Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blogging Marriage

[Preface added Monday, June 14: Late Saturday night, I committed here an act of “blog-blurterry.” Yes, I just now invented that word; but most of you bloggers probably understand it. Occasionally, one shoots “blurts” into the blogosphere, rather than well considered and carefully nuanced essays. That certainly was the case in this one. I should have saved it as a draft for more thoughtful reflection on Sunday instead of posting this "blurt" on my blog.

A fine thing happened here, though. The community challenged me regarding some of my sweeping statements and some of my mean-spirited (or just oblivious) generalizations. We listened to one another. I grew in my understanding and gained some new insights. I am grateful for the dialogue. Please don’t only read this “first-draft” essay of mine, but click here to read my post together with all the comments. For at the end of the dialogue, I was at a rather different place than I started.

After the flurry of conversation here, I was tempted to rewrite the essay in its entirety, to reflect what I had learned through the comments. But that would lack integrity. I need to own up to what I first wrote, and I hope readers will appreciate what happened in the ensuing conversation.

What happened here is what I often see in some of my favorite blogs, but which seldom happens here: the community engaged in fruitful dialogue. I would like to see the Episcopal Church launch a similar dialogue about what marriage is in general and what Christian marriage is in particular. I know it has happened on a large scale in some parts of our church, but there has been no structured or widespread dialogue in my parish or diocese.

By the way, as a reward for your reading all the comments, I’m about to add another comment in this thread, which – while slightly off-topic – may be even more shocking than anything I wrote in the initial blogpost.

Read on .… ]



I recently attended the marriage of a couple in their mid-20s. I am related to the groom, whom I’ll call “Brad” in this post; I’ll call the bride “Jennifer.”

After the “wedding” portion, at a certain point during the dancing that was part of the reception, a dear friend must have noticed the expression on my face. She asked, “What are you thinking?” Then the exchange went something like this:

I replied, “I’m blogging in my mind.”

“About what?”

“The difference between gay and straight marriages.”

“Huh?”

“The difference. All these kids had to do was get a marriage license and then throw this party without God. … Do you have any idea how many gay people are yearning to make humble vows of marriage in the church?”

I should probably back up to provide some context. “Brad” and “Jennifer” are self-declared atheists; Brad is particularly loud and proud about the fact that he doesn’t believe in God. He’ll quickly tell you he is a scientist, and that he believes all this “Christianity stuff” is just a fairy tale.

Brad was raised in a liturgical tradition. I was rather surprised – and his grandmother was mortified – that they had their wedding in a “banquet center” rather than a church.

The thing one might call a “marriage” took less than half an hour, then there were three hours of dancing and partying.

Of course, they did their best in that banquet center to mirror the outward manifestations of what I recognize as a wedding.

Frankly, I wonder: If you don’t believe in God, why in the world would you make a Big Flipping Deal of the “marriage ceremony”?? If you don’t believe in God, then the “wedding vows” are – it seems to me – no more significant than the closing of a legal contract to buy a house. No one invites the community to the lawyer’s office for a house-closing contract, followed by a three-hour party. So why do anti-church people throw these big shindigs when they make their wedding contract in front of a State-sanctioned officiant? Why would an atheist bother to invite a bunch of friends and family to witness his/her God-free vows? If the wedding is just an excuse to throw a big party, why not just go down to the courthouse, say what the State requires you to say to make the legal marriage contract, and then throw the big and delightful party you want to have? Why make people sit through miserable “wedding” “vows” that are a paean to your self-absorption?

This couple did their best to make their wedding a God-Free Zone. They hired some schmuck in a brown suit to officiate at the evening ceremony. Mr. Schmuck kept his words and his prayers God-free except for that notorious/beloved passage from Matthew. I suppose he did that to give it some sort of legitimacy; honestly, I have no idea. Because God was (otherwise) completely absent from the “wedding.”

