Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More My Online Marriage Service

I was looking at my yahoo homepage and they featured a celebrity question. About 5,000 of us peasants answered one about education asked by, hmmmmmm, I think it was Oprah or someone like that. The readers chose the winning reply. And on that question, the winner got 41% of the vote. That's a lot considering the numbers with every post a potential vote-getter. The winner said the answer was (drumroll) "parents." He was a teacher himself who saw that parenting was the key in education. A no-brainer? Yes. But as a country we don't act or vote like it. Don't get me off on this one because this blog isn't about that. Who you marry will affect parenting, which influences children, which impacts their education. I believe that how we choose our mates more greatly affects all of this more than any single factor. I could take you through the problems it causes, but why not just start by asking what God wants. He does want something in this. We can see that in the text we began with in my last post, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.

If you were Paul and you had started and then been with a church for three weeks and then you wrote them your first letter and you had just a handful of things you wanted to tell them, would one of the topics be how to find a mate? Paul thought this was important enough to spend a significant percentage of his epistle on it. He writes in vv. 3, 4, "This is the will of God . . . that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour." You might say, "Possess his vessel is kind of a funny way to say it." Right. The preeminent lexicon for NT Greek, BDAG, gives as it's number one meaning of the Greek word translated "possess": "To gain possession of, procure for oneself, acquire, get." BDAG paraphrases: "Take a wife for himself." We don't normally speak of taking possession of our own bodies. That would be a very unusual sense of the word "acquire." He is speaking to the men, whether the single men or their fathers, and telling them that they need to learn how to obtain their life's mate. Well, the fathers didn't need another one, but they would have a lot to do with acquiring the one for their son (not speaking of any son in particular).

Using the word "vessel" puts an emphasis on the body. 1 Peter 3:7 states: "Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel." The wife is mainly physically weaker, and if she isn't, then Houston, we've got a problem. I've seen a few cases where the wife could beat up her husband, and it's not pretty (the abused husband crowd, please hold off on your letters). Close behind the body of the woman (no woman in particular) is her emotions. The woman is characteristically emotionally more fragile as well (you know you are tip-toeing when you use two long adverbs in a row; it's weak writing, folks). Paul begs these Thessalonian believers to get a Scriptural understanding on how to acquire a life's mate.

Do any of you think this is important? You could never tell by television, radio, newspaper, and magazine ads that this was a big deal. Not. How much hair care product, cologne, perfume, candy, restaurant, fuel, car, and clothing money is spent every year because of how people find their mates today? What do you think a major theme of television show, movies, and books is? What do you think high school and college aged people are thinking about the most? I remember attending a make-out session and a high school football game broke-out. Hardly anyone was watching the game. I call it the mating ritual. Watch the two peacocks strutting with outstretched feathers. They are not only not watching the game, but they also have a hard time doing their homework or listening to their teachers, and their parents; well, we have a failure to communicate.

Is that how it is supposed to be done? Not at all. That is all actually what the very next verse (v. 5) says not to do: "Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God." Whatever the way is, it is not to be in the lust of concupiscence. And you know what that is, so let's move on. Well maybe we'll look at it, but only for those in the Western Hemiphere. We could understand that last phrase as "the feeling of desire." In other words, our hormones are not to be choosing our life's mate. Good thing that isn't happening. Ooops. That's right. It is. I still do have certain lyrics that will pop into my mind, and I only use this illustratively, mind you, but "the look of love is in your eyes, the look which I can't descriiiiiiiiiibe." We are not to choose a life's mate based on feelings. That's the whole plan with dating.

Did I say dating?!?! That's where I'll start next time.


Michael McNeilly said...

Great article. Looking forward to more. I have never looked at that passage in that way before. I agree that the dating mentality is a detriment to Baptist churches and colleges. I did not know that you had so many royal guards ready to defend you at any time. J/k. It is nice ot know that someone has your back sometimes.

Juan Carlos Asmat said...

I think I am going to faint because I cannot believe what my eyes (yes! both of them) are reading. DATING!!!
DATE: a social engagement between two persons that often has a romantic character (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
I wonder, does it change its meaning when it has the word "Christian" before it???

Kent Brandenburg said...

Now Juan, Christian dating?

Daniel Kelso said...

Christian Dating, is that like Christian rock?

Derek Makri said...

My father-in-law paid me to take his daughter! Just kidding...definitely good stuff to ponder.

Just wondering, the verse says "that every one of you should know how to possess HIS vessel." The Bible does speak of keeping our bodies in subjection, and our own bodies are called earthen vessels. So the verse could be speaking of keeping our own bodies under control which is taught elsewhere in Scripture.

Either interpetation you take to, all that you wrote about could be gotten from the verse. Great food for thought. I think this is something we fathers need to teach our sons when the time is right.

A saying that I think could be added here is that how you get your mate is the way you will have to keep them. If a mate is obtained through wrong and worldly methods, then that is the kind of marriage you will have.

Bobby Mitchell, owcg said...

This is great. The gang's all here! If I close my eyes I can almost smell the smoke from the pine cones burning in the fire ring . . .

Could someone please tell Ross to stop staring?

Camp memories. Aaaaahhhhh.

Michael McNeilly said...

One question that I do have for you is about chaperones. I am 110% for having chaperones. Is it a traditional wisdom thing or can you see it in the Bible though?

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Ross sharing---

It hurts to think about it---

It seems like it must have been long on the long words in long phrases that were in long clauses as parts of long sentences---

Of course if you had the time to analyze it, it was probably all grammatically correct---

I'm sure the translator was just twiddling his thumbs waiting for him to finish so he could spit it out in a few simple words---

Then of course Ross would have to tell how much was lost in the translation and how really not a single word should have been left out---

Really, I hope everyone knows that I'm teasing "Ross."---

I truly appreciated him as a student and a scholar. His writing was always understandable. Which is more that I can say about the majority of college students. And more, it was enjoyable and worth reading.

I hope he never blogs---

The posts would probably be longer than Tim Dunkin's and Bob Hayton's put together :->

Kent Brandenburg said...

Chaperones are kind of an invention for dating, but during betrothal, this would be the good chaperone time.

Kent Brandenburg said...

derek, thanks. I think that the word possess/acquire/obtain is normally used concerning something outside of us. Yes, some people take it that way, but the application would be similar.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I agree Daniel and Juan, does putting Christian on the front of anything make it Christian. of course not.

Cathy McNabb said...

As for the weaker vessel and women, I appreciate the quote my mother in law would make "I may be smaller, but I make up with it with pure meanness" I think my mother in law rubbed off on me way too much