Welcome to a Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Here Is Our Order of Worship
If you are new to EChurch, please click on this link for an explanation
Thomas Aquinas(1225-1274) Classic Prayers link
O most merciful Lord, grant me Your grace, that it may be with me, and labor with me,
and persevere with me even to the end.
Grant that I may always desire and will that which is most acceptable and most dear to You.
Let Your will be mine, and my will ever follow Yours, and agree perfectly with it.
Grant to me, above all things that can be desired, to rest in You, and in You to have my heart at peace.
You are the true peace of the heart, You are its only rest; outside of You all things are hard and restless.
In this very peace, that is, in You, the one Chiefest Eternal Good, I will sleep and rest. Amen.”
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:4 (NASB Bible Gateway)
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
A Reflection on Prayer
C.S. Lewis Perfect Love link
Master they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it’s all a dream
One talker aping two.
The are half right, but not as they imagine;
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! The well’s are dry.
Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The listener’s role, and through
My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.
And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.
A.W. Tozer Classic Prayer
A.W. Tozer Prayers and Creeds link
O God, I have tasted Your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and mad me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God, I want to want You;
I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Your glory, I pray, that so I may know You indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul,
‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’
Then give me grace to rise and follow You
Up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
In Jesus name.
I’ve only listened to about one fifth of the Marriage/Sex sermon thus far (the video under the “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” heading).
He said in the video if you are 18 years old today, in college, and a virgin, you will likely be ridiculed for it, because our culture thinks it is weird to not have sex.
I don’t dispute that altogether (though occasionally, after confiding in Non Christian friends in my 30s I was still a virgin, waiting for marriage, they were impressed, or touched, or respected the fact – so there are some people who do respect it, but yes, it is widely mocked in our society).
Anyway, and this is where it gets real strange, the same negative attitudes towards virgins/virginity also comes up among Christians, including some preachers and Christian authors.
Yes, it does – despite all of Christendom’s professed respect for ‘sex is for marriage only’ concept, if you are past 30, not married, and still abstaining, you will be treated like a weirdo or failure by other Christians…
Including Al Mohler (who has said derogatory things about singles in articles /interviews, he blames singles for not marrying by age 20 and not reproducing), Debbie Maken (Christian author who believes in “marriage mandate,” that it is a duty for most all Christians to marry, have babies, it’s a sin to be single), and by other Christians and in blogs/magazines for Christians.
Christians do treat other Christian virgins and the nonMarried Christians like losers or sinners, not just the NonChristian culture.
Where are America’s virgins?
Discouraging the virtuous
That is written by a Christian author who discusses how even some Christians today mock, insult, and question virginity, and even mock/insult virginity among Christian virgins. (Yet they still tell teens to stay virgins until marriage – go figure.)
Other attacks against virginity until marriage (by both Christians and Non Christians) have been discussed and detailed in books for Christian singles by Christian singles.
This is one reason I cringe when I visit emergent, liberal Christian blogs where they claim “Christians make too much of virginity / sexual purity” -if only that were true; it is not, not among most evangelicals/ Baptists, etc.
If you are actually living sexual purity/virginity out, such as me, you get insulted by some quarters of Christian culture, who feel every one should marry by age 25 and have three to twenty children.
Some Christians think there is something suspect, off, or wrong with you, if you have not had sex or not married by some age or another.
Sexual purity is under criticism not just by Non Christians, but by some Christians too. (Preachers who aren’t into the bashing need to understand this fact and maybe discuss it more.)
I will have to listen the remainder of the sermon later. I really need to go out on a bike ride, and maybe do other things. If I watch the rest of it I might comment more later. 🙂
I listened to the rest of the video. It’s okay, I suppose, but for the ‘Gift of Singleness’ references, which are common in preaching about singlehood.
I don’t think the Bible actually speaks of “the gift of singleness,” and other Christians have pointed out in books about singlness that many Bible translations have mis-translated the verse that uses “gift” in the few spaces of singleness. I don’t remember the details of it, but that Bibles have translated it wrong.