Mind you, I am not a theologian, nor do I play one on T.V. But I have read some fine theological thinkers – especially Tobias and Christopher Evans on this point.. [NB: Long ago, I bookmarked Christopher Evans’ most amazing “Liturgy for Binding and Loosing,” upon the occasion of his union with his beloved. I have the liturgy on my hard drive, but the link to his website no longer seems to be active. Christopher, if you happen to see this, please give me an active link, and I’ll hyperlink it. For the rest of you, if you want a copy of the liturgy, post your e-address (carefully) in the comments, and I’ll send it to you.] As I understand it, one makes one’s primary vows to and covenant with God, and then to one another. As I understand it, the couple enters into covenant with God, the Church blesses, and the community affirms and celebrates that covenant.

That’s how I would want to do it, if such a time ever came for me. Thank God for the Book of Common Prayer and its ageless words for the wedding liturgy. I would want them to uphold me and my beloved.

Frankly, my heart was sad as I saw this couple “do” their vows in front of the assembled group. It seemed rather empty to me. Casting aside their liturgical upbringing, Brad and Jennifer made up their own ceremony and their own vows. Saccharine, anyone? It was very Kahlil Gibran-esque.

The service was full of words about what love means and how they will "always" love each other … what commitment means, and how they will "always" remain committed to each other. But, of course, it was about their faith in each other, their love for each other, their friendship with each other. Which is important, of course. But there were no words about transcendence – about being held together by God or any divine power … because (of course) they don’t believe in God or any transcendent power. So when the going gets tough, they will cling to … what??? Cling to the current divorce statistics, and pray they can beat the odds?

Recognizing no force or Person greater than themselves, I wonder, to whom/what will they turn when the going gets tough … as it does for all married persons? I suppose they will just revert to the same power they celebrated in their marriage: the Great Church of My Ego. For that’s the faith to which their vows seemed to turn.

I will confess: There was a sense in which this “wedding” made this Episcopalian angry. I know so many gay/lesbian Episcopalians who yearn to be married in the church, to recite their vows before God and their fellow parishioners … who yearn to make a covenant before God and the community. But we are barred from doing so in most states. And we are barred from doing so in most dioceses.

But these two young people now have the full civil/legal benefits of marriage – and the more than 1,000 legal rights it confers – because they got Mr. Schmuck in his brown suit to preside at something they and the State choose to call a wedding.

Meanwhile, gay/lesbian couples who have been together for years and decades must engage lawyers to draw up contracts that give them half the rights and protections that this young couple now enjoys in their Godless marriage.

Something in that – and in the injustice of that – just flat breaks my heart.

[P.S.: Parenthetical shout-out to IT, because I know you’ll read this. IT, I can imagine that you may have a different view re: your marriage to BP. But – unlike the young people about whom I am writing – BP is a Christian. “Brad” and “Jennifer” are both proclaimed atheists. So I will welcome your thoughts, and I hope you don’t take my blogpost here as a slam; it most certainly isn’t intended that way. The point I am trying to make is the distinction between heterosexual couples who throw huge parties for their godless marriages vs. Christian gay/lesbian couples who yearn to have their covenants blessed before God in the church.]

32 Comments:

Blogger IT said...

Lisa, thanks for the callout. As I read this, frankly I found it quite insulting. Because what it sounds like you are saying to me, as a non-believer (I've decided "atheist" as a term is too politically loaded in a negative way) is that I don't and can't "get" marriage. That our act of marrying was only valid because BP believes in God and otherwise would have been hollow and "unserious".

Please go back to Friends and you read my blogs about what the act of marrying meant to me, of standing before friends and family and saying OUT LOUD what we mean to each other and what we intend for our lives and our future together. Marriage is not an excuse for a party. It is public commitment, in a moment of terrible openness and vulnerability, to say that what we have and we are is worthy of notice and validation, a request for the help and support of friends, family, and community in making it stronger, and a promise to reflect that strength back again.

I know that you do not mean to insult me, personally, but it really sums up the frustration many non-believers feel about believers when you assume that just because we don't "get" God we don't "get" things beyond the immediate, or the personal. Or in this case, the immense, significant step --indeed, a transcendent one -- that is a marriage.

