism is certainly going to have to be represented. Where the other 29 leaders so boring that they don’t merit a mention…. hmmm… yeah, Evangelicalism probably out-shone them. Nobody can to alliteration like an Evangelical.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      You left out Lesson Six: Celibacy – TOTALLY Beyond Marriage (Jesus, Paul), where the Gospel passages in which Jesus places the Kingdom above marriage are explicated, backed up by Paul in I Corinthians 7.

      Too ROMISH.

    • Eeyore says:

      You left out Lesson Six: Celibacy – TOTALLY Beyond Marriage (Jesus, Paul),

      Not that I am disagreeing with your view, only saying that’s a losing proposition for Protestants and Baptists.

      I’m a Baptist virgin gal, over the age of 40. I’m celibate. Most Baptists and Protestants do not understand celibacy or adult singleness.

      Most evangelicals and Southern Baptists and a ton of Reformed guys are heaping masses of steaming ignorance about adult singleness and celibacy.

      The vast majority of conservative American Christians I’ve come across assume that God picks and chooses who will be celibate/single, and then grants them with special, divine capabilities – like stripping them of a libido – to make being celibate easier. The Bible does not teach any of that, and that does not fall in line with my experience, or with other celibates I’ve chatted with on the internet.

      I still have a sex drive. God did not remove my sex drive or grant me special grace to endure – I’ve gotten this far on will power and self control alone. Christians are reluctant to recognize or acknowledge this. They prefer to live in this Fantasy World where a person can stay a virgin this long into adulthood that God must be behind it, or it must be super easy for me.

      It also goes to show if I can do it, other Christians can abstain from sex. It goes to show that there’s no excuse for committing sexual sin when some of us are virgins into mid-life. I think that’s another reason they are eager to teach falsely about celibacy, if at all.

      Most Baptist, Evangelicals, and some Reformed guys prefer to ignore talking about celibacy to offer the millionth book or sermon on “How to Have a Satisfying Marriage,” or “15 Steps to Having a Great Marriage.”

      I’ve yet to hear or see a book title or sermon of something like, “Ten Steps on Living a Satisfying Celibate Adult Life” from any evangelical, Baptist, or other sort of Protestant.

      • “The vast majority of conservative American Christians I’ve come across assume that God picks and chooses who will be celibate/single, and then grants them with special, divine capabilities – like stripping them of a libido – to make being celibate easier. The Bible does not teach any of that, and that does not fall in line with my experience, or with other celibates I’ve chatted with on the internet.”

        I used to believe this. I think the vast majority of Evangelical Christians believe God grants special grace to endure any and all suffering, to the point where Evangelical Christians don’t actually believe the suffering are really suffering.

        I often wonder where I learned that and how I got it so wrong.

  7. If “biblical marriage” is not the same as Christian marriage (and I agree that it’s not), then I wonder how, in the absence of any unambiguous or clear scriptural directive, we should define the boundaries and extent of Christian marriage.

    • To quote Dr. Lanning from *I, Robot*… “*That*, Robert F, is the right question.”

      • I think that I can anticipate Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic iMonkers pointing to tradition as the place to find a consistent definition of the boundaries and extant of marriage. For us Protestants, that answer is problematic, since we neither accept the authority of Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox tradition on the one hand, nor do we have a monolithic shared tradition on the other. For us, any answer to the question requires a good amount of improvisation; which gives rise to another question: How do we distinguish faithful from unfaithful improvisation?

    • Marriage ethics is certainly one of the areas of biblical teaching that has developed over the course of the biblical narrative. In the Patriarchs’ days, we see incest, taking sisters as rival wives, and simply dismissing a partner when things don’t “work out.” In the Torah, we see stricter regulations, including a prohibition on some of the kinds of marriage the Patriarchs practiced, certificates of divorce being given rather than simple dismissal, and a prohibition on marrying foreigners. Throughout the OT, the expectation is that the primary purpose of marriage is to have children so that you could build the nation.

      In the NT, we see the expectation of monogamy (and outright command of it for the leaders). We see a prohibition on divorce with the exception of a few special reasons. And most importantly, we see it purpose redefined as being “mystery” (Greek mysterion, which I believe was translated in the Vulgate as sacramentum) representing Christ and the Church. And there is a praise of celibacy, which was definitely frowned upon in the OT.

      I see a pattern of the Scriptures making marriage more restrictive as time goes on (progressive revelation). The World seems to do the opposite. The only exception is that the NT removes the OT’s restriction on marrying foreigners, but does advise Christians to not marry outside of the faith.

      Bottom line is this: we get the final word (on this side of eternity) on marriage from the New Testament. And, really, when folks like Warren talk about “biblical marriage” that’s what they mean.

      • With the exception of Genesis, I agree. The other point I would make is that they simply ignore the depictions of marriage in the OT or try to somehow find “principles” in them while ignoring the ugly stuff. I know any number of churches who have done “family series” from Genesis. Whenever I hear that, I have a good laugh because I know they are not really reading the book, but rather ignoring most of it while reading modern “principles” back into the text, which they cherry-pick for the verses that sound good to them.

        • Oh, absolutely. The tendency to ignore the ugly stuff and turn the pretty stuff into principles is silly and reflects a very myopic or selective approach to the Scriptures in American Evangelicalism in particular and American Christianity in general.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Oh, I don’t know. Is there really any other way to handle Scripture? I mean, I know that fundamentalists talk endlessly about inerrancy and how important the whole Bible is, etc., but when it comes to ethical living I have yet to meet a Christian of any tradition that doesn’t selectively apply Scripture. I’m not sure it’s such a terrible thing. Simplistic, perhaps, but not necessarily harmful.

      • Oh, and one more thing, the development of marriage does not always necessarily represent progress in biblical teaching in and of itself but rather reflects that that believers across the biblical spectrum of time lived in societies which developed from tribal to more settled and civilized communities. Paul’s teaching about marriage in the NT, slight as it is, is extremely sensitive to the societal mores of the communities in which the churches lived. Most evangelicals miss this too, and think of all NT teachings on the subject as absolute and timeless biblical principles (except for the ones that are uncomfortable — such as Paul’s counsel that it’s better not to marry or Jesus’ words that his biological family was not the be all and end all of life).

        • It’s an interesting give-and-take with St. Paul. On the one hand, in much of Greco-Roman society, the common extra-familiar sexual practices would make even the most “liberated” of Americans blush (temple prostitutes, sex slaves, etc). On the other hand, there was a very huge value put on the family structure in that same society, with the Paterfamilias being a monarch within the household, who demanded absolute respect and loyalty. You can see how some of the societal expectations are condemned and some upheld in St. Paul’s teachings on the family and marriage.

        • “Oh, and one more thing, the development of marriage does not always necessarily represent progress in biblical teaching in and of itself but rather reflects that that believers across the biblical spectrum of time lived in societies which developed from tribal to more settled and civilized communities.”

          The simplest and most important observation to make is that the stories and instructions included in the Bible span a very long period of time, and marriage and sexual customs changed across time and circumstance. The characters being described simply didn’t understand these topics in all the same way, nor did the writers of the texts necessarily.

          One can chose to see this change across time as representing an upward progression; I’m agnostic about that decision.

          This looks like a problem when folks want the entire Bible to provide directions about marriage and sex, and to be a reliable witness to what the proper pattern is, so that we can write sermons on the theme. But it is worth noting that for the most part, these texts were not written to be manuals of sexual or marital practice. The texts are usually about something else, and the marriage and sex just happens to be there. The sex works into the stories, but the stories are not about the sex. That is an important distinction.

          • To me, the implications of this observation are:

            1. We rightly want to ask what a Christian marital and sexual ethic ought to be;

            2. This ethic ought to proceed from scripture and our reflection on scripture;

            3. But that reflection on scripture needs to recognize that the great themes and truths of most of the Bible are not concerned directly with regulating marriage. And even if we go looking just for social ethics, only a portion of that is even strictly marital.[1] Wealth, property, debt, foreigners, charity and on and on receive extended treatment and reflection, which is interesting when you consider the focus of the current culture wars.

