Thursday, April 25, 2013

Part #2: Marriage: What Does the Covenant Mean?

Ready for the really bizarre?

Here’s a strange quote from a Christian leader on marriage:

“Let me get right to the point - the making of marriage has nothing to do with love."

"Love does not make two people married. According to the law of His Word, God,
who marries couples, does not marry them based on love.”
From “Marriage: What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
By Edward Ridenour*






Huh? Wait a minute, please…

Has there been anything more off-the-wall wrong than this? Claiming that “making a marriage has nothing to do with love”?*



Sometimes a reflection, meditation, article deeply moves one, invites one into the presence of God, and leads to a transformative change in my life,
BUT
such is NOT the case with Ridenour’s article.

Now keep in mind that Ridenour may be partially playing “gotcha,” using a hook attention-grabber, because later he does qualify his bizarre, untrue words: “Love that labors and is sacrificial is true marital love in its best form, and is "agape" (Godlike).
When a man and a woman come together and make a marriage, their underlying principle for making that marriage should not be for their own self-satisfaction, but to serve one another and God in that union, exemplify His love, and build His Kingdom. This is true love.”

Definitely yes and no.

It is true that much of what passes for “love” in modern society has little to do with love in the transcendent/compassionate/ultimate ethical sense.

But it is also true that much of what passes for “love” and “marriage” in Scripture, Christian history, and modern religious groups has little to do with love either.

If in doubt spend a couple of days researching “marriage” as practiced in parts of the Bible and in church history.

It’s enough to make any spiritual individual puke and wretch—just as Jesus is said to do with the false religious ways of so many humans (Revelation 3: 1-22)

For years now—at least 21 of them—I’ve been seeking clarification and insight on the meaning of the word and act called “marriage.”
But even after attending and participating in many weddings, after reading a tome of books, endless essays and biblical studies,
and spending a lot of time in prayer and reflection, I still am confused/uncertain/grieved--
seeking further clarification from the Light of God before I speak my mind with strong conviction.

So, if all that is true, why am I sticking out my neck now to have it chopped off repeatedly by all the opposing guillotines of modern dystopia,
by all the theological fire-breathers of various opposing camps from Indiana Yearly Meeting to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Let’s say, Ridenour made me do it;-)

Not that he’s the devil, but the latter is definitely in the details.

Well, maybe not; maybe in the end the truth of all this is only found in the ideal truths and essences, inherent in the ultimate love of God.

Now there’s an idea—that our finite minds aren’t the ultimate judge of truth, but God who is Love is.

As it says in Ephesians 4: “...walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love...
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ...” ESV

SO...before we can tackle the vital issue of marriage, what it means and what it doesn’t mean—
and set all the modern ethical jousters correct;-)—
we must first look at the definition of this wily character/characteristic/attribute/behavior/emotion/value/ethic/act called "love"



#1 Define the terms (what philosophers always emphasize so as to avoid semantic chaos like what is happening in modern secular society and religion).

Love:

love (n.)
Old English lufu "love, affection, friendliness," from Proto-Germanic *lubo (cf. Old High German liubi "joy," German Liebe "love;" Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob "praise;" Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs "dear, beloved").


The Germanic words are from PIE *leubh- "to care, desire, love" (cf. Latin lubet, later libet "pleases;" Sanskrit lubhyati "desires;" Old Church Slavonic l'ubu "dear, beloved;" Lithuanian liaupse "song of praise").

Meaning "a beloved person" is from early 13c. The sense "no score" (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of "playing for love," i.e. "for nothing" (1670s). Phrase for love or money "for anything" is attested from 1580s. Love seat is from 1904. Love-letter is attested from mid-13c.; love-song from early 14c.
To fall in love is attested from early 15c. To be in love with (someone) is from c.1500. To make love is from 1570s in the sense "pay amorous attention to;" as a euphemism for "have sex," it is attested from c.1950.
Love life "one's collective amorous activities" is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love affair is from 1590s. The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c. in reference to two who love each other well (c.1640) as well as two who have no love for each other (1620s).

love (v.)
Old English lufian "to love, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve," from Proto-Germanic *lubojan (cf. Old High German lubon, German lieben), from root of love (n.). Related: Loved; loving. Adjective Love-hate "ambivalent" is from 1937, originally a term in psychological jargon.
Online Etymology Dictionary


To Be Continued--

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


*Part 1 was published as “The Twisting…” April 2, 2013

* Well, maybe the twisting of God’s character and essence by modern Christian leaders who claim God is self-centered, that everything he does is for his own glory! How sick and totally wrong, as any reading of the NT will show. Try 1 John first.

* http://blogs.christianpost.com/marriage/marriage-whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-151/

9 comments:

Katya5 said...

Hi Dan,
Your article made me remember the thoughts I had just the other day on the this subject, but I see that you have the second part of the post already published, so maybe I will read that before saying anything. :) Thanks for an interesting post,
Katya

Daniel Wilcox said...

Hi Katya5,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Daniel

Katya5 said...