And I can tell you that I most certainly do not regard my singleness as “a gift,” but as an annoying status of life I’d like to throw in the trash can and be done with.
He kind of says in the video that God will help you with biological urges if you turn to him at times or desire (if I understood him right) – in my experience, that has not been true.
And my sexual desires are not a ‘spiritual’ urge of wanting to get ‘close to God’ (and I’ve been close to God since childhood) but are honest to goodness sexual desires of wanting to be with a human guy in a sexual way.
I’m afraid this mindset (that God will help the single through any sexual desire) gets into mistaken Christian assumptions that God removes -supernaturally- all libido from un-married Christians.
That is not the case, not for myself or other singles I’ve talked to on other sites.
I’ve gotten this far on will power and conviction alone – not by any special powers from God. God did not remove my sexual desire or wish for stable human companionship from a romantic partner.
I wish preachers would, at the end of these things, tack on to their prayers:
“And Lord, we ask of you, for the never married, 40 year old Christian woman who has remained a virgin this long, hurry up and send her a spouse. Stop dragging your feet on this, and just meet her needs already.”
Haven’t heard one yet who has interceded for singles to get spouses.
If we are prayed for, preachers usually pray for us singles to “be content in their singleness,” or “to serve the Lord real good in their singleness,” and other such preachy- sounding spiritual things about singlehood. I don’t need contentment; I need a spouse, so pray for me a spouse instead, thank you.
I did see in the Duin book that when a group of Christians at one church did this sort of prayer for all singles in their church who desired marriage, and did this prayer for like six months, rates of marriage sky rocketed at that church, and then fell when those prayers stopped.
Those comments really moved me. How incredibly brave of you to be so open an honest. I appreciate your thoughts and heart.
You’ve got a heavy hitter on your side. See this speech by former president Jimmy Carter in HuffPo dated yesterday – 6/28/2013:
A couple sentences…
Daisy, your words brought me to tears. Thank you for speaking out so courageously and powerfully.
Same here, Daisy, thanks!
Hi Wade, just want to offer roundabout support for Daisy’s comments. (Your head is the one sticking up so you are designated.)
Yes, the Stars&Stripes is a symbol, an inanimate object that indicates a particular nation. The US nation is not made true because of its flag, which is only a bit of dyed cloth. The flag functions as a pointer to the real thing, the nation.
But I don’t think the idea of symbol works well for marriage, and here’s why. Take your example of William Carey who re-married 6 weeks after his wife died. He said, “The best evidence that a widower had a great marriage is a quick remarriage.” And you agree, saying, “…marriage was only a picture, a symbol of his union with God.” If marriage is merely a pointer to the real thing, you are correct. But if marriage is complete in itself, with profound influence on those involved (for good or ill), then Carey’s turnaround re-marriage is suspect.
As you say, in a good marriage one doesn’t lose one’s identity, but in fundamental ways two do become one, and death is a wrenching apart. The subsequent loneliness and adjustment is a grievous process and not quick. Perhaps Carey’s first marriage wasn’t intimate or he was running from facing his grief or he had loved the second woman for a long time already or his need for a helper in a stressful job was greater than his needs for intimacy. This doesn’t mean that his second marriage didn’t later come right for him, but his statement indicated that at the time, he wasn’t acknowledging the affects/effects of marriage.
Marriage-as-symbol also falls flat when looking at unbelievers’ marriages, many whom enjoy lifelong intimacy even though they don’t claim relationship with God. Marriage has aspects in common with the intimate relationship between a believer and God (and between the community of believers and God). But each relationship is complete in itself. Thus one may know one and not the other. They are compared side by side in order to clarify/deepen the experience of each. Rather than a symbol, these intimate relationships function as metaphors for each other.
ISTM this is part of what Daisy is saying. By making marriage a mere symbol, a pointer to the “real thing”, you imply that her genuine loneliness is largely illusory (or at least, eminently manageable), and that her grief might be the consequence of not staying close enough to the actual point of it all, intimacy with God. I’m sure you don’t mean to do this.
