Thursday, April 24, 2008

This is new for me, but...

I've finally jumped in. After years of avoiding this, and being pushed and shoved by people I meet and friends that are way ahead of me, I'm going for it... the weekly (or so) blog.

I plan on rambling about a current event, a comment I've heard (or received, those are sometimes more fun while usually more cutting), or something that has jumped out at me at the most random time. I am excited to have a forum where I can wonder aloud as well as hear from others about the things that matter.

So, for starters, this week... 2 thoughts:

I have just committed to meeting with four young men who are just beginning their careers in ministry. They are all, ahem, somewhat less than reverent (unless you confine that idea to God and the Kingdom, justice, peace, etc.), and fun/funny. They push and pull me, and I am grateful that these four men have the courage to go after life with an old guy who continues o circle the track. I'm sure I will learn more than they, but I do think that the Lord might have some gifts in store for them as well. Stay posted...

This week in class, a family ministry class, I was teaching on the importance of having a solid theology of marriage. An obvious subset is sex (okay, maybe not so obvious, but that's another blog), so we were working through a theology of sex. As I was wrapping up a hand shot up. The mid-twenties guy asked, "Are you saying it is immoral for two people who are committed and love each other to have sex?" (It seemed clear, at least to me, that he had probably heard me right but didn't like what I had said about the definition of "sexual immorality" from 1 Thessalonians 4:3f - anytime we engage in any level of sexual intimacy that is not grounded and surrounded by commitment, and for a relatively deep level of intimacy that meant marriage as instituted by God and reaffirmed by Jesus)

I didn't give him a quick or simple answer (I think, but ask some students), I said that the question doesn't work, for it redefines something that cannot be redefined: "commitment." Today committed means we're committed until we no longer are committed, and therefore the couple that uses that kind of rhetoric is actually just playing with the idea of love as opposed to actually embracing the kind of love God designed as the foundation of sexual intimacy. "In love" as applied today is actually a meaningless concept that doesn't offer any hope for the future, any roots, and trajectory. My marriage works because Dee and I said, "I promise" and we have lived that out every day even when hard, or painful, or lonely. If I'm not promising to be around if she gets cancer or I lose my hearing - or, as in the case of one friend, if I get Parkinson's, does she bail? - then I am neither "in love" or "committed." We use lots of words to mask indecision, lack of discipline, and selfish pushing. Sex only blesses when the beloved is totally safe and secure in the knowledge that I will be there. Otherwise, it is a destructive game of words.