            4. If the Bible mostly talks about something other than marriage, we should probably reflect on the big themes, and then ask what those might tell us about marriage. Starting with What the Bible Says about Marriage and pairing that up to our Christian Wordlview(TM) or The Gospel is getting the cart very far in front of the horse.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            This looks like a problem when folks want the entire Bible to provide directions about marriage and sex, and to be a reliable witness to what the proper pattern is, so that we can write sermons on the theme.

            i.e. Folks want the Bible to be a Koran and Hadith regarding marriage and sex, with everything spelled out in exact detail.

          • [1] An example: There are a small pile of evangelical sermons that read the Ruth and Boaz story as a template for Who Is a Godly Woman, and Finding the Right Man, and Following God in Everything and Having High Ideals. Of course it is assumed we should want the text to say all these things, because they supports the marital ideals of the church subculture and its concern with personal sanctity. Bonus: we can push for a link between spirituality and romance! We can sell this!

            But this is a classic example of desperately loading your talking points into the story. It’s one of the very best tales in the OT, and it’s got a wonderful and appealing plot, and it’s the closest thing one gets to a romance (setting aside the Song). But the story centers on the whole network of social teaching related to property, foreigners, the poor, and so on, a matrix in which kinsmen-redeemer role plays an important part. Boaz (unlike a lot of other people??) is following the Law in these matters, and Ruth and Naomi are destitute and trying to navigate the social system.

            And if we were to read the story for guidance in matters of romance and choosing men, Ruth/Naomi don’t even conform to the picture of womanhood people often want the story to teach.

            Ruth and Naomi were working within the bound of propriety, but both women are anything but Ladies in Waiting, Prayerfully Waiting for Direction. For one thing, they’re too poor to be genteel and passive. And despite many a sermon about her “picking” Boaz, Ruth doesn’t really have a lot of choices: she gets lucky that Boaz is a model law-follower and is therefore able to approach him for help. In the end (having received some prior encouragement), Ruth is quite provocative. In a world sufficiently hazardous that the text mentions more than once that Ruth is in danger of violence from men, and that it is therefore very good to be under Boaz’s protection, Ruth actually marches out into a field and lays down next tot he guy. And it’s not clear exactly what is implied here, but “uncovering feet” is definitely more interesting than pulling off someone’s shoes. What exactly happened during the night? We’re not told, and it’s clearly not a detail that is consequential to the story. What matters is the appeal and made the response.

            It’s not so much loading meanings in the story that is a problem here, it is that the text is so brilliantly directing us to reflect on other topics, that trying to extract God’s Talking Points for Women’s Bible Studies of the Twenty-First Century is likely to cause us to stroll right past more important things.

          • re: Ruth and Boaz – when I was uh… “subjected” to talks about “biblical dating” I found it odd that Ruth and Boaz weren’t ever mentioned. I think it was because Ruth’s actions could be construed as “initiating” and we can’t have a woman do that….

          • Except for when we get to NT passages that are directly giving instructions on sexual and marital ethics and morals.

          • @srs: “Biblical dating”: Ahhh, yes… I remember!

            @Fr. Isaac: “Except for when we get to NT passages that are directly giving instructions on sexual and marital ethics and morals.”

            No argument there.

          • Regarding the Ruth and Boaz conversation some of you are having.

            I have heard many preachers over the years postulate that Boaz must have been an old, ugly geezer guy, and Ruth must have been hotty-totty sexy sexy mmmm so hot easy on the eyes.

            I think they do this because a lot of Christiin men are sexist swine, who, even when they are 55 year old guys with balding heads and huge pot bellies, feel entitled to 24 year old, big chested, thin women.

            I do not recall the biblical text mentioning what either Ruth or Boaz looked like, but male preachers are always happy to fill these details in (to make them up).

            I have noticed the same habit when discussing Eve in the book of Genesis. I discussed this over a year ago i a post at The Wartburg Watch blog.

            I have heard several sermons and read in a few books by Christians since my teen years, where the male preacher or male Christian author assumes that Eve – from the Genesis creation account – must have been sexy, ooh La La,so pretty, she makes a super model look like a dog.

            Though the biblical text says nothing about Eve’s appearance. It makes me squirm when I hear or read Christian men go on about how Ruth or Eve must have been so physically beautiful.

            And I notice that these preachers who go ON AND ON about what a hottie Eve must have been never, ever mention if Adam was a hottie.

            The males who go on about Eve in this manner never mention qualities of hers that have nothing to do with looks, like, “And I bet Eve had a great sense of humor” or “I bet Ruth was really great at hand to hand combat” or whatever. It’s always focused on the woman’s sexuality and looks with these guys.

            I don’t hear the male Christian writers speculate that Adam in the book of Genesis must have had a full head of hair, handsome face, and a “six pack.” Nope. Male Christians save this fixation about looks for the female gender only and it is so freaking sexist, IMO.

            It’s also annoying because it’s just not in the Bible, they make this stuff up. And these are from evangelicals and Baptist who scream and yell about how important the Bible is, how they are sola scriptura and how Roman Catholics are so wrong for elevating Tradition to the written word.

            I happen to disagree with much Roman Catholic theology myself, but I think it’s hypocritical that the Baptists/ Protestants who do so as well knock Catholics for being un- or Non-sola scriptura, but then they add all these little tid bits to the text that is simply not there, like, Eve of Genesis or Ruth of the Ruth and Boaz stories must have had long, lean sexy legs, and long, sensual hair and big, pouty lips.

            I mean, where to you get off yelling at Catholics over their perpetual virginity of Mary stuff or papal succession but then add that nonsense to your sermons or books????

            I may not agree with Catholic folk on some of their views or religious teachings, but at least they’re upfront that they aren’t going by the Bible only. Baptists and evangelicals need to admit they don’t, either.

          • Re: Biblical dating.

            Those who know me from other blogs know what I think about this topic.

            “Biblical dating” advice from evangelicals, fundamentalists, Baptists, and some Reformed denominations or personalities, is based on this assumption:
            People cannot supposedly control their sexual urges. If a man and woman meet alone for a date, even going to a coffee shop for a date, it will ALWAYS end in sex.

            Therefore, many Christian books and blogs I’ve seen about dating, even stuff aimed at adult singles – singles who are over 30 years old!! – are advised to either totally stay away from the opposite gender, never ever be alone with an opposite gender person, don’t go on coffee dates, OR, date in groups

            I am sorry, but I cannot see going on a group date with other 40-somethings, and all to avoid fornication. That would make me feel like a 13 year old child.

            These Christian biblical dating tips that I see all over Christian blogs and magazines are steps to keeping people single, not in getting them married, but then evangelicals wonder why aren’t more evangelicals getting married?

            Duh, it’s obvious why evangelicals are not marrying, it’s the crud you’re teaching singles about dating.

            I would tell evangelical singles who are wanting to marry to ignore about 98% of the “biblical” approaches to dating your preacher or favorite Christian magazine tells you to use.

          • I think they do this because a lot of Christiin men are sexist swine, who, even when they are 55 year old guys with balding heads and huge pot bellies, feel entitled to 24 year old, big chested, thin women.

            What does this look like in practice? I doubt these entitled sorts get what they want… even when they were decades younger than 55.

            And of course Eve was most beautiful woman in the world. Ok, also the ugliest too…

            Are these preachers especially young? The middle aged ones I’ve had have at least some… taste? dignity? enough to avoid fantasizing from the pulpit.

            (Also, I’m not doubting your experience. I’ve just never seen this kind of stuff to the extent you describe so I am curious about it. Trying to figure out if I got lucky in the churches I chose. (Or maybe not noticing it because I am not a gal))

            It’s also annoying because it’s just not in the Bible,

            Yeah – maybe if it isn’t there it’s because God didn’t consider it important and so (collective) we shouldn’t either.

          • @ srs who said,
            “Are these preachers especially young? The middle aged ones I’ve had have at least some… taste? dignity? enough to avoid fantasizing from the pulpit.”

            The ones I’ve seen and heard were/are older, age 50 and up (they had white or greying hair).

            (Bear in mind, it’s not just been preachers in sermons, but I’ve read this in a book or two by evangelicals.)