Yeah, those atheists might as well shack up together and call it a domestic partnership because clearly it's not marriage, it's just an excuse for a party and legal sex.

Hmmmm, who else does that happen to? Do you see the irony?

It may well be that at some point in the not-so-distant future we will be able to have our union blessed in BP's church. That would be great. But as I told BP, while I am happy to be there, that would in no way change the immense and TRANSCENDENT moment that our exchange of our frankly home-written vows was. And she agreed.

So I'm sure you would have loathed our vows too, since they weren't from the prayerbook. On the other hand, BP feels God was there anyway.

I'm sorry but you really upset me with this.

6/13/2010 12:13 AM  
Blogger JCF said...

If I may, an attempt at peace-making? (It's the "F"---ala Myers-Briggs--in me ;-/).

It seems to me that what really ticked Lisa off---other than the hetero-privilege thang, and boy is that a Sore Subject!---is that to her, her relative Brad's marriage wasn't just God-less, it also WASN'T TRANSCENDENT.

Is she wrong about that? Quite possibly, if we talked to Brad and/or Jennifer. But we weren't there.

While sadly, I couldn't make to your and BP's wedding, I would have been tempted to assert it WAS transcendent (apart from your say-so, AND apart from BP's catholic faith). But WITH your say-so, it's an undeniable done-deal!

But what exactly IS transcendence, anyway? With The Divine, without it?

That's a Bigger Question, that I'd love to hear more about...

6/13/2010 12:37 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Oh, dear. :-( I meant to post my little blogpiece and go to bed, after a couple of severely sleep-deprived nights.

But I am dismayed that I have upset IT, and I appreciate JC Fisher’s comments, so I suppose I must stay up longer and try to explain myself further. For it seems that my blogpost was inflammatory in ways I did not at all intend.

JCF, you are right. What I meant to highlight was heterosexual privilege.

Friends, I kept some details vague because the people in question are related to me, and I could get in very hot water for what I am writing here.

But … o.k. … My point was precisely what JCF said: It’s not that they didn’t use the BCP or some special hocus-pocus words. It’s that I know these two people, and I believe that the “wedding” ceremony they wrote reflects their egoism and their denial of any transcendent reality.

And, yes, with JCF, I would be open to a discussion of what we mean by "transcendent reality."

IT, after all these years, surely you know I'm no fundamentalist. What I witnessed was the state-sanctioned "wedding" of two straight egomaniacs who now have all the legal rights that the State affords to all heterosexual married persons ... precisely in contrast to people like you and B.P., who have made a covenant with one another. It's not about fundamentalism, IT. It's the selfishness and egoism and self-aggrandizement ... which I saw in this recent wedding -- and which is in sharp contrast to what I know of your and BP's commitment to each other.

Did you notice that I repeatedly put "wedding" and "vows" in quotation remarks in reference to that couple? It's because I don't think they have any notion of what marriage or vows really mean ... in contrast to many of the gay couples I know. I meant to point up a bit of irony in their unquestioning privilege. Obviously, I failed.

Equally obviously, I flubbed in writing my blogpost, I.T., if you found it so offensive. My intent was to contrast trite little heterosexually privileged twits vs. people of deep commitment (like you and BP, Elizabeth & Ms. Conroy, Louie & Ernie, etc.).

I meant to contrast their sophomiric "vow" with the kinds of deep-hearted vows you shared with BP ... and which many other gay/lesbian couples have shared ... and which many other mature, heterosexual couples also share.

And now Blogger is telling me I've blathered-on too long. So I'll continue this below.

6/13/2010 1:59 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Continuing my comment from above

What I heard from the couple recently married was a sophomoric belief that the love [lust?] that they feel today will carry them on forever.

What I heard in I.T.’s vows – as in Christopher Evans’ – was a self-giving that is beyond themselves. I heard “transcendence” in both of them.

Excuse the expression … But what pissed me off in the recent heterosexual wedding was a miserable solipsism. A sense of entitlement. No sense of self-giving. And a truly sophomoric sense of “romantic” [in the worst sense of the word] “love.”

