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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, August 27, 2012

So you want to get married?

My wife performed a wedding this weekend, and she and I went to both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception. After 24 hours of working my schedule around a wedding for whom I knew none of the people involved (don't worry, I have decent social skills, and I'm a Vikings fan so I can always act appropriately hopeful), I have to say I had a good time.

The venues for the meals were great (the clubhouse of TD Ameritrade Stadium, the Joslyn Castle), the food itself was tasty--and the NY Sirloin was a perfect medium rare), and the booze was complimentary. The wedding couple was charming, and most of the guest had seen "Wedding Crashers" so over-the-top dancing was a great source of entertainment. But still, as good as this getting married worth it?

(Disclaimer: I have been married for 24 years to the same woman. Pray for her.)

In a world where we often don't live in the same places we were raised, a world where there are 7 billion people, where technology exists to continue the human race, what is the point of marriage? Clearly God doesn't care about it. I've performed about 400 weddings in my career, and if God has a preference, I certainly haven't seen any evidence for it...and the Christian tradition has never done more than rubber-stamp marriage to whatever society wishes. (This is why there will be gay marriage in this country no matter what some Christians say: Christianity has no stake in the institution of marriage--Christianity cares about relationships. And you do not need marriage to have a relationship, simple as that as to why we will have gay marriage eventually. It may take awhile for society to decide for gay marriage--it is a new proposal after all and takes some getting used to--, but once it does, Christianity will fall in line...guaranteed.)

So why get married? I would say it is to have a chance to learn what relationships are all about. Can you learn what relationships are all about without getting married? You bet! But I couldn't have...I needed a marriage to learn what it means to love in spite of not liking someone, to compromise on compromises because things change, to look into the eyes of someone who you know a bit and realize you don't know her all yet, and there is still something more to be loved. I needed a marriage to know that God exists, and that if a woman can love me (I am a traditional male in this sense), maybe God can too.

I don't know if I could have learned about sacrifice and suffering, love and caring, compassion, and commitment without being married, but I do know I learned and lived that stuff in marriage. I have had the great pleasure of meeting a tremendous number of people in my life...and only two have I ever wanted to marry...I am blessed to have so many great friends who have taught me so much about the world, how God loves it, and why we should care about it. I have no greater gift than their friendship, their trust, and their love...and I am even more blessed to have as one of those friends the woman I married. She is the greatest gift I ever got.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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