            I think the assume that because Eve was directly created by God and was the first woman evah, that she must have had movie star quality looks. And who knows, maybe she did. But… the Bible doesn’t mention it, not that I recall, so I find it very telling that men preachers find it pertinent to bring it up at all.

            If they are going to get into that, and I’ve heard some of them do I want equal time spent by them pontificating about on Adam’s broad shoulders, flat waist line, bulging biceps…

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        “Bottom line is this: we get the final word (on this side of eternity) on marriage from the New Testament. And, really, when folks like Warren talk about “biblical marriage” that’s what they mean.”

        Then why do we also hear about “Adam and Eve: not Adam and Steve”? I sometimes hear that the first form of something in the Bible is normative, and this is why Adam and Eve is normative, and not Solomon. Strangely, this principle is rapidly set aside when I point out that the earliest Christian church was communist. There may be a principled Biblical argument for exclusively heterosexual monogamous marriage, but I’m not seeing it from this crowd.

        • Well, I think the reason they go to Adam and Eve rather than Solomon is that Solomon doesn’t fit that NT pattern, especially for Evangelicals. Adam and Eve, by contrast, were looked at as an ideal even by Jesus.

        • @ Richard Hershberger

          Seems to me that when asked a question about divorce, Jesus re-enforced the idea that marriage was intended by God to be between one man, one women.

          Jesus did not appeal to an idea like,
          “A few hundred years ago, God made Solomon, so that a man should leave mother, father, and go buy himself 456,564 harem girls and shack up with 432 concubines.”

          From Matthew 18,

          Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”
          4And He answered and said,
          “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,
          5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH

          The all caps was from the site I was pasting that from, not mine.

    • George Christiansen says:

      Well, peer pressure of course!

      Isn’t that how all of these things are settled?

  8. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    My favorite, or un-favorite, marriage story has always been Jacob & Lot. Let’s be clear: Jacob and Lot are both jerks of the first order. How was Jacob tricked into marrying the wrong girl? [Is this actually a joke??? As Leah was recorded as having weak vision]. How drunk was he? That happened although he was in love with [or obsessed with] the other daughter? What a turd! And he was fascinated with how beautiful the *younger* daughter was for **7 [or 14] years**? At least God did something nice for Leah after marrying her off to such a jerk. Then the preferred girl, when she can’t get knocked up, says “here, sleep with my slave”. What a peach she is. Of course in the end the pretty girl gets to have the bestest son. On the other hand she ends up getting buried by the side of the road.

    A portrait of a loving functional family.

    • Do you mean Jacob and Laban?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Yep, typo.

        Although Lot is another guy who gets so wasted he cannot tell what women he is having sex with.

        Is there a theme here? The bible supports drunk sex?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Beer glasses.

          • George Christiansen says:

            Wouldn’t manischewitz wine glasses be more likely than beer goggles?

            Must we see everything through Reformation stained lenses?

        • Shall our sermon today be:

          “Drunk Sex: It’s in the Bible!”

          or

          “Don’t drink and have sex, or you’ll just marry your daughters or the ugly girl!”

          Choices, choices.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            “Don’t drink and have sex, or you’ll just marry your daughters or the ugly girl!”

            Why I have I never seen that on a church billboard out-front advertising the topic of the upcoming sermon. That might attract a crowd.

          • Probably they should try it. We’ve already had the Seven Day Sex Challenge.

          • Faulty O-Ring says:

            Lot didn’t MARRY his daughters. He was RAPED by his daughters.

          • Faulty O-Ring says:

            (but probably deserved it for the Sodom incident)

    • @ Adam who said,

      At least God did something nice for Leah after marrying her off to such a jerk. Then the preferred girl, when she can’t get knocked up, says “here, sleep with my slave”. What a peach she is

      To be fair to her, though, there was a ton of pressure for women back then to pop out a kid, especially a male (son).

      Even today in the United States there is a ton of pressure on women to marry and have a kid. If you cannot have a kid, you are pitied and treated like you cannot achieve your only purpose in life, and if you deliberately choose to refrain from having a kid (you are child free) you are treated like selfish scum, or like a freak – and you get treated this way by not only a lot of Christians but by Non Christians too.

      • OldProphet says:

        Daisy. I’ve been an Evangelical for over 30 years and I’ve never heard a sermon that spoke about how Adam or Eve looked. Never! I’ve also known several Godly women who.were celibate They were friends of mine. Either you’ve been in wierd churches or you have an ax to grind. A lot of this Evangelical bashing is really sad to me.

        • @ Old Prophet.

          I have in fact heard such sermons and read evangelical books/ blogs where the male preacher talks about what a stunning hottie Eve must have been. The Bible, as I recall, is silent about her looks, but male preachers sometimes discuss it.

          Then you have male preachers who are into referring to their wives in public and on Twitter as being “Smokin’ Hot,” which objectifies their wives. Go google that. Here is but one page about it:
          I’m Sick of Hearing About Your Smoking Hot Wife

          Many Christian men (preachers especially) are really obsessed with women’s sexuality and physical appearance.

          You said,

          “Either you’ve been in wierd churches or you have an ax to grind. A lot of this Evangelical bashing is really sad to me.”

          Er, no. I’m in my 40s. My views of and disgust with aspects of evangelicalism is due precisely because of evangelical nonsense I’ve seen over my 40 plus years.

          I didn’t just roll out of bed one day and say, “Wow, I really dislike evangelicalism for no reason, I think I shall start ranting about it.” It’s my experiences and life spent within it that led me to where I am today.

          I don’t think voicing my disagreement with it means I have “an ax to grind.” I just notice some distasteful teachings and habits of evangelicals, and some tick me off more than others. That churches treat single celibate adults like either chopped liver or like failed weirdos is but one.

          That you may personally be friends with a handful of single, celibate adults and you are polite to them does not negate the fact that most conservative Christians either ignore adult singles or else insult them and treat them as second class compared to folks who are married with children.

          It’s kind of like denying American history of slave ownership because you have two close personal friends that are black people. It’s all well and good you have black friends you treat well, but black people were still owned as slaves until 1865, that does not change.

          Get a copy of the book “Qutting Church” by Julia Duin and one by Field and Colon titled “Singled Out” for many anecdotes of how awful most churches treat adult singles. You can also find examples on the internet.

          If you never venture out of your evangelical bubble, you should.

          Start visiting sites and blogs by ex- Christians and ex- Evangelicals, and blogs by people who are still Christian, but who document spiritual, sexual, and wife abuse.

          Not only do these Christians document the abuse, but they do exposes on the weirdo theological views that under-gird the abuse, and some of that includes sexist views about women, over-emphasis on marriage and pro-creation, etc.

          • Sorry Daisy, but you just sound bitter.

          • I’m going to keep this civil. First, I’m over 60. I’ve been around blocks you have probably never been to. I’ve ministered in several countries oversees. I have a prophetic ministry and have worked with RC groups, in Anglican churches, AOG, Conservative Baptist, Lutheran groups. Free Methodist, and on and on. I know the Body of Christ real well. I know the issues with Evangelical churches. But believe me, they don’t have a corner on problems, there are a lot of spiritual skeletons in a lot of church closets. Only focusing on Christ will allow all of us in the family of God to witness to a world that’s really screwed up. Yeah, the Remnant Church movement and things like the Latter Rain group, I know those groups too. When you start thinking that you have a corner on the truth, lots of pain, hurt, and disillusionment. Rant over

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > … Eve…preachers who are into referring to their wives ….

            I’ve heard this many times as well. Generally sandwiched between sports metaphors. It is sad, and even sadder that I’ve never witnessed any real push-back.

          • Daisy

            I have been attending churches as an adult for 40 years
            I too have been in several ministries and cannot number the churches I have visited.
            As a regular attender I have been Pentecostal, Evangelical Covenant, Reformed, Prebyterian, Anglican, Third Wave Charismatic and I have never heard any talk about how hot Eve was (or any woman for that matter).

