Archive for March, 2013

pontius pilate & jesusIt is Good Friday.  I am thinking about courts of law… and truth.

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Pilate asked,

What is truth?”

There are Pilates everywhere.  They say that truth is “whatever you want it to be.”  There is “my truth” and “your truth.”

So, on this Good Friday I have the answer to Pilate’s question.  It is the only answer that will serve the good of self and others.  It is the answer for ethics, relationships, and courts of law.   What is truth?

Jesus Christ is Truth.

A truth by any other name is shifting sand.

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bride & groom in countryMarriage is what it is.  Define it any other way and it is not.  Those who want to experiment with a different kind of arrangement should come up with a new word.  “Marriage” is already taken.

Marriage is defined by the One who created it.  That would be God.

Marriage is time-honored for a reason.  It benefits men, women, children and civilization itself.

Marriage, reasoned the Greeks, was upheld for the good of the state.

Proponents of homosexuality often point to ancient Greece as a culture that embraced men with men and women with women.   But Robert R. Reilly, writing for MercatorNet (3-11-13), has helped me understand that the great classical philosophers would have regarded such pairings as destructive for society.  Socrates and Plato condemned homosexual acts as “unnatural.”  The notion that someone was a “homosexual” for life — or found his identity in this behavior — would have struck them as quite odd.  The practice of sodomy was accepted between an adult male and a young boy, but only temporarily because the youth was expected to get married and start a family as soon as he reached maturity.

Plato called the act of men with men “contrary to nature” and “due to unbridled lust.”  Socrates loathed sodomy, noting that it is the practice of one enslaved to his passions rather than one who seeks the good of others.  “The lesson,” writes Reilly, “is clear.  Once Eros is released from the bonds of family . . . passions can possess the soul.  Giving in to them is a form of madness because erotic desire is not directed toward any end that can satisfy it.  It is insatiable.”

“That which causes evil in the soul,” said Plato, will ultimately result in political disorder.   Plato understood the unbridled practice of sodomy to cause such evil and, thus, bring chaos to a nation built on order and logic.

It is for this reason that Greek philosophers spoke of the virtues of chastity and procreation within marriage.  Aristotle described man and woman together in family without which the rest of society cannot exist.

Reilly explains, “Without family, there are no villages, which are associations of families, and without villages, there is no polis.  ‘Every state is [primarily] composed of households,’ Aristotle asserts.  In other words, without households – meaning husbands and wives together in families – there is no state.  In this sense, the family is the pre-political institution.  The state does not make marriage possible; marriage makes the state possible.  Homosexual marriage would have struck Aristotle as an absurdity since you could not found a polity on its necessarily sterile relations.  This is why the state has a legitimate interest in marriage, because, without it, it has no future.”

The Greeks understood the importance of marriage which is, as they saw it, the pairing of male and female as husband and wife.  With that in mind, Reilly explains, “then chastity becomes the indispensable political principle because it is the virtue which regulates and makes possible the family – the cornerstone unit of the polis.  Without the practice of this virtue, the family becomes inconceivable.  Without it, the family disintegrates.”

“Homosexual” marriage, to Aristotle, would have been a self-contradiction.  Perhaps that is why the word “homosexuality” did not exist in Greek, or any other language, until the late 19th century.  Why would it?  Truth dictates that “homosexual” is an oxymoron.

Jesus is Truth.  He is also Love and Life.  He instituted the agape love of marriage so that life might abound.  He mourns the consequences of sinful choices.  He does not rejoice in the pain that comes from confusion and slavery to selfish passion.  But, He is faithful to the repentant who call upon His name.

Sin deceives.  It distorts the meaning of love and alters relationships.  But, the wisdom of Truth prevails.

The Greeks might not have acknowledged the source of truth, but they saw the wisdom of it.

Appreciation to Robert R. Reilly, MercatorNet, 3-11-2013

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older coupleIt has been said that we are the sum total of all that we’ve experienced.  But, if we have no memory, are we less human?

What makes me “me” and you “you?”  Is it how we look?  What we do?  What we say?  But, what if we are not beautiful in the eyes of the beholder?  What if we can’t do anything?  What if we can’t speak?  Are we, then, less human?

Gary is my friend.  He is married to Dena, the love of his life, but theirs has become a journey of bitter terror, cureless medicines, and lost conversations.  Over 30 years ago, radiation was used to remove a tumor from Dena’s optic nerve.  Her brain compensated… for a while; then gradually Dena settled into a child-like dependence on her husband.  Gary explains that with darkness comes anxious wakefulness.  “If she sleeps, what more will she forget?”

Memories once shared are replaced with excruciating embarrassment.  Has all that made my friend’s wife “human” been snatched away?

There are those who think so.  For some, losing their memory is the death of personhood.

I do not agree.  Dena’s personhood – her very identity – is not her memory.  Nor is it her appearance, her health or, for that matter, her sexuality.

Dena’s identity is this: She is a creation of God and a treasure of Jesus Christ.  Dena’s identity never changes, no matter the circumstances of her life.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if we remember who we are.  What matters is Whose we are.  The Creator and Redeemer of our lives will never forget His own.

Nor does He forget those who are faithful in caring for His own.

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older couple on beachWhat is marriage?

When do we stop mentoring the truth about marriage?

I submit for your consideration a strange phenomenon.  An increasing number of older men and women are moving in together.  But, it appears to me that their rationale is fear-based.  Perhaps their spouse has died.  They don’t want to be alone.  Financially, it seems practical not to marry and, instead, live together.  Perhaps it seems less complicated to keep their business affairs separate for the sake of their children and grandchildren.  Perhaps insurance coverage or a life-savings will be better protected if they just cohabitate.  After all, it isn’t so much about sex as it is companionship and being a couple in a “couple’s world.”

So, what is a cohabitating senior, especially a cohabitating Christian senior, saying about marriage?

Is marriage all about the joys of pro-creational sex?  Or is it more?

Marriage, from a Biblical worldview, is the practice of generational faithfulness.  It is the union of one man and one woman with all that they uniquely bring into partnership for the benefit of family and community.  In God’s words, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18 ESV).

We tell young people not to live together because marriage, more than anything else, is for the benefit of children.  God knows and evidence proves that if a man and a woman have a child, that child will do better when raised by a father and mother who are committed to one another in the life-long relationship of marriage.  Son or daughter will benefit from seeing the vocations of male and female played out in the home.  If a man and woman are married but cannot bear their own or adopt children, they remain an example to nieces, nephews, and neighboring children that marriage is a meaningful union that strengthens society.  It is one man committing to unselfishly love, partner with, and guard one woman under God.  It is one woman committing to unselfishly respect, partner with, and complete one man under God.  It is intimacy… far beyond the sexual.

So, what is an older couple who chooses to live together saying about marriage?

Are they saying that God’s institution of marriage is important for young people but not for those over 65?

Are they saying that one marriage was good and, out of loyalty to their first spouse, they won’t marry again?

Are they saying that financial stability and not God’s design is in their better interest?

Are they saying that marriage is all about sex and if they sleep in different beds then living together is no big deal?

Are they saying that they no longer need to set an example for children, grandchildren, or any child in the neighborhood?

Is the man saying there’s no need to guard his woman’s reputation and cover her with his name?

Is the woman saying she doesn’t need to help and complete her man?

When do we stop mentoring generational faithfulness?

Can you tell me?

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