I think the idea of symbol needs to be carefully limited, more than Plato did, for eg, whose ideas about life as “shadows on a cave wall” created distance and disinterest for our given lives that I am certain God doesn’t want.
And lastly, just to be a goof. We are told that in heaven there will no longer be need for the marriage covenant. But marriage ≠ sex. You speak delightfully about the ecstasy we will find in a full relationship with God. Does it necessarily follow that we will then no longer be expressing ecstasy with each other? I suspect God wants to multiply the good stuff, not replace it. Especially for those among us who’ve not had the privilege of obtaining that loveliness down here. 😎
I am in agreement with Argo and the others here. I think I can safely say that we are in solidarity with you!
Marriage is massively over-spiritualized in Christianity, especially now.
It seems we’ve run the gamut and are now at an opposite end of the extreme-o-mometer… where in ancient times marriage was almost purely a cold business transaction, we have come to the point now where it’s this strange holy mystic spiritual state of being painting some picture of God or whatever.
I find this strange however, in light of the fact that Jesus basically said marriage is irrelevant in the beyond.
If marriage is so great, why would it not continue afterwards, hm? I don’t buy the pat reason pastors have developed about the heavenly ecstasy and completeness thing.
In the new earth, are we to be sitting around, naked, doing nothing, accomplishing nothing… singing praise hymns and waving whatever tree branch is closest to us, for all eternity, forever? I don’t really think that’s on God’s agenda. Especially in light of what we are now, and once raised up and perfected would we not be doing making and accomplishing everything we are doing now except… better? (And without annoying distractions like sickness death etc)
Thus the fact that none are married or given in marriage, should give us pause and make us think.
In conclusion, I think that marriage, being for this life, should be regarded as… simply for this life. The bible loves using pictures to make points, and I think many times we read wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to far into the pictures and miss the forest for the trees.
Also Daisy, I’m with you.
(PS, this has nothing to do with Wade’s sermon specifically, which I have not watched, it’s simply my comments on marriage and it’s status period)
For all my liberal & progressive posturing on a great many topics, I am still an Army vet from the Vietnam era of long ago who is well acquainted with the evocative power of symbols. I’m glad I didn’t see a blinged-out bejeweled cretin like Lil Wayne desecrate that symbol (Old Glory). The promoters and fast buck artists who enable these thugs are removing Dr. King’s mountaintop as surely as the coal barons are removing the mountaintops of Appalachia.
Everyone, good comments all! Daisy, thanks for your openness and vulnerability. Appreciate the insights from Patrice, JustSomeGuy and Muff as well!
I also think we have to be careful not to downplay the difficulties of either the single or the married state. I too pretty much played by the rules, & turned down someone I really wanted to marry as he wasn’t a Christian. I’m married to a Christian now, & I can’t honestly say that my needs for companionship, sexual or otherwise, are met in our marriage, or are likely to be.And he would probably say the same. I think many Christians are in the same situation…it’s not a lack of love so much as a lack of compatibility that would have been weeded out by being able to live together before marriage, plus the complications of chronic depression & so on, for us…You can long to be married (I’d given up on this when I did marry at 36)& then get married and….end up with a new set of difficulties. Which has just as many Christian platitudes thrown in its direction. The grass is not always greener. It may be different but not necessarily better.
Amen, Beakerj! Wise words. Marriage has been nearly idolized to the point that many divorces within the church attest to the fact that it’s not always the ideal for everyone. But by “marketing” marriage as the fulfillment of your personhood, many are disappointed when the outcome is less than what was expected and love, self-sacrifice, and nurturing is absent.
Muff, I appreciate your respect for the American flag, but that too has been elevated nearly to the point of being worshipped by Americans. God forbid someone doesn’t salute it or place their hand over their heart, and they are practically labeled as a traitor. I agree with Patrice that we need to keep in mind that the love of country is not necessarily bound in a piece of dyed cloth.