            I am not saying that you didn’t hear those sermons. It just maybe is not as widespread as you say.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            I have heard it – not often, but I have.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > if you deliberately choose to refrain from having a kid (you are child free)
        > you are treated like selfish scum, or like a freak

        It might be the circles I travel and live in … but I don’t get this response. I mean, I have, on occasion. Older people especially. From younger people I get more of a “right on!” [I expect the US mean birth rate to continue to decline]. And I have gotten many a “you really have the right idea” whispered to my by parents.

        But I’ve left Evangelicalism in my dust.

  9. OK, I laughed. But . . . ? This post awakens a recognition of my own adventure into the realm of sarcasm and the reality of the hurt it can cause. (By the way, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this week in the States -I guess I can be thankful for this!)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      The pervasive [at least in Evangelicalism] notion of Biblical Marriage is a driving force in a myriad of ways.

      That it has no foundation is the “But”. The meme of Biblical Marriage is a block to the discussion of what the relationship between Marriage, The Church, The State, and The Scripture is – or should be. Dismantling this notion is a step towards having conversation rather that shouting.

      But can IM really facilitate that happening? Will the Biblical Marriage people be listening, … that is a legitimate question. If not then dismantling it here actually doesn’t serve much purpose. Then the defense of the use of sarcasm is only that it provides a forum for people to vent – as the Biblical Marriage notion is one that has inflicted significant injury on significant numbers of people [as it is, IMO, the fuel-cell which powers the reality distortion field around gender relations in Evangelicalism]. Myself having been an ‘unsuitable mate’ as a young man in Evangelicalism… the constant drone of dismissal….they can take a few punches, they’ve dealt out plenty.

      • The driving force behind anything described as Biblical is to make anyone disagreeing with you start from the apparent position that you are “not” Biblical. It’s a method of shutting down the debate before anyone but the first speaker gets to talk.

  10. My Old Testament professor used to say that the people we read about in the Old Testament are mirrors of reality, not models for morality. There’s nothing wrong with poking a little fun at the way some people go about trying to teach things, but does anyone here seriously think that the Bible has nothing to teach us about marriage? The Bible can be hard to understand at times, but regardless of the issue, things seem to get a whole lot foggier when we don’t like what it says.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > but does anyone here seriously think that the Bible has nothing to teach us about marriage?

      I do not see that anyone here said that.

    • Jon said,

      The Bible can be hard to understand at times, but regardless of the issue, things seem to get a whole lot foggier when we don’t like what it says.

      As has been pointed out by myself and others on this page (and in times past on other sites), Christians don’t like what the Bible says about marriage and family, so they ignore that… like these verses….

      1 Corinthians 7
      Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
      But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

      Matthew 10
      37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me [Jesus Christ] is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
      ——————————
      Those are not exactly a ringing endorsement of marriage, family values, and natalism, but evangelicals keep on shaming folks who never marry or who never have children, and they keep ranting on and on about “family values”.

  11. I have said before and I will continue to say it that Evangelicals do not have a theology of marriage. While we decry RC for turning marriage into a sacrament, I cannot recall a single systematic theology from an Evangelical perspective that I studied in Bible college that crafted a theological basis for Christian marriage. I do recall MANY discussions on who should and shouldn’t be married in our One True Church buildings and whether the preacher should marry borderline cases in their homes rather than their churches.

    But I’m a curmudgeon. I do like Adam’s post. We need a lesson on “If At First You Don’t Succeed – Tips On Marrying Until You Get the Spouse You Want.” I think it will serve as a nice justification for the American practice of serial polygamy that seems to be the fashion today.

    • Some Christians never, ever marry (even though they wanted to), and I think Christians need to address that too, but they almost never do. On rare times it is brought up, the tendency is to blame and shame people who are over 35 who never married.

      I know I was taught by evangelical/ Baptist culture from girlhood into adulthood that if I just followed certain steps (like pray hard enough, serve in the church, find contentment in my single status, etc etc etc), that God would send me a spouse, but I never got one, in spite of following all the standard evangelical Christian teachings on the topic.

      So obviously Christians need to re think their assumptions on marriage and how they teach it to kids.

  12. Georges Boujakly says:

    How would Rick Warren read the criticism made of his take on Biblical marriage? If he’s wrong, crorrect him gently with truth and love.

    Criticism done in love edifies. Reactionary criticism against evangelicalism and evangelicals is too often what IM is about. It’s no longer helpful. It’s time to grow up beyond being against.

    Sarcasm is the worst kind of humor. At best it’s a put down. God knows we need more of that! (That’s sarcasm). It doesn’t say munch about the criticized. But it says something about the one using sarcasm. When I do it, it’s usually pride gone unchecked.

    • I would hope Rick Warren would laugh, but being a Baptist, I doubt he would do so over a beer with me.

    • I think this qualifies as satire rather than sarcasm. Admittedly, that might be a thin line. Nevertheless, Jesus certainly employed satire in an attempt to force the Pharisees to view their ill-founded positions from a new direction. Paul certainly did so as well, under the guise of evangelism no less. And let’s not even get started on the OT prophets.

      I don’t see criticism of Warren himself as implicit here. I see criticism of the hermeneutic that he uses (and others use as well) to establish such positions and make such statements. Fair game all, in my book. And satire is merely a form of argumentum ad absurdum — a legitimate form of argument.

      • I agree, Dave. The best satire works by encouraging us, while laughing at the target of the satire, to look at ourselves and see the same tendencies there. If Christians refused to allow the possibility of satire, they would run the risk of acceding to “the realism, dignity, and austerity of Hell” (Screwtape), where no one laughs, least of all at themselves.

        • My initial reaction when reading the post was to be somewhat annoyed, though I knew it was meant to be funny (and it is). As I thought about it, though, realized my annoyance was more with the way we are so imprecise in our Christian ghettos and I was convicted to be more precise in my language rather than slipping into “Christianese.” As has been pointed out above, what Warren and other *should* be talking about is “Christian Marriage” rather than “Biblical Marriage.”

        • Yes, to Dave and Damaris. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves. I think that’s one think that does (or SHOULD) separate us Christians from the Muslims. Make fun of our religion…we should roll with it and laugh. But make fun of Muslim religion…look out. They tend to take great offense and want to kill. (That may be a gross stereotype, but I’ve noticed that no one minds mocking/satirizing Christianity, while people approach satirizing Islam like they’re walking on egg-shells and might need to go into hiding afterward.)

          So let’s be a Christian community that doesn’t take such great offense!

      • George Christiansen says:

        A fun exercise in interpretation is to read Jesus’ quotes aloud, but with differing tones of voice.

        A buddy of mine used to do a great satirical Jesus.

        • Hmm…sounds intriguing. I’ll have to try that.

          The same can be done with any rock/pop song. Get the lyrics (sans music) and just start reading them in different tones of voice. Classic rock songs become very mundane.

          • Oh, and my daughter just about killed me the other day when I did that with a couple of her beloved One Direction songs…LOL.

    • George Christiansen says:

      I was corrected many years ago by my best friend’s parents when I said that he was the most sarcastic person i knew.

      They grabbed the dictionary and pointed out that my friend was quite ironic, but never sarcastic because sarcasm required ill intent.

      sar·casm

      noun
      the use of irony to mock or convey contempt

      I am quite confident that any contempt Mike holds is for the ideas rather than the man.

  13. David Cornwell says:

    Rick Warren, or any of us for that matter, make a mistake speaking about “Biblical Marriage.” Biblical marriage is all over the place. What we should be talking about is “Christian marriage.” This is at least a good starting place. The practices of tradition and how the Church has viewed marriage down through the ages provide a framework for beginning to talk together (theology) about the subject. The Bible can provide insights and be part of the framework, but not the last or only word.

    Catholic moral theologians still write about the subject. Some from other traditions do also. Narrative theologians have contributed some very good theology (discussion), most of it overlooked by the Church.

    The UMC is in a dither (verging on schism) about gay marriage. One of the main reasons is the lack of a theological framework for marriage itself. I wouldn’t bet on this changing.

    • Oh, but David, then we wouldn’t be “Biblical”! Are you saying the Bible isn’t authoritative? :))

    • David Cornwell says:

      My apologies to Fr. Isaac and others in previous posts. Somehow I missed what they’d already said about Christian marriage.