IT & others: It ticked me off to watch an immature heterosexual couple like this claim the “cheap grace” that straights enjoy, while you committed gay/lesbian couples have to create your own rites to reflect your own realities. It pisses me off that a couple of straight youngsters can hire a guy in a brown suit and immediately get over 1,000 federal rights … while you gay/lesbian couples have to spend lots of $$$ to have attorneys draw up legal documents to safeguard your rights.

In a nutshell: It pissed me off that this young, straight couple gets to take advantage of rights that gay/lesbian couples have to fight for … and that some such couples do so in such a selfish, ignorant, egocentric way.

IT, I am truly sorry that you heard me saying your marriage with BP was in any way "less than." That is exactly the opposite of what I meant to express.

The point I intended to make was this … Go back up to the beginning of my blogpost. As I looked out on that heterosexually privileged little party, it broke my heart that so many of them have so little understanding of the deep, self-giving love that many gay/lesbian partners have experienced … and yet they can get “married” in a nano-second by any idiot Agent of the State.

I also recognize that many straight couples make their marriage vows with the kind of deep commitment I'm discussing here. I do not mean to dismiss them at all. I would yearn for true marriage equality before the State (where little is required), and Church (where I believe much should be required), and in all those in-between rites that people must craft on their own.

I.T., I meant to be expressing my solidarity with you and other lesbian/gay couples, as I reflected on the triteness of the wedding I attended. I apologize that it came out crosswise.

I hope this helps.

As it’s after 2 a.m. here, I’m going to have to pick up tomorrow.

6/13/2010 2:09 AM  
Blogger Fran said...

Lisa, let me focus first on you and this post... It is outstanding. Really good writing and such passionate thoughts, so well expressed. My heart is so deeply moved.

As for the rest, I really do appreciate what JCF says; JCF you are always so very wise.

6/13/2010 6:43 AM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Hmmmm.

IT, for what it's worth, I think your wedding was the most transcendent event I ever read about. But that is not what I heard Lisa seeing in this wedding she attended.

I wrote a little post a while back on my blog, oddly enough, about how most of us kinda grow up and "get over our Ayn Rand" era. And what I heard as Lisa described this story of this wedding. A giant celebration of self. I think the fact they were atheists was only incidental to the story, because I've attended many church weddings in a religious tradition that I call the "in your face" wedding.

Most of the time, the "in your face" wedding involves anger and immaturity. Sometimes it is in a different religious tradition than the families. Sometimes it is because the families have doubts about the stability of this union. Sometimes it is because Bridezilla feels entitled to have Princess Di's wedding when her family makes the income of Princess Di's stable sweeper.

But what troubled me about Lisa's description of this wedding was it seemed totally crafted to be in everyone's faces. Not to celebrate a transcendent moment that connects the couple to the world.

I venture to guess, when gay weddings are more commonplace, some will be stunning, transcendent events full of love and inclusion...and some will be petty little in your face productions. Not because they are gay, but because they are immature and the message seems to be "I'm in your face. So there. What are you gonna do about it?" JUST LIKE STRAIGHT ONES.

I also get what Lisa is saying about the "hollow" feeling. It reminds me of my bewilderment of vegetarian products that look like meat. I always think, "If you're a vegetarian, why do you need to eat something that looks like a piece of meat and sorta tastes like a piece of meat?" I don't get that.

I think those of us in the church tradition see a wedding, and we are used to weddings being church productions, and God being in them, that without God in them, they feel a little "lacking." But then I remind myself that people have been pledging themselves to each other LONG before we got around to thinking up this whole business of a God, and a desire to understand and relate to it. We probably, as a species, recognized the "something bigger in us in pairs and groups" before we ever attributed it to God, and that's ok.

What I find when I have attended "in your face" weddings of any ilk is my own yearning coming out for the couple to get their thumb out of their butt and realize this is not just about them, and it is about all of us in that we want to share our love to this union, but that requires them to share back. The lack of that insight on a couple's part is simply sad.

