Still running for the cheese (or why this blog still exists)

As my regular readers can tell, this has been a dry year for me. Just look at the number of posts this year vs. 2008! Awhile back, I had considered either shutting down the Maze, or starting a new blog that would more accurately reflect where I am in life now. Truth be told, sometimes I come here, look around, and feel distinctly hypocrytical about the things I want to write. I'm sure I'm not the only one to ever be in that kind of place.
As the time in between posts has grown longer, I came to realize something. Without the past years' material, where I am now makes very little sense. What good is the destination without the journey? As Christians, so much of the best stuff that happens to us is in the times God is molding us to His image. To throw away the evidence of that process would somehow cheapen the result, I think.
So, here we are, dear friends. I think my little mousie may just have rounded a corner finally. Some things will change around here to reflect the changes in my heart. And you know what? That's ok. As much as I typically rage against anything changed in my life, I'm learning to accept the God-given ones. My prayer is that some of you may be encouraged by what you read here. Hey, you may even be challenged. And of course, if you know me, then you know you always stand a good chance of being offended too. Not intentionally, to be sure! Just know that what you find as you wander this Maze with me may surprise you as much as it does me.

All that to say this:

Welcome to

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Church heathen

1st, props if you know the song I stole the title from. Bow Down Wave
2nd, this topic has been swirling through my mind goo for a few weeks now. It's pretty hot button, so it'll fit perfectly here.
I'm quoting from a friend's post on my message board. While I love what she said further on (it really REALLY challenges the way we as a church treat sin/sinners), I'm completely enamored of the basic concept as well.

You know what? Divorce makes me sick. It is an abomination!! It is unnatural! How do you take apart two people when they have been made one! God actually says in the bible that he hates divorce! And it is SO SICK, there are divorced people at my CHURCH! And you know what, we can't preach against divorce because it might offend them, and if we offend them we can get sued! But some pastors even preach that divorce is okay! UGH. The divorced people are hindering church for the rest of us. And you know what is worse? They are teaching my kids in school that divorce is OKAY! Even some of the TEACHERS are divorced!! Isn't the disgusting? There are tons of parents in my kids class that are divorced too... it just makes me so sick, I wish there was a law banning divorce!

Now think about that for a second. Shocked
That rant should sound familiar to anyone who has ever attended church. Simply insert the word "homosexual" wherever you see "divorce".
Hmmm. Makes you sit back, doesn't it?
While my dear Snarfy had a fantastic point, I want to address the original point.
What if, just what if, we as a church body actually did take a radical stand against divorce? Hmmm, wait, I know the church prefers "pro" stand points. So, what if we became passionately pro-marriage?
I don't mean making sure that no one besides heterosexual couples can marry. Currently, that's the stand we as a people of faith take. I mean making divorce the life destroying sin that it is. Divorce is not a choice to toss around so flippantly as we currently do. I see nowhere in God's word that says it's fine to split if you no longer get along. Hell, even abuse is not a reason to divorce! And frankly, what with the Jon and Kate scandal, let's remember that even adultery is not a reason to divorce. We are "allowed" divorce for unfaithfulness because of the hardness of our hearts. Pretty sad, huh? Isn't it far better to pray for a softening of the marriage partners' hearts unto reconciliation?
Matthew 19
1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
7"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
8Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
10The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
11Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
Now it's not as though I have no clue what I'm talking about. Mr. P. and I very nearly divorced. I cheated on him! Yet here we are today, strong in our marriage with our hearts joined to each other as it should be.
What if we stopped teaching our kids that divorce is an option? Ya know, we tell them that by the example we set in our own lives. What do you think marriage would look like if we taught our kids this simple concept?
We as a church say that marriage is a living example of Christ's relationship with us. Oh really? Do you think He'd ditch us and ask for alimony? Frankly, we all cheat on the Lord all the time. Too much time online? Coveting your neighbor's green lawn and nice new Lincoln? Perhaps obsessing over your charts and spending all your waking thoughts desiring the next blessing? ( Blushy 4) All these are examples of giving our love, devotion, and attention to something other than our Husband. Yet, He never leaves us by the wayside. Why, if we're saying that our marriages are pictures of this beauty, would we ever consider divorce for any reason at all? Why would we allow our kids to think it's an "acceptable sin"?
No sin is worse than any other. However, in the church we've come to a place where some are considered by us fallible mortals to be far more deserving of our venom or passion than others. And that, Dear Reader, has contributed to the dividing line between "Body parts". When the mouth is no longer speaking with the eyes, and the hand has not a thing to do with the foot, where do we end up?
A bunch of church heathens, gossiping in the pews.
Just think on it for a bit. If we treated divorcees half as poorly as we treated homosexuals, then how would outsiders look at us? And if we took a stand and lived what we preached, then how would they see us?