      ” Are you saying the Bible isn’t authoritative?”

      Well, it is within the framework of Christian tradition, and certainly the above interpretations of Chaplain Mike should be included in the discussions. Maybe he can be invited to Rome with Powerpoint at the ready. Pope Francis will be impressed.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      Yep.

  14. Charles Featherstone says:

    I keep asking my wife I cannot have a concubine or her handmaiden. She keeps saying no.

    • Charles Featherstone says:

      If I can. If I can have a concubine or handmaiden. Geesh… cannot even type properly today.

    • Me too, Charlie. What is it with women these days?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Have you tried “WOMAN, SUBMIT!”?
      Or moving to one of those polyg cult compounds that get in the news?

    • Wife and I had a meeting with a fertility specialist. On the way home, I told her that some of the options were too much of a high tech version of the Abraham Sarah and Hagar story for my taste.

    • “The Bible says…”

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      Yeah, I haven’t got very far with this argument either…

    • David Cornwell says:

      I like the example King David gave to me.

      I’m getting old. I live in an old house with little heat upstairs on cold winter nights. Even though my wife puts extra blankets on me, I’m still cold. I want a beautiful young virgin to lie in bed with me to help warm up my old bones.

      Question: Is this biblical?

    • You’ve got to remind her of the advantages.

      I told my husband I’m all good with the concubine thing, just so long as I am first wife and get to be boss.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Doug Phillips ESQUIRE’s wife would agree.
        First Wife always outranks a mere Handmaid.

    • You said, “I keep asking my wife I cannot have a concubine or her handmaiden. She keeps saying no.”

      I like how men assume this would mean that they have more sex with more women, and more women to do their bidding, and it would be some kind of paradise.

      In reality, you’d be hounded ten fold into helping with the laundry, remembering to take the trash out, mowing the lawn, etc. It would be like having one wife but multiplied, all the demands and expectations.

    • George Christiansen says:

      I have a two year old and a five year old. Another woman in the house would mean someone else for my wife to talk to and then everyone would be ignoring me.

      I’ll wait until the kids are in college before I pop that question.

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    This is necessary, he said, because we live in a world in which “marriage is ridiculed, resented, rejected and redefined” (nailed the alliteration, didn’t he?).

    If he ever decides to become a Supervillain, he has his professional name and shtick:
    THE ALLITERATOR.

    One of his action steps to solve this problem was that Christians should:

    Develop small group courses to support marriage

    Increase Political Consciousness in Party Cells, Comrade.

    • Ronald Avra says:

      The knee jerk reaction that Rick Warren has to develop small group courses to address ‘whatever the issue/problem of the moment is,’ exemplifies the modern evangelical business model approach to flock management. The sheep are faceless entities that are merely to be coded with the proper programming and the the world will serenely go on. Anyone with a fetish for proper grammar has permission to attack the foregoing at will. Thanks for the satire, Chaplain Mike.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        The sheep are faceless entities that are merely to be coded with the proper programming and the the world will serenely go on.

        Just like New Soviet Man, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!

    • HUG said (quoting the article which was quoting Warren),

      This is necessary, he [Warren] said, because we live in a world in which “marriage is ridiculed, resented, rejected and redefined”

      I cannot believe that Warren thinks this is reality. I know that some liberal folks, including secular feminists, disdain marriage, but.

      However. I see the opposite. Evangelicals and other conservative Christians in particular make far too much out of marriage and the nuclear family.

      Marriage has been turned into a golden calf they worship, and they exclude any one from their inner circle who doesn’t marry and pop out a kid or two.

      There is absolutely no ridicule, rejection, or resentment of marriage by conservative Christians, and not by most right wing, socially conservative types (of which I am one, and I hang out on their sites and read their comments). Trust me, right wingers are actually in hyper drive support of marriage, not rejecting it or resenting it.

      They are pressuring other people out the yin yang to marry and pop out kids. They refuse to accept that the New Testament is fine with people being, or choosing to stay, single and/or childless.

  16. Good satire. Close enough to the reality of these types of “programs” to be recognizable and yet just enough off to be funny.

    Humor, especially satire, is a tricky thing. Not everyone will get it, and some will get offended. I remember attending This is Spinal Tap on opening night (yes, that’s how old I am). Half the audience was laughing their heads off, the other half stared at the screen blankly, some even fidgeted in anger. (“Are they making fun of heavy metal bands? How dare they!”)

    Just roll with it, folks.

    • +1

      On the Rick Warren angst: I didn’t think the post was really about Rick Warren, per se. All Warren did was repeat a standard evangelical script about how we need to promote and teach “Biblical marriage” or “Biblical family life” (etc). He is merely the voice in the news last week from the cacophony of evangelical voices repeating the same message. 9/10 of them believe that we need lots of small group Bible studies to promote this, and a good portion more want to invite us all to yet another marriage enrichment conference. Bible, bible, bible + psychology + workbooks + lots of effort = success in modern American marriage. (Who knew marriage was so HARD?)

      [About 25 people, some of whom I knew about 15 years ago, are pretty sure we need to dispense with the dating system and bring back arranged marriages. But everyone ignores those guys.]

      I took the satire to be about this much larger picture.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > we need lots of small group Bible studies to promote this

        This and every other issue. It is the silver bullet solution.

        > and a good portion more want to invite us all to yet another marriage enrichment conference

        Oh, Hell No!

        > Bible, bible, bible + psychology + workbooks + lots of effort =
        > success in modern American marriage.

        Oh… what, sorry… I dozed off.

        > (Who knew marriage was so HARD?)

        It is easier when they guy isn’t a jerk. I could teach one of these sessions in about three minutes flat.

        > [About 25 people, some of whom I knew about 15 years ago, are
        > pretty sure we need to dispense with the dating system

        Honestly, I think they may be on to something. Although I reserve the right to dissent from where it goes from there. Dating sucks.

        > and bring back arranged marriages. But everyone ignores those guys

        Isn’t that matchmaker.com? I’m OK with arraigned relationships – problem is who does the arraigning?

        • >Oh, Hell No!

          Adam, Adam, Adam, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a notebook full of lecture notes.

          This is very important: God established marriage at the beginning of time. Nothing has changed in all these years. However, your marriage will definitely fall apart in the next two weeks if you don’t feel a surge of inspiration, and purchase some helpful products.

          >Isn’t that matchmaker.com? I’m OK with arraigned relationships – problem is who does the arraigning?

          Well, the person I knew had a scheme in which God talks to all four parents of the people to be married, and then they tell their kids about it.

          It’s like the Isaac/Rebecca story, only infinitely more complicated. Better just to send the servant.

          >Dating sucks.
          >Isn’t that matchmaker.com? I’m OK with arraigned relationships – problem is who does the arraigning?

          This is a difficult question. Personally, I really having close friends, and I definitely like being married. But I hate awkward social situations, small talk, and vague yet somehow important social rituals. But I also hate other people running my life. These are incompatible opinions.

          So this is my hierarchy:

          Arranged marriage by parents < Dating < Arranged marriage by scientific criteria < The Magical Internet

          Yes, I met my husband on the internet about 11 years ago. It was the result of an experiment that got out of hand. (I used to monitor a very boring computer lab for extra money; stuff happens.) Visiting each other was so expensive, the poor fellow finally packed his dachshund into his Daewoo and drove to Indiana. We’d met all of three times in person.

          And now he’s trapped. The poor, poor schmuck.

          But it was awesome, yo, forget the advice books! They are written by crazy people.

      • @ Danielle said,

        “9/10 of them believe that we need lots of small group Bible studies to promote this, and a good portion more want to invite us all to yet another marriage enrichment conference.”
        Most strains of Christianity in America today are ALREADY promoting “Marriage and Family.”

        So I am at a loss with guys like Warren who thinks Christians need EVEN MORE exposure to “Marriage Is Awesome” lectures and conferences. (All caps used for emphasis, not screaming at anyone)

        Evangelicals and other Christians never shut up about The Traditional Family and never stop pushing Marriage And Family. It’s all they ever talk about, when not droning on about “How to fulfill God’s vision for your life,” or their practical “Ten steps to success at area X in your life.”

