Esolen in Touchstone on marriage as vocation

Started by peter_speckhard, January 03, 2023, 09:11:29 AM

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pearson

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 04, 2023, 01:17:36 PM

Is it necessary to treat all vocations the same?  Some are momentary/transient, others of greater duration.  I'm trying to be careful here not to flippantly say of more importance, but I think that is fair characterization of becoming a parent, versus being employee of the month.


Are "all vocations the same"?  I think that is putting the question too broadly.  Are all vocations, as vocations, equal?  Yes, I think so.  But does that mean they are all equivalent, in the sense that each vocation achieves exactly what every other vocation achieves?  No, of course not.  What makes the most sense to me is that all vocations equally embody specific goods -- goods for self, goods for the neighbor, goods for creation.  But each vocation embodies a different ensemble of goods (moral goods, practical goods, temporal goods, among others).  It is the goods that vary, that cannot be treated "the same."  So each vocation equally expresses one of the numerous roles into which we have been situated by God, and through which we may acquire the goods intrinsic to that vocational role.  It seems to be the case that the goods intrinsic to being a parent are perhaps more profound and enduring than the goods intrinsic to being an auto mechanic; but both are equally God-given vocations.

Does that make sense?

Tom Pearson


MaddogLutheran

Quote from: pearson on January 04, 2023, 01:57:37 PM
Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 04, 2023, 01:17:36 PM

Is it necessary to treat all vocations the same?  Some are momentary/transient, others of greater duration.  I'm trying to be careful here not to flippantly say of more importance, but I think that is fair characterization of becoming a parent, versus being employee of the month.


Are "all vocations the same"?  I think that is putting the question too broadly.  Are all vocations, as vocations, equal?  Yes, I think so.  But does that mean they are all equivalent, in the sense that each vocation achieves exactly what every other vocation achieves?  No, of course not.  What makes the most sense to me is that all vocations equally embody specific goods -- goods for self, goods for the neighbor, goods for creation.  But each vocation embodies a different ensemble of goods (moral goods, practical goods, temporal goods, among others).  It is the goods that vary, that cannot be treated "the same."  So each vocation equally expresses one of the numerous roles into which we have been situated by God, and through which we may acquire the goods intrinsic to that vocational role.  It seems to be the case that the goods intrinsic to being a parent are perhaps more profound and enduring than the goods intrinsic to being an auto mechanic; but both are equally God-given vocations.

Does that make sense?

Tom Pearson
Sure.  But I think we should also keep in mind that vocations overlap.  One can be both a parent and an auto mechanic.  A difference between them is that while actively engaging in the latter, one does not really stop doing the former.  The reserve is not necessarily the case.  One can never really stop being a parent, while being a good parent often means temporarily suspending being the auto mechanic.  The tension of these things is what often gives people stress in their lives.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 04, 2023, 01:02:13 PM
You're refrain was my same reaction to reading this.  Once again I'm left wondering how injecting things into a conversation that no one has said advances it.  The implication that someone has is bad faith participation.

That's why I stipulated Pastor Stoffregen's observations upstream about more recent generations attitudes towards marriage.  I haven't noticed anyone here denying the obvious.  Just like I didn't see anyone suggest marriage was a commandment.


I believe that the issue is the marriage rite and license before engaging in sexual relationships. There is nothing in scriptures that mandates a marriage rite or license in order for a couple to be "married" and produce children. From what we read in the Scriptures, the marriage ceremony was basically a multi-day-long reception with lots of drinking, and then the couple went into the tent together (and presumably consummated their relationship). They were married in the eyes of the community. We can also throw in parental permission and the payment of a bride-price, too, as part of the marriage requirements.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 01:06:14 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on January 04, 2023, 11:39:37 AM
Where in the commandments is marriage mandated?
Where is it said that one must endure a physically and/or mentally abusive union?
Where is it mandated that the sense of self or vocation experienced and understood (or misunderstood)in one's early 20s must never change?
And what should the church do about the hundreds, the thousands of "non-traditional" marriages that now exist in our congregations?

Marriage is not mandated in the Ten Commandments. It is established in Creation, by God.  However, that establishment includes a commandment:  "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."  This follows a longer segment that function more as gospel than as law, speaking of the gift of life in God's image and likeness, and of male and female together being God's image in the new Creation. 

The Ten Commandments, in other words, do not establish marriage because it has already been established.  The Ten Commandments, however, do sanctify marriage by commanding us to honor father and mother, prohibiting adultery, etc...


The command to be fruitful and multiply is not a command to marry. The same command is given to the fish and birds (Gen 1:22). No one interprets that to mean that they have to get married before producing offspring.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 04, 2023, 01:45:12 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 01:32:53 PM
The church can be counter-cultural. Meaning, that those within the church can view marriage differently than those in the world. To some extent, the Roman Catholics (and Eastern Churches?) do this. Marriage "in the church" is seen as different than marriage in the culture. That difference is what I'm trying to promote. Perhaps if folks knew that they could be legally married by the state with all the marriage benefits; they might be more willing to sit through 6-9 months of instructions in the church to receive the sacred blessing.

Seen by whom this way?  You're peddling superstition about marriage in the church.  You really think recent generations, as secular as they are, don't know they don't have to be married in the church?  This is incoherent.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 01:32:53 PM
I don't think that marriage is really about eros or agape. The basis of marriage is not "love," however that might be defined; but commitment. Marriage is making vows to stick by each other - even when there might be a lack of eros or agape. Granted, there are times when the commitment and trust are irreparably broken that the vows have become meaningless and divorce becomes the best way forward.

