I recently read a blog named a “letter to the church”. It represented a young person’s voice on the subject of gay marriage. There was palpable frustration in that letter that the Christian church of today is alienating young people because of its stance on gay marriage. This letter is my response.
Today’s world is full of mixed messages. We’re told that America is the greatest nation on earth, yet the struggle of the poor class to reach out of its situation seems more difficult than ever. We’re told to show respect for women, yet we see women portrayed in every lewd and offensive depiction imaginable. We’re told that hard work will ultimately pay off, yet untold numbers are being paid billions from a bankrupt national budget for not working.
How do you interpret those messages? How do you live a good life and follow the rules when it’s not clear those rules are based in something you can count on to be good and consistent?
One of the most painful mixed messages is the issue of violence in society. We’re told that if we remove the guns or the ammunition or the violent games that it will solve the horrible news reports we get almost daily of innocent victims being gunned down. At some level we all know the shallowness of this argument. Society is fractured at a fundamental level. Violence has soared in the last fifty years. People are disturbed at alarming levels. Passing a law involving a gun restriction of some kind is not going to change the trajectory.
Of all the mixed and even hypocritical messages today, none are worse than the one society sends out today about the institution of marriage. The institution of marriage is precious, we’re told, even holy. We should cherish this institution and preserve it. Yet we see very little in the way of cherishing when it comes to marriage today. Men and women divorce readily when problems arise. Greater and greater numbers skip the old fashioned, quaint “ritual” of getting married at all when deciding to make a decision to live their lives together. What is the meaning of marriage? Who even needs it?
Fast forward with me a few years into a fifteen year marriage. Lately I’ve been noticing things – small things, albeit – but important ones in the development of my children. Two days ago my nine year accidentally dropped a Cutco knife straight into my foot. How did Dad react? Well, I could have done better, but I could have done worse too. It was embarrassing explaining the hobble I had in my gait at work the next day. But this was an opportunity for a young boy to see how a grown man handles pain and forgiveness (which I managed to pull off fairly quickly). Where else should he learn this?
A week or so ago, I had a “birds and bees” talk with my twelve year old. Again, the outcome wasn’t one for the record books, but it got the job done. Again, a young man and his father at a small, but key turning point in the child’s development.
Zoom back now to the “getting married” phase of life. When my wife and I were first dating I asked her how she would raise kids. She would learn along the way was at least part of the answer. I wanted something more meaty, an exact philosophy. But over the years I’ve found truth in that answer. How do you respond when your nine year old accidentally stabs you in the foot? How do you give birds-and-bees talks to twelve year olds? A proper answer posed to a twenty four year old young man would be, “I have no clue!!!”
But finally this is where the sanctity of marriage comes in. The answer undoubtedly involves being loving. Patience and humor play an important role. But at some level the answer is that it involves a man and a woman learning as they go. There’s no playbook. There’s no perfect formula. But the ingredients for success start with a mom and a dad.
My heart goes out to the victims of gun violence. But my heart goes out to the disturbed perpetrators too. What kind of dysfunctional homes were they raised in? What did their dad do to them when they dropped a knife in his foot? Was he even in the picture?
Marriage is still a vital institution today and always will be. It’s primary role is to safeguard the environment in which children are raised. Without being antagonistic toward the homosexual community, we must stand up for what marriage needs to be and work in our own lives to preserve it and be true to the role it should play in society.