6/13/2010 6:55 AM  
Blogger claire said...

I like your post, and the vigor of its emotions.

I have been married for 39 years (in one year and we will have the Gore threshold. Hm...). I am a Catholic woman, very much for gay marriage.

I am surprised at your anger at your atheist friends' marriage. Yes, it is a show, but so many weddings are --- whether religious or not. We find wedding celebrations on all continents, in all religions. A wedding is a rite of passage. So are baptisms and funerals. An English friend likes to say that people go to church when they hatch, match and despatch.

I can understand the pain you feel when you think of gay friends who dream to get married religiously. I am sorry it hurts you so much. Because it is pain more than anger that you share here, it seems.

A gay priest told me some years ago, wherever love is, Godde is. He is not a priest any longer; he has chosen to live with the love of his life. A very difficult choice to leave the Church.

Wherever love is, Godde is. So in a way, possibly, if your two friends do love each other, and the older they get, the more they live together, the greater hopefully their love will grow, Godde is there for them as well, whether they know it or not.

I wish you a beautiful, joyful wedding when your time comes, whether such a wedding is accepted in your state or in your church or not. Who can prevent you from inviting Godde to witness your vows?

Blessings and joy, claire

6/13/2010 8:03 AM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

I love and appreciate your post, and the discussion as well.

6/13/2010 11:09 AM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

My family has divorced me (refused to speak to me since November) for saying I was disappointed in and had hoped for something more for my nephew and his bride after a similar circumstance.... even worse, they had taken the language of the BCP and stripped it of all reference to God.... their marriage was sealed 'by the power of the authority of the State of California...'

I felt their ceremony did violence to me and to my Tradition, and felt rather abused by the whole situation.

Sigh.

and IT is right --the dignity of marriage does deserve some ceremony, and the saying of vows OUTLOUD in community for so many, many reasons.

I can only think that the marriage ceremony of the church has its roots in a very practical exchange of property and contracts, with a thin veneer of religiousity.... and applied theology.

I look forward to what might come next, out of conversations very much like this. We are stuck in an in-between time, the idea of marriage in transition, and we must keep pushing forward, listening, and hearing each other. for the sake of the whole world.

6/13/2010 3:58 PM  
Blogger IT said...

Lisa and I have in private email discussed this a little further and have (I think) a peace. But let me explain it to you all.

Lisa is angry at Shallow Brad and Jenn's casual assumption of heterosexual privilege where so many GLBT couples lack it. She also decries their casualness towards the act of marriage.

WHere I took umbrage was at what seemed to me an apparent conflation between Shallow Brad's atheism and heterosexist privilege, and his uninspiring wedding, where Lisa went into general terms about "an atheist", not just shallow Brad.

“The difference. All these kids had to do was get a marriage license and then throw this party without God. … Do you have any idea how many gay people are yearning to make humble vows of marriage in the church?”

Lots of gay people are longing to make humble vows outside of church, too.

If you don’t believe in God, why in the world would you make a Big Flipping Deal of the “marriage ceremony”??...why do anti-church people throw these big shindigs when they make their wedding contract in front of a State-sanctioned officiant? Why would an atheist bother to invite a bunch of friends and family to witness his/her God-free vows?

I think I have explained why an atheist would.

Brad and Jennifer made up their own ceremony and their own vows. Saccharine, anyone? It was very Kahlil Gibran-esque.

We made our own vows too. Very Kahlil Gibran-esque, I'm sure.

In her callout to me, Lisa said,

IT, I can imagine that you may have a different view re: your marriage to BP. But – unlike the young people about whom I am writing – BP is a Christian. “Brad” and “Jennifer” are both proclaimed atheists.

That really hit me. Would I have felt or experienced my marriage any differently had BP been a non-believer?

NO.

And that tacit assumption, that somehow BP's Christianity was what "made the difference", was what upset me.

To me, the conflation of "Christian" with "meaningful marriage" and "atheist" with "shallow legal covenant" is no different than the Catholics saying that GLBT people aren't capable of forming marriages either.