        I’m a celibate, childless, never-married woman, and so I tend to notice if or when a Christian personality offers a sermon or book on celibacy or singleness, and it’s rare. They always go the “marriage and kids” route.

        One of the funniest things I ever saw about this. There’s a TV preacher whose sermons are about marriage 99% of the time (but he doesn’t market or advertise himself as being all about marriage, but it’s almost all he talks about).

        In one sermon I saw, he actually informed his viewers not to make marriage into an idol. My mouth fell open.

        This guy has never, ever sermonized about singleness or celibacy, except to mention what has now become obligatory in preacher’s openings in sermons on marriage, which is,
        “Hey just because I’m preaching about marriage doesn’t mean you singles can’t get something out of this lesson today!”

        Anyway. This particular preacher makes almost every sermon about marriage, how to get along with your spouse, etc, but then actually advises the crowd in one sermon not to make marriage into an idol.

        Uh-huh. It’s a bit like a preacher giving a sermon every week about the greatness of chocolate cake and the yum-i-ness of doughnuts and cookies but telling his audience in one week’s sermon a year later not to become diabetic or obese.

        You sell this mindset every week, in 99% of your sermons, that people should love, adore, and work at “Topic X” – then scold people not to elevate “X” as much as you are encouraging them to do.

        Danielle said,

        ” if you don’t feel a surge of inspiration, and purchase some helpful products.”

        This same preacher I mentioned in this post, after one sermon on marriage he did, directed his viewers to his site where they could purchase the matching workbook, DVD, etc, of his marriage sermon.

        For kicks, I went to his site to check that page out.

        That preacher not only had the DVDs and books related to his marriage sermon series, but was selling “His and Her” coffee mugs, with some kind of caption that these mugs would help marriages stay together.

        For realz. He was marketing the mugs as a way that could help troubled marriages. Who knew that coffee mugs could be so powerful?

        • Sorry, I messed up my block quote tags above. I hope everyone can tell my comments apart from Danielle’s

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Humor, especially satire, is a tricky thing. Not everyone will get it, and some will get offended. I remember attending This is Spinal Tap on opening night (yes, that’s how old I am).

      One word: STONEHENGE!

      • “I think that the problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.”

    • Rick, when I watched Spinal Tap in the theater, someone actually rolled in the aisle. Really. As well he should have.

  17. brianthedad says:

    Thanks, Chap Mike! This is much better than the courses that I thought would come out of my comment on Saturday! Keep up the good work.

  18. Who knew that nudist beaches and nudist colonies were Biblical?!?! Not I. I will set up our next church retreat at one!

  19. I’ve seen all sorts of variations of this posted by more progressive friends as a “gotcha!” to those who espouse ‘Biblical’ marriage. Of course, the philosophical error in this assumes that more conservative folks simply read something in the Bible and think, “Aha, I must go and do likewise”. It’s the fallacy of deriving an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’. Margaret Atwood makes this mistake the driving premise of her “The Handmaid’s Tale,” thereby terrifying tens of freshman English majors into thinking that their fate may include child producing concubinage if they don’t do something about it right now. That no Christian group, ever, has read the Bible this way is no impediment to the argument.

    The more interesting question is, of course, how did the early Church so rapidly settle on “one man one woman for life”? I’m not aware of a lot of discussion in the Fathers regarding this. Most likely, the “is” they chose to make an “ought” is the relationship of Christ and the Church laid out in the NT. Of course, this then makes the role of the Church in interpreting the Bible paramount, which is sort of a problem for some Protestants.

    BTW, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen was a sermon series on Song of Solomon that reduced the wild eroticism (in the old sense of the word, not the pornified version we put up with today) of the book to a series of Power Point slides on relationship tips. By Grabthar’s Hammer, it was awful.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Margaret Atwood makes this mistake the driving premise of her “The Handmaid’s Tale,” thereby terrifying tens of freshman English majors into thinking that their fate may include child producing concubinage if they don’t do something about it right now. That no Christian group, ever, has read the Bible this way is no impediment to the argument.

      “NO Christian group, ever, has read the Bible this way”?

      Take a look through the archives of The Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board, and Homeschool Anonymous sometime. There’s lots of them out there, including some whose idea of a Christian America and male-female relationship IS straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale.

      • Really? Sterile marriage and concubinage? I thought I knew about of lot of weird corners of the Christian world, but I’ve missed that one. I’ve run across the “Me Tarzan you Baby making machine” once or twice in person.

        I was more expecting someone to point out Mormon polygamy for the first decades of the LDS.

    • Mt Dave said,

      That no Christian group, ever, has read the Bible this way is no impediment to the argument.

      But some in fact do.

      And bear in mind, I am right wing and don’t agree with homosexual behavior, nor am I in support per se of the legalization of homosexual marriage.

      Please go in search of blogs and forums by ex-Quiverfull women. These are women who were raised in Christian families who believe in what is termed “Quivering.” They are taught it is their duty to pop out tons of babies, and birth control is EVIL and ungodly and should never be used.

      I do agree that a lot of liberal Christians and politically liberal types (who support homosexuality and excuse it at every turn) are guilty of sloppy argumentation vis a vis the Bible, it does remain that there are in fact some crack pot Christian enclaves who do believe women are obligated to marry very young and have lots of kids. Women are viewed as baby making machines by these guys, and these guys think it’s BIBLICAL.

      One woman used to be a Christian and in a Quivering family but became an atheist. She now blogs about these topics quite a bit.

      I think this is her blog (I don’t agree with all her opinions on every topic, but I do not discount her experiences at the Quivering stuff or most of her criticisms of that movement),
      Love, Joy, and Feminism blog

      You might want to google around for the phrase “Ron Womb Tomb Swanson” for more.

      There are truly some very kooky, total flakes out there promoting sexist, weird ideas about women, marriage, dating, etc, and they are doing so in the name of Jesus. These groups claim their sexist, weird ideas have biblical support.

  20. Patrick Kyle says:

    I don’t know….. C’mon guys, ‘Biblical Marriage’ is not hard to define. One man and one woman,together for the rest of their lives, made one flesh through sexual union. Don’t try to feed me the BS about all the dysfunctional relationships in the OT. So what.. Those are DESCRIPTIVE, not PRESCRIPTIVE. Attempts to legitimize or to use those examples as some kind of license/justification/excuse for other ‘arrangements’ or even for the sake of argument are indicative of a massive failure of reading comprehension.

    Families are struggling in a culture that is radically changing. The ideology that people of the same sex can be married in the same way as heterosexuals needs to be strongly answered and repudiated by the Church. (Note: I am all for civil unions and full legal protections for gay couples, so spare me the lies and the ad hominems that I am ‘homophobic.’ Disagreeing is not the same as hate, regardless of what our culture now says.)
    So most people here disagree with Warren and the Pope, and think their efforts worthy of mockery. Even if I have my disagreements with them, I say good on them, at least they are trying to confront these things and come up with some helpful answers.

    Anyone can tear down, but who can build up?

    • Patrick, I don’t know what you are reading, but I wrote this as one who has a traditional view of marriage and sexuality. That’s not really what is being skewered. It’s the uncritical biblicism and predictably programmatic response from the world of evangelicalism.

      • CM, this is this post:

        http://i.imgur.com/jL96t.jpg

        Reelin’ ’em in!

      • Patrick Kyle says:

        Mike H. Look to the words of Jesus and the Apostles concerning marriage and what are considered to be the ‘biblical options’ for marriage. Just because something is reported in the biblical record does not mean it has God’s stamp of approval. Usually the commands are pretty clear and the prohibitions can be found even if they don’t accompany a particular narrative.

        Jesus’ discourse about the man and woman becoming one flesh leaves little ambiguity as to what God’s plan for marriage is, kings and patriarchs not withstanding.

      • Patrick Kyle says:

        Sorry CM,

        The tenor of the comment threads the last couple weeks has left me a little tone deaf.

    • What else is descriptive and not prescriptive? Who gets to make that decision?

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Most literature, not just the Bible, is pretty easy to interpret in this regard. I’m sure we can all tell the difference between A1 and the OpEds in the NY Times.

