Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Marriage Revolution

Marriages are imploding all around me. In some cases I could see it coming for years ahead of time. In a few cases, it has been a surprise.

Simultaneously, the airways are filled with chatter and clamor about gay marriage. As a result, I've come to a conclusion.

I want to start a marriage revolution.

The revolution would focus on three essential tenets:
  1. Choosing the right person.
  2. For the right reason.
  3. At the right time.
How much better off would our nation be as a whole, and each of our families individually, if we truly focused on these three things?

What if we started training our children from toddlerhood right up until they are launched?

What if our high schools offered classes in relationship preparedness instead of "sex education"?

What if our churches helped people understand God's plan for spousal union from the pulpit and through formation classes, rather than in a few counseling sessions before the marriage service takes place?

It seems so simple.

Tell me; am I missing something?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sex, Premarital or Otherwise

I've been thinking about premarital sex.

A friend recently confessed that she has been struggling with the idea of it's sinfulness. She's been beating up on herself for a number of things, for quite a while. I'm worried that if she remains in her current circle of Christian thought, she could give up on the idea of Christianity completely. Or at least put it on hold. After all, how much self condemnation can a tender heart take before retreating?

And that would hurt the also tender heart of The One who loves her above all else.

Hear me friend: it's not what He wants.

I'm not going into a sermon on how the blood of Jesus washes all our sins away, past, present and future. Though that is true. I'm also not going to talk about how God judges our actions based on the condition of our hearts, and has sympathy for all of their aches and motives. Though that is also true.

Instead, I'm going to take on this one point: the "sinfulness" of premarital sex. (Desire is, after all, the focus of this blog.)

Here's my theory: I don't think that marriage is really at the heart of the issue. Don't get me wrong; I'm a big believer in the value and importance of sacraments. But our designer and creator does not desire that a document simply be issued by a priest or a justice of the peace, as a sort of sexual learner's permit. His will is not that you simply fill out the right paperwork and say the right responses at the proper time, then whoopee! On with the whoopee!

He wants instead for us to recognize the centrality of the act to our design. He wants us to engage in the fullness of our sexuality. And the fullness of anything can only take place and be complete in the context of love. Real love, which always has it's root in Him who is love.

All of us can look around and see countless marriages in which this is not the case. Which is terribly, terribly sad.

He wants to be in the act with us, to be the third strand in an eternal chord. He wants us to understand that our sexuality is one of the ways we are most sacred. It allows us to participate with Him in creating new life and new souls. He wants us to be one as the persons of the Trinity are one, and here on earth, sexual union in a sacred context brings us as close to that union as we can temporally achieve.

Peter Kreeft tells us that there will not be sex in heaven, because it won't be necessary. It will be superfluous. Our union then will be complete and whole. Full. Until then our unions will all be partial. But the sexual union, in the context of a sacred oneness with the other and with God Himself, is the closest we can get here and now.

Is some premarital sex sinful? I'm guessing yes. Are other cases of sex before marriage unitive in the sacred way that He intends sexuality to be? Undoubtedly.

So my advice to you, my sweet friend, is to stop worrying about sin, and start praying for the person who can enter into sexuality with our Lord as the third strand. Someone who will pray with you before, during, and after the acts of love take place.

Set your heart on achieving the fullness of what God has in store for you.

And above all, remember that He loves you, and there ain't nothin you can do about it.