That explains my reaction.

As I said Lisa and I have had a brief further exchange. I always understood that she did not intend to direct this anger towards me. My point was that the generality of her terms directed it not only to me, but many of my non-believer friends and colleagues.

6/13/2010 8:33 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

First, let me apologize for being offline for so long. I went to church this morning, then assisted my dearest friends in preparation for their move out of town.

Next, let me apologize for the tenor of my blogpost. I wish I had saved it overnight and pondered and edited it in the cool light of day.

I wrote in anger and frustration. That was a mistake.

I see that – in my frustration – I conflated some things that I did not intend to conflate and which should not be conflated. Worse, I painted with a brush that was very much too wide and angry. I have apologized to friend I.T., and I apologize to any others who rightly took exception to some of my lousy characterizations of “atheists” or “non-believers.” I didn’t mean to characterize all non-believers in that way. I was responding very particularly to a couple of young people who – as Maria discerned – seemed intentionally to be poking their fingers at their parents and other family.

Here’s what I should have written, in a nutshell: It had two points.
First, it galls me deeply that this young couple could so easily and cheaply claim heterosexual privilege … while so very many gay/lesbian couples yearn for marriage in the church and/or state.
Second, the sheer egoism/hedonism of the celebration caught me up short. Their “wedding” wasn’t about transcendence, wasn’t about asking for the support of friends/family. It was an “All About Us” event, orchestrated in Bridezilla fashion as a paean to their self-absorption. The family was embarrassed at the lack of etiquette and honor of the event. As others of you have observed, nobody has a corner on that market; gay and straight weddings can be equal-opportunity offenders on that count.

I am aware that plenty of weddings might have offended both my two primary frustrations. But I am seldom invited to weddings. In fact, this was my first since four years ago. If I intended more weddings, I might have been a bit more temperate in my remarks.

I’m grateful for the comments all of you have offered. IT, I’m especially grateful to you for reminding me of the limits.

At base, state-sanctioned “weddings” are contractual affairs. They are a relatively modern invention, designed for contractual purposes. When they rise to transcendent levels – as IT’s and Christopher’s did – I give thanks. But seeing those moments of grace made me write in anger about this one. I apologize for those places when I went out of bounds.

6/13/2010 9:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, KirkE, for helping to clarify what I meant to say. You are a godsend.

6/13/2010 9:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for dropping in, Claire, and even deeper thanks for challenging me to clarify what I meant to say.

I like your line: Wherever love is, Godde is. But, alas, that's the problem with the English language. We have only one word for "love." We use it for "I love sushi," "I love football," "I love my sister and my best friend," "I love this little hottie," and "I love my partner/spouse."

The Greeks did a much better job with the verb "to love."

And perhaps that's part of my frustration about the wedding I recently attended. I'm not sure whether they "love" each other in a way that is markedly different than the way they might "love" sushi.

I hope you will hang around.

6/13/2010 10:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for those reflections, Margaret.

I agree: Our whole church would be enriched if we would all talk honestly about this marriage thing. But – at least in my “broad church” parish – I observe that they DO NOT WANT to talk about it. … Pity, that.

I’m sorry that your family reacted as they did. Fortunately, mine was pretty much of one accord. Happy for the nephew. But also deeply concerned about the lack of any transcendence.

6/13/2010 10:06 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

IT already wrote about it. I have been grateful for her willingness to talk with me via e-mail. I have apologized for my broad-brush dismissals, and I am grateful that we are reaching a better understanding.

Now ... as others have said ... TEC needs to begin to have these conversations about what marriage is and what it means. If we can do it here on the blogs, why can't we do it in the church?

6/13/2010 10:10 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Interesting post and commentary following. Thank you to everyone who has commented, and to Lisa for the post.

Not much left to point out, except that in my experience, I have attended "Godless" marriage ceremonies in church using the BCP with no change in language -- with people who rarely or never attend church but want the church wedding and big party. They will never attend church after the wedding, except perhaps on Christmas (but probably not Easter).