        • Ok, but the Bible isn’t the NYT and it isn’t clear which is which. It isn’t uncommon to see people make timeless principles out of what others would consider to be prescriptive.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            Mike H. Look to the words of Jesus and the Apostles concerning marriage and what are considered to be the ‘biblical options’ for marriage. Just because something is reported in the biblical record does not mean it has God’s stamp of approval. Usually the commands are pretty clear and the prohibitions can be found even if they don’t accompany a particular narrative.

            Jesus’ discourse about the man and woman becoming one flesh leaves little ambiguity as to what God’s plan for marriage is, kings and patriarchs not withstanding.

          • Patrick, well said – and I don’t want to spiral into a how do we know anything discussion. What I took from the original post was the way that it highlighted (in fun) how a “biblical” view of marriage & relationships will heavily filter the “biblical” principles employed to force things to “work”, especially the OT. I find that fascinating because given the typical definition of inerrancy & authority, I just can’t determine the basis for doing so. If every word is equally authoritative and timelessly true there would be no need for this. But that isn’t what the Bible is and I think this is a good thing – this isn’t a problem with the Bible IMO. And I think that you intuitively recognize this because you jumped to the NT to settle it. Again, I don’t say that in a negative way. At times there are narratives that clearly aren’t meant to serve as examples – so maybe those ones are Bible as Handbook worthy. But we gloss over the nasty parts that ARE presented as good and praiseworthy because they can’t be made into principles that fit in with the bible as inerrant handbook framework. Things get blurry. How about the psalms – all of them? Proverbs? Prophets? I’m learning to acknowledge this aspect of the bible for what it is – not as something that needs to be hidden or explained away.

          • When I was in high school, a friend of mine blurted out “God damn!” in the middle of a conversation just as the principal passed by. She stopped and glared at him for his profanity, to which he responded, “It’s in the Bible! I read it, so I said it!” True story.

            Using the Old Testament to justify polygamy is kind of like that.
            Christians are bound by none of the Old Testament, except that which the New reaffirms.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Personally, I think it is pretty clear. The plain fact is that the majority of Christians for the majority of time and space have interpreted the Bible by selecting tiny snippets (often less than even a single verse) to post-hoc justify a good idea. The church fathers especially are full of this. Now entire volumes have been written on historical hermeneutics etc., so I won’t go any deeper there. The bottom line is that most of the disparity we see is not due to the Bible being “unclear” in terms of genre, but rather a wide variety of approaches toward using the Bible in the ethical life of the Church. My personal approach, which is similar to that espoused by the church fathers, is to begin with the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount and the teachings of Jesus, and then interpret anything else in Scripture through that lens.

    • @ Patrick said

      Don’t try to feed me the BS about all the dysfunctional relationships in the OT. So what.. Those are DESCRIPTIVE, not PRESCRIPTIVE. Attempts to legitimize or to use those examples as some kind of license/justification/excuse for other ‘arrangements’ or even for the sake of argument are indicative of a massive failure of reading comprehension.

      Please see my post one or two posts about yours in reply to MTDAVE.

      I agree that the marriages of the OT should not be a basis for how and why Christians marry today, but, it is a fact that some fringe, wacko self professing Christian groups do actually base their views and practice of marriage on what the Old Testament said.

      Some of these guys are very open about approving of the word “patriarchy” and its practice, and they want Christians in America today to live like OT patriarchal families, where father is the ultimate, supreme Boss Man in the family, and the woman exists only to pop out ten or more kids and serve Master Father Dad.

      It’s not just liberals who support homosexuality who are mucking around with the Bible and teaching weirdo things, its some very wing nut Christians who are doing so as well, but only in the opposite direction. And I find those Christians just as creepy as the liberals who are trying to argue that the Bible is peachy with homosexual behavior.

      • Yes. Let’s face it, the Bible is a dangerous book, and this danger is exacerbated by zeal without knowledge.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Some of these guys are very open about approving of the word “patriarchy” and its practice, and they want Christians in America today to live like OT patriarchal families…

        Didn’t “OT patriarchal families(TM)” include Plural Marriage(TM)?
        At least for those on top of the heap?

  21. Poor Isaac, hardly ever a mention or remembrance other than being listed in the middle of the Big Three. His ceremony with Rebekah consisted of taking her straight into his mother’s tent where, presumably, they, you know, did it. It doesn’t record whether or not he first said, “Nice to meet you.” Maybe that’s where Paul got the idea that it is better to marry than burn. If you think about it, if he had instead agreed with Paul that being married just wasn’t worth the hassle, Jesus wouldn’t have been born and we wouldn’t be here discussing this.

    And speaking of Jesus, I don’t believe there has been mention of his idea of a ceremony. When all the guests had drunk everything in sight and presumably were at least mellowed out if not feeling no pain, does Jesus pull out a gallon jug of Mad Dog? Not enough? How about a five gallon bucket full? No? How about a couple hundred gallons, barrels and barrels full of the best? John doesn’t say how this turned out, possibly because no one could remember. This may well have been more of his mother’s will than his Father’s. Jesus did say it wasn’t time to do this and might have been a little miffed at his mother’s insistence. You want more wine? Here!!! John does refer to it as a sign, tho he doesn’t say a sign of what.

    • If I had a friend who was doing that today, I’d certainly say it was a sign of something!

    • Vega Magnus says:

      BUT BUT BUT back then, wine was, like, super-diluted with water and it was totally just used to kill bacteria in the water, which the ancient people who did not have microscopes totally understood. They DID NOT GET DRUNK on the wine! Teetotalism has ALWAYS been the way Christians have viewed alcohol! Really!

      …Paraphrasing to an extent, of course, but that was the explanation given by my homeschool video teacher.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      “John doesn’t say how this turned out, possibly because no one could remember.”

      Brilliant line!!

  22. #1 Question/Objection on Lesson 1 – “But baby, it’s cold outside”
    Side point on Lesson 3 – “Abraham and Sarah… and Hagar”

  23. Lesson Seven (following Eyeore’s Lesson Six on Celibacy): Christ the Bridegroom, The Church the Bride.

    Learn how church congregants, as Christ’s bride, must get intimate with Christ, the bridegroom, which means, since Christ lives in each of us, getting intimate with each other. Breakout sessions will be held in Rooms 112-138.

  24. I sometimes intentionally avoid reading blog comments. These, however, are fantastic.

  25. Thank you for posting that article about the Nones in the side-bar. It’s a good start, and I hope others read it. But judging just from the comments on there, the same people will miss the point.

    Still…thank you.

  26. One of the jaw-dropping verses in Ruth was the blessing the elders have at her wedding:
    “Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD will give you by this young woman.” (?Ruth? ?4?:?12? NASB)

    When was the last wedding you attended where someone referenced Tamar and Judah in the toast to the happy couple’s biblical marriage?

    • Great find!

    • Sounds like the toast at a shotgun wedding.

    • Of course, the fun thing about it is these are the only ladies mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and ‘Uriah’s wife’ (she who must not be named, evidently), and Mary. The rest are too boring to mention, I guess.

      And then, in the Ruth story, lots of commentators are made squeamish by the knowledge that ‘feet’ in Hebrew could be a euphemism for ‘naughty bits’. So one interpretation has Ruth uncovering Boaz’s feet so he gets cold feet and wakes up, the other would be she uncovers him a little higher and the scene politely fades out as it would in an old movie. Freud would have a field day with the rest of the chapter, where Boaz sends her home heavily laden with his seed.

  27. Mark Regnerus, who claims to be a Christian and who works as a sociologist, is already advising single Christian to give up any standards they may have to marry Christian men who have porn abuse problems.

    He wrong about it on his blog:
    The Pornographic Double Bind by Mark Regnerus

    Is a Christian woman marrying a known, habitual porn use entering into a “biblical” marriage. IMHO, nope.

    I mean, if another woman wants to marry a guy with a porn habit, that’s her business, but I don’t see where these other Christians get off telling single Christian women to lower their standards because they are in a fret that marriage rates among Christians have fallen.