Hello again, Daniel,
It seems I have finally figured out what I wanted to say. It is a bit disturbing that someone who is supposed to be a pillar of spirituality denounces love in marriage - and speaks not only for himself, but also for god. On the other hand, I hear such statements from more people lately, including a few of my old friends... It seems they decided that love was "nothing but an illusion", love was "not real," that people simply "exaggerate attachments between the two sexes and call it love." In the end, they also say that marriage is a commitment based on honesty and mutual respect, and in the end is not unlike a financial arrangement, or exchanging goods and services.
Then, again, these are the same people who, in their youth (relatively) had a specific attitude towards love: they treated intimacy as if it was a game, "trading in" their partners for the ones more exciting, eager to get as much experience as possible, never really thinking about consequences for themselves or the others involved. I personally believe that, when you enter into an intimate relationship with someone (marriage, in this case), it has to be based on love. If not, by treating it like an "arrangement" the two people tap into the forces they don't understand and, in a way, damage themselves. The ultimate form of damage is confusion about feelings, such as denying the existence of love... Ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was generous with her gifts, but also punished those who rejected them. Well, that is their punishment: these people may have accepted too many gifts from her without gratitude...Now they are blind to love, and, if they also happen to be religious pillars, they try to proclaim it throughout the land as some twisted law...
There is, of course, another way to respond to them, much shorter, much more effective, and without touching up on religious/mythological patterns. Here it goes: "Just because you have not seen something, does not mean it does not exist."
Thanks again, Daniel. Have a good day. :)

Daniel Wilcox said...

Good Morning Katya5,

Thanks for sharing with clarity about your perspective on marriage and love.

I agree that it is disturbing how so many people distort and/or trivialize romantic love turning it into a self-centered barter.

Sorry I didn't see your comment until today, May 3rd.

In the Light,
Daniel

Anonymous said...

ddd

Edward Ridenour said...

I hope everyone who reads this will be generous enough to read my articles to see the true context of my theology, which this man does not depict accurately. I think Dan should have just been silent and not opened his mouth showing all his ignorance when it comes to Biblical marriage.

Edward Ridenour

Daniel Wilcox said...

Good evening Edward Ridenour,

How did I not "depict accurately"
your view?

I directly quoted your statement,"the making of marriage has nothing to do with love. Love does not make two people married. According to the law of His Word, God, who marries couples, does not marry them based on love.” !

But then I added that maybe this was more of a catchy introduction than your actual view, since you later qualified the opening statement. And I quoted your words here too:
“Love that labors and is sacrificial is true marital love in its best form, and is "agape" (Godlike). When a man and a woman come together and make a marriage, their underlying principle for making that marriage should not be for their own self-satisfaction, but to serve one another and God in that union, exemplify His love, and build His Kingdom. This is true love.”

Also, how am I "showing all his ignorance when it comes to Biblical marriage"?

It would seem that passages such as I Corinthians 13 and the Song of Songs and many other passages in the NT do support that marriage has everything to do with love and that God does marry humans for love.

God is essentially love as the NT says many places.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Edward Ridenour said...

Your depiction is that I am playing “gotcha” in my writings with no basis of reasoning for my statements, or that I contradict myself. I don’t play the “gotcha” game. I am very serious in what I present in all my writings that they are Biblically true, cohesive and relevant. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother to write.

Firstly, for a marriage to be made (created) before God, where two become one flesh, is not based upon love, but upon their sexually intimate encounter, regardless of their emotional dispositional view at the time of their joining, sexually. It is evident in both the O.T. with Jacob and Leah, as well as the N.T. with a man taking a harlot and becoming “one flesh” with her. There were no covenants or love involved with either. I emphasize much more regarding this concept, Biblically, in my articles, which delineate and articulate this marital theological position of mine. Viewed from your concept of marriage, your understanding is wrong. Therefore, your criticisms of me, using my quotes, is presented out of context, because it is based on your marital theology.

Secondly, love is a very important aspect, once (after) a marriage is made, for that marriage to be Godly and sacrificial. As I said, “When a man and a woman come together [sexual intimacy] and make a “legitimate” marriage, their underlying principle for making that marriage should not be for their own self-satisfaction…” There is nothing contradicting, unbiblical, or inconsistent between my statements. And definitely no “gotcha” mentality conveyed.

I just hope people will read my articles for themselves and not solely rely on your depictions and criticisms. If they will, then they will contextually know why I said what I said in these statements within the article.

Daniel Wilcox said...

Dear Edward Ridenour,
You said, "Your depiction is that I am playing “gotcha” in my writings with no basis of reasoning for my statements..."
means that I didn't make myself clear enough. When I used the word "gotcha" to describe your article's hook, I was referring to what ALL good writers do, what I taught all my students to do with their opening essay hook--capture the attention of the reader.

So that point of mine wasn't meant negatively.

Where I so strongly disagreed was with your theological-ethical meaning.

Secondly, you say "Firstly, for a marriage to be made (created) before God, where two become one flesh, is not based upon love, but upon their sexually intimate encounter..."
This is where I TOTALLY disagree with you--theologically, ethically, spiritually...

Your examples of Jacob and of a "man taking a harlot" weren't marriage as God intended! They were sinful distortions of the covenant which is to be centered in love. Jesus so clearly pointed this out.

Then you say, "Secondly, love is a very important aspect, once (after) a marriage is made.."

NO, marriage is to be wholly based in and on love--no other reason should ever be considered!

Love comes first, and then marriage.

It does appear that we totally disagree about marriage and Christian faith and love.

But I see now that I wasn't clear enough in my article.

Daniel Wilcox