We are a nation of excesses and those excesses have infiltrated the church in it’s idolatry of men resulting in the marginalization of women; it’s idolatry of marriage to the marginalization of all others; and the idolatry of clergy to the marginalization of the laity. These practices sadly have become the norm to the detriment of many. They are not new excesses, however. A careful reading of the OT should lead us to understand the NT and the efforts of Jesus and Paul to not only expose and condemn them, but to bring balance and respect to the outcasts, oppressed, and poor in spirit where there was/is none.
I believe Jesus is grieving over the state of the church today because of it’s erroneous teachings and marginalization of the sheep He so cares for.
Oh goodness! I had to hurry back as I forgot the most important thing…. to thank Wade for his Christ-filled sermons and teachings. He is one who endeavors to correct the many erroneous extremes in the church today and I so appreciate him.
And thanks to Deb and Dee as well for their time and efforts on the blog and for hosting the EChurch! I don’t know what I’d do if it weren’t for this church!
Daisy and beakerj, thank you for your forthrightness and honesty.
I have never been married and totally agree with what Daisy says about libido and more. There’s no magic formula for “redirecting” it, and i’ve heard the most ridiculous things said under the “advice” category. (One of the howlers said to me personally was “Can’t you just go and read a book?” I ask you!!!)
Longing for another person is NOT going to be satisfied by prayer. It just does not work that way. I’d compare it to another condition I’m familiar with – chronic pain. There are times you can’t do anything other than knuckle down and get through it somehow or other. Even if *some* of the pain can be alleviated, it doesn’t go away entirely, and is a constant in one’s life.
I know that a lot of people don’t want to hear that re. sexual desire and singleness, but there it is. (Probably applies to more than a few married people as well.)
Yes. This is true for me as weel. I have never married and just hit 50.
You know, another aspect of this whole thing, for me, is that when you are sexually abused as a child, it wakes things up in you far before you have the knowledge or wisdom – the tools – to know what to do with it. So, sexual issues have been a constant my whole life. I have had sex once as an adult – manipulated because of my broken state in this area. This does not mean I don’t have desires or a drive. It means – like Numo said above – I just knuckle under and push through those times whne I am so alone adn desiring someone to just be with that it physically hurts. You learn to just deal with it.
But religious platitudes wound. And I have not watched the sermon (sorry Wade), so this is not derected at that. But I have heard it taught that you cannot be complete in your relationship with God unless you are married. This is a slap in the face (or more a knife in the gut) to those who are desparately seeking God and find safety only in Him. To then be told you cannot really know Him unless you get married. Argh!!! It makes me angry. /end rant.
Veneration and worship of Old Glory are not the same thing. I stand by my charge that Lil Wayne is a thug and a cretin. By the way, I still think that Jimi Hendrix’ public rendition of The Star Spangled Banner is the best ever.
@ Muff Potter:
Yah, when we see the flag as also representing the best of our actions and our highest ideals/hopes, inane Lil Wayne in his coruscating trash is one of the last persons we want touching it, much less treating it with contempt.
Raw greed is every color, decked out to suit the social mores of each skin tone. One of the saddest things for me, these days in Detroit, is watching my community try to come to terms with this fact. It isn’t wise to assign identity to skin color even if it has been done to one for centuries. They are bleeding all over the place!
But Martin Luther King remains. No one can take away his witness. I actually prefer him to our flag as a symbol of my hopes for this nation because, as we sink ever deeper into imperialism, I am finding it almost impossible to see through to our original ideals. For me, MLK and his mountaintop takes the good stuff that is us, and encapsulates it. Thank God he happened!
OT: Something happened to my email box–it’s gone missing. Am trying to sort it out.
Jeannette Altes wrote:
BeakerJ — My ex-pastor did a sermon on divorce and said, “Divorce never makes anything better, it just gives you different problems.” (I disagree with this by the way.) Your comment turned on a light for me: We might say almost the same thing about marriage.
Hmmm…as mmost readers here would probably agree, for ever person in an abusive marriage, even though divorce brings new difficulties (every path in life does this, btw), it is still better. I have a friend who would tell you, without hesitation, that living in a 500 square foot apartment with two sons and having to work long hours while sorting through the emotional healing issues was a far more peaceful, happy place than any of the 14 years she was married to her abusive ‘Christian’ husband.