I have equally known ceremonies that are deeply spiritual and/or transcendent for couples who would not consider themselves Christian or only nominally so.

That said, I totally understand the point you are making, Lisa, and agree wholeheartedly. It seems less of an atheist vs. believer issue as compare to an issue of serious commitment and honoring something other than Self. But I also know how frustrating it is when one is a Christian, regular worshipper and churchgoer, and is denied the sacrament, and then sees a proclaimed (often loudly) atheist receiving the benefits of what we are denied, and even crafting a service that is similar to a religious one, just omitting the scary "God" word. It is a painful "crucified" place (note sarcasm) we are thrust into.

Another thought -- if fundamentalist Christians are to have their way and keep GLBT persons from marriage, thus forcing their religious belief on society, why aren't they stopping atheists or Muslims or Hindus or everyone else outside of their belief system from marrying? Yet another aspect of the hypocrisy we see from the religious right-wing every day.

6/13/2010 10:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for stopping by, Suzer. I miss you.

You said it better than I did: ”It seems less of an atheist vs. believer issue as compare to an issue of serious commitment and honoring something other than Self.”
Yes, that’s what I meant to say.

I can’t go quite as far as you, Suzer. I can’t blame it all on the fundamentalists. I think that all of us Christians have failed to ponder the meaning of marriage in its secular and sacramental forms. I wasn’t around the Episcopal Farm when the current prayer book was being crafted, but I understand that there was much deep thought and discussion around the meaning of the sacrament of baptism. I would argue that our next discussion needs to be about marriage. I have a hunch that, if we could wrestle with that one, the secondary issues of LGBT stuff might fall into place. OCICBW …

6/13/2010 11:05 PM  
Blogger IT said...

All at peace, then.

The problem is not that Shallow brad is an atheist. The problem is that like so many young people, he hasn't got beyond "me me me" to that beyond.

And that is a problem much deeper. Our youth are not learning about relationships and their complexity but about narcissim and desire as an itch to be scratched rather than something beyond them. I discussed the sexual aspect of it here But I think the casual take-for-grantedness of Shallow Brad is a problem that is very deep.

6/13/2010 11:16 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Well put, IT. Of course, now I'm going to have trouble remembering to call him just "Brad," instead of "Shallow Brad." You inspire wickedness, m'dear. I admire that in a person. ;-)

Thanks for the link to your sex-talk blogpost. Spot on!

6/14/2010 12:03 PM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

Lisa--one thing I noticed that none of you mentioned...

Religious people have the highest divorce rates. Your cousin and his wife actually have a better chance of making their marriage last than we church-going types do... (And I should know! [insert rueful grin here])

If you want to read a wonderful paen to love/marriage between two non-believers, I highly recommend this piece. It just came through my reader this afternoon--and, as Dear Friend and I celebrate the anniversary of our first date tomorrow (in some ways, even more important to me than our wedding date), it made me weepy and oh-so-grateful. Even though Melissa McEwen and I do not share a belief in God, I recognized in her piece what I feel for Dear Friend and what I have always seen in IT's posts about BP.

I have come to believe that a successful marriage has as much to do with luck as it does with either God or commitment. I hope Brad and Jennifer will be among the lucky ones--I know that IT and I are.

Pax,
Doxy

6/14/2010 4:51 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

In the preface I just added to this post, I promised a “shocking” addition. Here it comes.

Knowing this was to be a fairly formal wedding, I struggled about what to wear. I don’t have a Little Black Dress. (In fact, I can’t remember when I last wore a dress or skirt.) But I did manage to find nice slacks, shimmery shell, and gauzy, feminine jacket. And I actually took care with make-up. But here’s the real shocker: I, Lisa Fox, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten, did put upon my feet a pair of … wait for it … heels. Modest heels, mind you – just an inch or so. But this is something I hadn’t done in well over a decade. And ya know what? It was fun!

And here’s a further shocker: I danced. Can’t remember when I last did that, either. It took some scotch to get me out there. But I did it … with one of my favorite nephews. It was fun.