Til next squeak,

3 Squeaks from the Maze:

Laurie said...

1) This is an awesome post (!!) that deserves attention, serious consideration, and action (in every "Christian" home and church across our nation).

2) We need to be mindful of the difference between living in sin and living with a sinful past. We all live with a sinful past of one shade or another. Do we acknowledge it as sin? Have we repented of it and sought to mend that which was broken? Do we live today in obedience so as not to repeat the sins of the past? Or do we shrug our shoulders and give a shout-out to God for loving us as we are, imperfections and all?

This nation will see healthier churches when it's sanctuaries are filled with more disciples... even if that means less people total.

Cat. said...

In very many cases, "divorce" (the legal paperwork and mumbo-jumbo) is just the coda to a marriage that has been over, in substance, for some time before. I'm not talking about 'cheating' once, or one argument, or one slap on the back of the head. I'm talking about taking the vows that were made at the beginning of the marriage -- Love. Honor. Cherish. -- and throwing them in the mud and stomping around on them with both feet. If that's been going on, with no serious remorse and work toward recovering them, the marriage is O.V.E.R.

I do not want to go back to my childhood when people left my church because we dared to hire a pastor who was divorced. It was not his choice to divorce, he had already lost his previous pastoring job because his wife left him, and my parents argued at home about leaving too. But without that man helming our church I would be dead to Christ in many ways today.

That's one testimony. There are others: the wife who drank so heavily that she doesn't remember the names of the men with whom she went home from the bar while her husband was out of town on business. The husband who put his wife in a coma after years of beatings. The wife who had nothing positive to say about her husband, dissing him in every way, but saving the worst of her vituperative comments to be voiced in front of their kids.

There is no marriage in any of those cases. Divorce has already occurred.

[Divorce isn't, necessarily, permanent. I mean, look at Liz Taylor (among others) who remarried one of her husbands after they divorced.]

That's not to say that any marriage is beyond hope or God's help. Neither is a marriage only defined by two people living under the same roof with a piece of paper.

I hate to be vehement about this, and God knows that in my extended family there has only been one divorce out of eight marriages, so I'm not exactly an expert. But wow do I have some insight on some fubar marriages among my friends (none of whom are/have been divorced).

But this is a wonderful discussion point. I'm always hopeful when we Christians can talk over differences and still love each other.


Mrs. P. said...

Cat, I totally disagree with you. Lovingly, but still. Heheheh.

I've got a testimony for you too. Mr. P.'s mom never married. My own hubby never saw a good example of what a marriage should be. My own parents were certainly not a shining example of marital bliss either. Dad drank heavily, beat all of us including my mom. That's just the tip. When Mom left him, it was because he'd tried to kill her. Literally. Knife to her throat and all.
Now, having said that, people who are products of bad marriages can certainly go on to have good ones of their own. Saying a marriage never was, simply because of the bad choices and behaviors of the marriage partners is a cop out. For us in the Church, marriage has to be for life or we're throwing away our testimony. As I said in my OP, we cheat on the Lord all the time. Frankly, having been this kinda person myself, I think there certainly are people who would pop God in the face if we could.
The Bible is very clear. Marriage, regardless of the spouses choices or mistakes, is to be permanent. It's supposed to be a reflection of Christ's love for us. How would Christians feel if the Bible said Jesus is only our Savior so long as the spark is still there, or so long as we're absolutely sure that we meant it when we made our commitment to Him? If Christ "sticks closer than a brother", and has promised to never leave or forsake us, then we can faithfully apply that to our marriages.
Honestly, I think part of the problem with rappant divorce both in and out of the Church goes back to our children. If we're not standing up and teaching them that marriage is forever, that you can't just walk out when the going gets tough, and that irregardless of what situation you and your spouse are in, you're in in it together for His glory, then what do we expect to happen? I'm not a proponent of courtship, however if we took some of those principles to heart, I think we'd see an improvement. Marriage is just taken too lightly these days. The dating culture has made sure of that.

Anyway, I've gotta dash to do some wash. Time and laundry wait for no woman!

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