Oh! A new post on lifelong singleness by Dr. Bella DePaulo (Harvard).
I’m starting to believe that the singles in conservative Christian churches are far more miserable than singles in general society. And I suspect that many pastors get pleasure out of making singles miserable. Just like Dave Ramsey and his fanboys get a kick out of demonizing poor people. No mercy. No compassion. No understanding. (I haven’t listened to Wade’s sermon yet, so my comments are not directed at him.)
Jeannette Altes wrote:
I kinda agree, but some problems you can live with and others you can’t. Divorce did make it better for me and I never looked back for a minute.
I’m sure a lot of people would give a hearty Amen to this.
Victorious, your expression of appreciation alone makes E-Church a worthwhile ministry for me. God’s continued blessings to you in your growth in His grace and love.
Yes – LGBT people, too. some people love to bully and abuse others, and these are two of the constants in many supposedly xtian circles.
@ Beakerj: There was a time when I believed that marriage would be some sort of automagic cure-all.
Married people – even those who are truly happy – know better.
Totally agree. If we look at the metaphor used in scripture we have to view it in it’s 1st Century context where most marriages were ARRANGED and love was not really a consideration at all. Women were for the most part, chattel for breeding in marriage and even in many cases lived separately from their husbands in the home. So why the metaphor? I would think if the typical Western marriage was an arranged one, we would read that metaphor quite differently.
I have always thought that.
@ Patrice: OK – if there’s anything I can do, please let me know.
Well said Patrice and I concur.
Agreed. The church I left earlier this year was a country club for people who had a certain profile of race, marital status, end-time view, politics, income level, and age. Rather than engage the culture, they circled the wagons and shook their fists at it. They could mouth “love your neighbor,” but they could not put it into actions unless their neighbor matched them.
I was just talking with my new pastor today. What a breath of fresh air! He’s as conservative theologically, but much more diverse on the secondary and tertiary issues. I’m sure my LGBT friends would find a community here.
“The bible loves using pictures to make points, and I think many times we read wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to far into the pictures and miss the forest for the trees.”
Absolutely true. Resulting in amazingly goofy, weird, non-intuitive requirements for how to live. Contortionists for Christ!
Perhaps the result of professional Christians constantly having to come up with new things to talk about at the mic and in print in order to fulfill the job requirements and publishing contracts to get their paycheck.
“The church is just the same as the world: ‘If you’re not doing somebody, YOU’RE A NOBODY!”
— comment on a singles-vs-marrieds thread at Internet Monk
Except on the Christianese side, you have to have a ring and an “I Do.” Otherwise, no difference.
How else can we Outbreed the Heathen?
And bribe (at least the boys) with grandiose promises of barn-burning swinging-from-the-chandeliers dynamite married S*E*X 24/7/365 starting on their wedding night. As if their Virgin-Unto-Death bride becomes their Perfect Porn Star Fulfilling Every Single Fantasy immediately upon saying “I Do.” Now that sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Again, how else can we Outbreed the Heathen and overwhelm them with sheer numbers?
“We conquer the lands of the Infidel! Our wombs shall be our weapons!”
— attr to an Extremist Euro-Mullah
Preachers who all married at 18.
Only their own Righteousness(TM).
Daisy, If you are still around, go here
Fastforward to about the 1:00 minute mark and listen to what these 2 pastors have to say about marriage/singleness.
I think you might find it refreshing.
@ Jeannette Altes: You’re so right about religious platitudes… that also applies to wanting to have children but not being able to do so. (For both single and married people.)
Grieving that loss… well, it’s something that most evangelical/charismatic churches simply don’t understand, let alone acknowledge. Platitudes abound, and they are VERY painful.
As a 39-year-old male virgin who was fine being single until almost 15 years ago (long story), I can’t stand sugar-coated platitudes from fellow Christians regarding singleness and contentment.
I’d like to be married, but I sense the barriers with everything I try. People tell me I’ll meet my future wife “when I least expect it.”
I guess that means I’ll have a deathbed wedding 🙂