Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Defining Marriage

I am marrying my niece this weekend.

Please let me clarify that for all of you who do not reside in Arkansas, or are not in the lineage of Jerry Lee Lewis: I will be officiating at the marriage of my sweet niece and a fine, young man who has smitten her heart. This will be a first for me…and for them.

Marriage has been in the news a lot lately, for all the wrong reasons by my judgment.  A federal judge struck down a ban in the State of California against same-sex marriages—one of the few places on earth you’d expect that kind of thing to fly. 
Don’t know about same-sex cousins.

There is a phrase in the wedding ceremony I’ll be performing, which is key to the understanding of the foundation of marriage—what it is, and what it is not—or should not—be:  “…an institution by God structured, by Christ endorsed, by the Holy Spirit instructed, and declared by inspiration to be honorable in the sight of all men.” 
You cannot use that phrase when attempting a same-sex marriage…which, by the way, is a bit of an oxymoron: Marriage, by definition a union, is impossible between same-sexes. Contemporary dictionaries already list as “obsolete” the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and that’s wrong. 

The first recorded marriage was arranged: The man fell asleep and a woman was crafted from his spare parts. True story. In fact, the very word, “woman” means “taken out of man” in the Hebrew translations of the account in Genesis 2.

(If you refuse to believe the Bible account of The Creation, you really need not read any further; my beliefs are predicated upon a reading of all parts of that book, and my conviction that it is the inspired Word of God. Yes, the whole thing, not just the convenient parts.)

There is a phrase in the marriage ceremony that specifically addresses this: “Woman was never intended to be man’s slave, but his helper; nor was man intended to be woman’s oppressor, but her protector. Not from man’s head was she taken, lest she be his ruler, nor from his feet, lest she become his drudge.”

I am especially fond of this passage, “…from Man’s side was Woman taken, that she might be his equal; from near his heart that she might be loved by him; and from under his arm that he might protect and preserve her…” 

That clod sitting this week in the bleachers near the Astro’s foul line (who ducked a foul ball which struck his girlfriend) would do well to ponder that point. 
So would she.

These thoughts have been swirling in my head this week as I prepare for my first marriage ceremony…standing on the other side of the altar. My first wedding in front of the altar has withstood troubles and trials for the past 31-years. 
Guess it’s going to stick. 
Hope my niece’s first wedding is her last.

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