Monday, June 8, 2009

More Pseudogamy

More Esolen on marriage:

Pseudogamy 104 - Egalitarianism in marriage is fiction. The difference between men and women is not a matter of mere reproductive hardware. Masculinity and femininity are unique gifts from God and not to be discarded in favor of some contrived sameness.
Pseudogamy 105 - Happiness comes from the commitment to love, not the option to divorce. Your marriage vows are not said with some reservation that, if things don't go as well as planned, the vows can be broken. Breaking them is not an option.
Pseudogamy 106 - The same kind of mindset produces economic instability as produces divorce. When one's word (whether an economic pledge or a marital vow) is noly good inasmuch as it benefits the one pledging, it's no good. My entering into marriage is not meant to bring benefit to me but to my spouse. Likewise, an economy only functions effectively if people understand their work to bring to others what they need and want.
Pseudogamy 107 - What happened to community? We've become transient: "In a sense, easy divorce is a function of the more general and heart-dampening transience. We don't tend the land with care; we treat animals as if they were no more than meat-making machines; we ship our children off to day-asylums and then to school, and when they are not at school we leave them in the care of Hollywood; we don't know our neighbors; and we, surprise, surprise, uphold no-fault divorce. That last is the stake in the community's heart. It is transience in the most intimate relation we know on earth."

More to come...


prayeramedic said...

Along these lines, what are the Lutheran views on divorce and remarriage, in a nutshell?

Pastor Jeff Hemmer said...

What does Jesus say: "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." (Mt. 19:4-6).

Jesus quotes from Genesis the institution of marriage. Then He interprets the verse: what God has joined, man may not separate.

The Pharisees counter by telling Jesus that Moses permitted them to divorce their wives, but Jesus answers, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so" (v. 8).

Divorce procedes from the hardness of our hearts--i.e. sin. Divorce never happens without sin (although, as Jesus next goes on to mention, as in the case of adultery, only one person might be culpable).

Remarriage is trickier and more a matter of pastoral discretion. If divorced couples can be reconciled, they should be. Scripture gives these warnings about remarriage:

Matt 5:32- But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Luke 16:18- Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

The real problem is that marriage--even from the beginning--is a picture of Christ's relationship with His Church. He doesn't divorce her (although, given her adultery, her whoring after other gods, He certainly has a right to). Christian marriages, however imperfect, are modeled after this one perfect marriage.

prayeramedic said...

Thanks! Can you elaborate more on the "pastoral discretion" involved in remarriage? It seems the scriptures you used indicate that remarriage is never acceptable. Is this one of those areas in the Bible we simply disregard as culturally conditioned such as head coverings, or does the text forbid remarriage on the grounds of committing and causing to commit adultery?

Pastor Jeff Hemmer said...

Mostly it means there's not a cut-and-dry answer. It comes down applying Law and Gospel to each couple who's going through a divorce.

But an example may help: if a man cheats on his wife and they get divorced, she may remarry since she bears no fault in the divorce; he may not. If two people divorced for a mutually sinful reason ("we just grew apart") they should be reconciled to each other and the sinful divorce ended. If reconciliation is not possible (i.e. one person has already remarried), or if there are children out of marriage involved, it's far messier.

The bottom line is this: living impenitently is not living with faith. That's the danger of divorce (and any other willful sin): it destroys faith.

But absolution changes everything. Even the guy who's cheated on his wife and deplores his sin and begs for God's mercy is made sinless and new in Holy Absolution.

Pastor Jeff Hemmer said...

I should also mention that Touchstone is an ecumenical magazine with a conservative bent, not exclusively (or even partially) Lutheran. So it's noteworthy that there is broader consensus on the sinfulness of divorce than merely within denominational lines.