6/14/2010 6:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for that link, Doxy. I read it. Wow! (And I tried to post a comment at her blog, but couldn’t get through her layers of security.)

Indeed, it reminded me of you and Dear Friend. I well remember the joy I felt for and with you all last year. Happy anniversary to you two.

I would call it sacramental love … and maybe you would embrace that term. But at least there is indeed something here about transcendental love … which all people can experience and recognize. Folks like you and I in our Christian context, and many others in another context.

But it’s the transcendence that matters, isn’t it?

I do hope Brad and Jennifer will discover it, if they haven’t yet. For I suspect that’s the only thing that can beat the miserable divorce statistics.

6/14/2010 7:16 PM  
Blogger IT said...

And Terpsichore smiled .....

6/14/2010 7:25 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Actually, I suspect Terpsichore right-near fell out. ;-)

6/14/2010 7:42 PM  
Blogger IT said...

BTW your link to the direct page w/ comments is broken--it ends .html/", not .html

6/14/2010 8:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for the fix, IT. I fixed it now.

6/14/2010 9:10 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

OMG. I have to sit down. My legs feel wobbly.

Heels? Oh, F#$%!

You are a better woman than I am, Gunga Din.

Makeup? Well F#$% a duck. I have not bought an item from a makeup counter for 25 years.

Dance? Big deal. Two drinks in, I will dance with anyone. And I do believe in that post-wedding sobriety test in Missouri (especially at RC weddings in St. Louis) known as the Chicken Dance. If you are doing the Chicken Dance, you ain't sober.

6/14/2010 11:01 PM  
Blogger IT said...

If you are doing the Chicken Dance, you ain't sober.
agreed, kirk.

OTOH, BP and I started dance lessons to prepare for our wedding, and never stopped. We are almost two years in, doing rumba, foxtrot, waltz, salsa, swing, and variations thereof. It's our big luxury together.

We recently went on a cruise with my (83yo) parents. Cruises are great places to dance. Most people thought we were cute. A few people stared disapprovingly. Others stopped us around the ship as though they knew us, having watched us dance.

What we learned is that most couples know how to swing and not much else. Funny thing is that we can't swing worth beans. But where we noticed this is waltz. When the band played a waltz, the only ones left on the floor were the lesbians: us. We have a mean waltz routine: side passes, twinkles, reverse boxes, shadow position, 5th position, and all the spins in between. It was so fun.

But what was shocking is that people actually applauded us!!! We about fell over. We aren't that good, we aren't competitive, it's just no one knows how to waltz any more!

We told our instructor when we got home, and he was psyched.

6/15/2010 12:12 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

LOL, KirkE. If you're feeling faint, then I have achieved my objective. {vbg} Thanks for the laugh.

Yes, they did the Chicken Dance, and the dance floor was full. NO! I did not participate in it.

6/15/2010 1:11 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

What a marvelous story, IT. A few weeks ago, I attended a dinner/dance/fundraiser for my adopt-a-parish home in St. Louis. I was slack-jawed when I saw my dear friends dance together -- in some of those classics you mentioneed. I could read so much in the way they they moved together. For a couple to move together as they did -- and as you and BP do - says much about the passion and union that you share.

Thanks for telling your story. You go!

6/15/2010 1:16 AM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

One of the chief benefits of being married to a priest is being invited to wedding receptions. Dear Friend and I *love* to dance! We just do the boogie thing, but we have a blast. :-)

IT--we were talking the other day about taking dance lessons. You may have inspired me...

6/15/2010 7:28 AM  
Blogger IT said...

I tell ya, these kids today understand NUTHIN' about how sexy dancing is...with their grinds and all that leaving nothing to the imagination. You are right, LIsa, about what it means to move together in the ol' classics, attuned to each other.

There was an elderly couple on our cruise like that. They did the same steps basically for any dance, but they absolutely knew what to expect from each other, and she put her head against him and closed her eyes. Very sweet.

Doxy, you GOTS to. You two will ahve a blast. Just find the right teacher and away you go....

6/15/2010 1:06 PM  

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