    But it’s interesting and disturbing to see how a lot of Christians are treating marriage like silly putty, to make it fit whatever mould they want, if it fits their agenda.

    • Let me fix this for you a little.

      Mark Regnerus, who claims to be a Christian and who works as a sociologist, is already advising single Christian to give up any standards they may have to marry Christian men who have sin problems.

      Is a Christian woman marrying a known, habitual sinner entering into a “biblical” marriage. IMHO, nope.

      I mean, if another woman wants to marry a sinner, that’s her business, but I don’t see where these other Christians get off telling single Christian women to lower their standards because they are in a fret that marriage rates among Christians have fallen.

      Now you know what many men see.

      Where’s the grace? All we see are holiness standards.

      Flog away.

      • @ StuartB

        You didn’t fix anything.

        Honey, if a woman chooses that porn use is a non negotiable for her, that’s her business. Christians should not be shaming women to drop their personal convictions because evangelicals are upset that marriage rates have fallen.

        I agree with single Christian men, who are celibate, who have written that they have no desire to marry a non-virgin woman. I don’t blame them. Some of these men go to churches where the preacher berates them and tries to guilt trip them into marrying the church’s single women who are pregnant outside of wedlock for the fifth time by a third baby daddy.

        These men, who are living sexually pure lives, resent being told they should marry the women who are getting repeatedly knocked up.

        You can forgive a man of his porn usage, it don’t mean you gotta consider that man marriage material – I sure don’t.

        I also choose not to marry men who are into bestiality (there was a big long article last week on one site about a married man – married to a woman – who also has sex with his pet horse once a month, and his wife knows it.)

        I also choose not to marry a man who is a pedophile or a serial killer. God can forgive these people of fondling children or killing people, doesn’t mean I gotta marry such men.

        • Faulty O-Ring says:

          comment deleted: inappropriate

        • Vega Magnus says:

          I certainly understand being hesitant to jump into a marriage with a woman who has several kids already. That is a unique situation that many are not equipped to deal with and it is not right for preachers to try to pressure men into said situations. However, I cannot endorse the men who across the board refuse to marry a non-virgin. It smacks of resentment towards the women (Assuming childless women here.) for “having fun” while the men did not, as if the women deserve some consequences for their past behavior while the men should be rewarded. (In other words, they feel entitled to a virgin because they did all the right things.) Yes, the women may not have done the right thing, but all it means is that they’ve sinned in a different manner than the men have over their lives. Waiting for marriage does not guarantee that one will be given a similarly celibate partner. Life isn’t “fair” sometimes, but even then, if you love someone, are convinced that said person will be faithful to you in marriage, and are reasonably certain that his/her sexual past won’t cause issues, then who really cares what his/her sexual past was like?

          • I’m mostly with you there, but I wasn’t growing up. That was a genuine ideological struggle for my adolescent self, and I’ve come down on it these two ways: “Who really cares what their past was like” is going too far. Lifelong exclusivity is a beautiful thing, when you can find it. But there are other, more important things. I’d rather have a wife with a history who shares my faith than a virgin unspotted who doesn’t. I could not have married someone with a sexual past who was committed to justifying themselves about it. To love Jesus is to hate sin.

            I remember having a conversation about it with a fundamentalist youth leader. His response was that he believed that in “God’s economy,” he could provide a suitable (sexually pure) life partner for all who strove to be one. But the truth of the matter is that nobody is sexually pure. There is no substitute for grace and forgiveness, but these are not the same as saying the past is irrelevant.

            Truth be told, not all my motives in pursuing sexual purity were truly pure. I was certainly sold a bucket full of ulterior motives for it, as the carrot to counter the stick of guilt and the fear of disease. Purity is a good thing, but it can become an idolatrous standard of self-righteousness when it is valued over the kind of unconditional love and acceptance which Christ gives to us.

      • Stuart and the rest of the guys here, thanks for saying things nicer than I could in response to what Daisy said about men and porn problems (and then going on to lumping it with bestiality…).

        As a woman who is married to a godly, amazing man who also struggles with the temptation of porn, I’m really, really offended by your opinion, Daisy, but you’re entitled to it. I’m going to leave it at that, as I can’t think of anything else to say that doesn’t amount to a personal attack or isn’t any better than the comments already left.

        • Just to add another feminine voice to the conversation….

          The word, “standard,” at least the way you are repeatedly invoking it, is a bad taskmaster. It divides people, it dumps opprobrium on all those who fall outside its boundaries, it creates a sanctified ‘us’ and contaminated ‘them,’ and it reduces people to the shadow cast by a single transgression. It gives people no quarter and no standing. It demands that people either sit atop pedestals or have their face planted in the dirt.

          I prefer having my two feet firmly on the ground.

          Dare I suggest that people is people? Or that minor and large problems alike (I’m not going to say how I categorize ‘porn usage’), while not without import, are best viewed as human foibles, and matters to which no one should be reduced and according to which no one should be categoriized? Dare I suggest that at the end of the day, more good is served by shrugging off some things, and getting a drink, and waiting for the sun to come up on another day? Or that humor may be an appropriate response? Seriously, nothing at which you can laugh can control you forever.

          Daisy, I realize this may sound like I’m shrugging off your moral concerns; I’m not. But I am saying that in regard those issues which we (the husband and I) have faced (I won’t say if its this or other matters, that detail is irrelevant), there is intimacy and security in knowing that your partner’s regard and love is not going to change; that all thoughts and issues can go ‘on the table’ and that one will see the other in their humanness–and keep looking.

          Neither porn use, nor lack of it, by men or women–nor any other issue, or lack of it–defines anybody.

    • George Christiansen says:

      Viewing porn may be a sin. It may be destructive. It may be dirty.

      It is not sex.

      Pretty sure the Bible speaks with one voice about sex being a shared act between two people.

  28. Well, Chaplain, you’ve found your true calling — comedy! I laughed all the way through this. Thanks for many chuckles.

  29. This has been one of the saddest threads I have read in a while. It started out on a slightly acerbic, yet funny note with CM’s lampoon of “biblical marriage’, but then it just devolved into invective against amorphous, unidentifiable evangelicals and then against male evangelicals in particular.

    Jesus shaped spirituality? I don’t believe He posted here today.

  30. Actually I meant Oscar. I usually agree with Miguel LOL

  31. George Christiansen says:

    I’ve always loved this song for it’s unflinching look at this sort of thing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9FkWlBuls8

    “Jacob, he loved Rachel and Rachel, she loved him
    And Leah was just there for dramatic effect
    Well it’s right there in the Bible, so it must not be a sin
    But it sure does seem like an awful dirty trick
    And her sky is just a petal pressed in a book of a memory
    Of the time he thought he loved her and they kissed
    And her friends say, “Ah, he’s a devil”
    But she says, “No, he is a dream”
    This is the world as best as I can remember it

    Now Jacob got two women and a whole house full of kids
    And he schemed his way back to the promised land
    And he finds it’s one thing to win ’em
    And it’s another to keep ’em content
    When he knows that he is only just one man
    And his sky’s an empty bottle and when he’s drunk the ocean dry
    Well he sails off three sheets to some reckless wind
    And his friends say, “Ain’t it awful”
    And he says, “No, I think it’s fine”
    And this is the world as best as I can remember it

    Now Rachel’s weeping for the children
    That she thought she could not bear
    And she bears a sorrow that she cannot hide
    And she wishes she was with them
    But she just looks and they’re not there
    Seems that love comes for just a moment
    And then it passes on by

    And her sky is just a bandit
    Swinging at the end of a hangman’s noose
    ‘Cause he stole the moon and must be made to pay for it
    And her friends say, “My, that’s tragic”
    She says, “Especially for the moon”
    And this is the world as best as I can remember it
    And this is the world as best as I can remember it”

    Poor moon, indeed.

  32. I’m seeing a special “Biblical” version of Naked and Afraid.
    One man, One woman. No clothes. Seven days in a beautiful garden. One forbidden fruit tree, and a really big snake lurking about on the property.
    Using plants for attire or killing and skinning the local wildlife for clothing will be allowed only after the forbidden fruit is eaten.
    Eating the snake will only be permitted if it is killed by the man stomping on its head.