Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tim & Rob & Kristen & Me

I've spent the month of October preaching about marriage... and I'm not done yet. We've talked about:
  • not giving up (statistically, unhappiness in marriage now doesn't mean you'll be unhappy later)
  • biblical submission (which starts not with figuring out "who's in charge?" but with submitting to Christ)
  • being best friends (living out the 35+ "one another" commands toward each other)
  • speaking the truth in love (letting your spouse speak into your life)
In the next couple of weeks, I'll speak about:
  • the dangers of "keeping score"
  • the difference between consumer & covenant marriage (with a big tip o'the hat to Tim Keller for so succinctly writing/teaching on this)
Speaking of Tim Keller, a particular passage in his book, The Meaning of Marriage, has been nibbling at the edge of my brain since I read it... and while it's unlikely it'll make it into one of the upcoming sermons, I thought it would be worth sharing with you guys.
One of the most widely held beliefs in our culture today is that romantic love is all important in order to have a full life but that it almost never lasts. A second, related belief is that marriage should be based on romantic love. Taken together, these convictions lead to the conclusion that marriage & romance are essentially incompatible, that is it cruel to commit people to lifelong connection after the inevitable fading of romantic joy. 
I see the same thing Tim Keller sees - a culture that worships romantic love (just take a look at the public obsession with Rob Pattinson & Kristen Stewart) but is convinced that it will burn out and/or blow away. (Again, Rob & Kristen are worth referencing.)

Note: for those of you who live under a pop-culture rock, these two are the leads for the Twilight series of films whose off-screen relationship has been tabloid fodder for years. If you're older (than me, I guess), think Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor times ten.

Biblical marriage offers so much more than this. It's not devoid of passion or romance - for those who question that, your homework assignment is to read Song of Songs. In addition to those wonderful gifts of God, it is anchored in the love of Christ - a love the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes in this way:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
And it's not cruel to commit people to a lifetime of that kind of marriage... is it?

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