What your describing is agape.  You know, faith hope and love that gets read at a lot of weddings.  As I said before, recent generations treat marriage is ephemeral because they think the feeling of eros should last forever.  This is what the legal battle over the definition of marriage is all about:  you should be able to marry whoever you love, because love is love.  Not about commitment or procreation.  And of course, because this is about same sex attraction, we're talking about eros.  The problem is, as soon as that loving feeling is lost, it's time to find it elsewhere.  There isn't as much daylight between ideas of secular and Christian marriage as you are imputing.

I'm sorry you don't recognize the schizophrenia of your advocacy.  You talk about the church being counter-culture, yet demand that it bow to the culture.  I'm not the one who suggested the church get out of the marriage business.  Maybe (once again) you didn't give enough thought to what you said before posting it, and now you're stuck with it.


I don't believe that the agape that Jesus commands us to have for our neighbors is quite the same thing as the commitment spouses make to each other.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 02:07:30 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 01:06:14 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on January 04, 2023, 11:39:37 AM
Where in the commandments is marriage mandated?
Where is it said that one must endure a physically and/or mentally abusive union?
Where is it mandated that the sense of self or vocation experienced and understood (or misunderstood)in one's early 20s must never change?
And what should the church do about the hundreds, the thousands of "non-traditional" marriages that now exist in our congregations?

Marriage is not mandated in the Ten Commandments. It is established in Creation, by God.  However, that establishment includes a commandment:  "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."  This follows a longer segment that function more as gospel than as law, speaking of the gift of life in God's image and likeness, and of male and female together being God's image in the new Creation. 

The Ten Commandments, in other words, do not establish marriage because it has already been established.  The Ten Commandments, however, do sanctify marriage by commanding us to honor father and mother, prohibiting adultery, etc...

The command to be fruitful and multiply is not a command to marry.

And I did not say that marriage was established by a command.

QuoteThe same command is given to the fish and birds (Gen 1:22). No one interprets that to mean that they have to get married before producing offspring.

They who?  Man and woman or the fish and birds?

David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 02:28:07 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 02:07:30 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 01:06:14 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on January 04, 2023, 11:39:37 AM
Where in the commandments is marriage mandated?
Where is it said that one must endure a physically and/or mentally abusive union?
Where is it mandated that the sense of self or vocation experienced and understood (or misunderstood)in one's early 20s must never change?
And what should the church do about the hundreds, the thousands of "non-traditional" marriages that now exist in our congregations?

Marriage is not mandated in the Ten Commandments. It is established in Creation, by God.  However, that establishment includes a commandment:  "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."  This follows a longer segment that function more as gospel than as law, speaking of the gift of life in God's image and likeness, and of male and female together being God's image in the new Creation. 

The Ten Commandments, in other words, do not establish marriage because it has already been established.  The Ten Commandments, however, do sanctify marriage by commanding us to honor father and mother, prohibiting adultery, etc...

The command to be fruitful and multiply is not a command to marry.

And I did not say that marriage was established by a command.

QuoteThe same command is given to the fish and birds (Gen 1:22). No one interprets that to mean that they have to get married before producing offspring.

They who?  Man and woman or the fish and birds?


Yes.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 02:44:23 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 02:28:07 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 02:07:30 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 01:06:14 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on January 04, 2023, 11:39:37 AM
Where in the commandments is marriage mandated?
Where is it said that one must endure a physically and/or mentally abusive union?
Where is it mandated that the sense of self or vocation experienced and understood (or misunderstood)in one's early 20s must never change?
And what should the church do about the hundreds, the thousands of "non-traditional" marriages that now exist in our congregations?

Marriage is not mandated in the Ten Commandments. It is established in Creation, by God.  However, that establishment includes a commandment:  "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."  This follows a longer segment that function more as gospel than as law, speaking of the gift of life in God's image and likeness, and of male and female together being God's image in the new Creation. 

The Ten Commandments, in other words, do not establish marriage because it has already been established.  The Ten Commandments, however, do sanctify marriage by commanding us to honor father and mother, prohibiting adultery, etc...

The command to be fruitful and multiply is not a command to marry.

And I did not say that marriage was established by a command.

QuoteThe same command is given to the fish and birds (Gen 1:22). No one interprets that to mean that they have to get married before producing offspring.

They who?  Man and woman or the fish and birds?

Yes.

That works very well if you are a Unitarian Universalist.  However, for a Lutheran to say that Genesis 1 is not speaking of the estate of marriage should be quite shocking.  Sadly, it isn't.  In fact, before I even asked the question.  I knew how you would answer. 

The only good news is that you and I may soon belong to different denominations.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Charles Austin

And we reach yet another one of those "I thank God that I am not like that one over there" moments.
So here's mine. While  I have been content with the various aspects of my life, and pleased to have done what I have done, nonetheless I thank God that my grandchildren will have more options, more control of their lives, more freedom to follow their own wishes and expectations than were available to me and members of my generation.
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. Former journalist. Former news director and spokesman for the LCA. Former LWF staff in Geneva, Switzerland.  Parishes in Iowa. New Jersey and New York.  Retired in Minneapolis.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2023, 03:07:03 PM
That works very well if you are a Unitarian Universalist.  However, for a Lutheran to say that Genesis 1 is not speaking of the estate of marriage should be quite shocking.  Sadly, it isn't.  In fact, before I even asked the question.  I knew how you would answer. 

The only good news is that you and I may soon belong to different denominations.


Wrong. That works very well for people who take the actual words of the Bible seriously, rather than what they think the Bible says. There's nothing in Genesis 1 or 2 that refers to "marriage" - especially "marriage" as practiced in the U.S. today. In fact, the common practice today is closer to that of the biblical period where there was no ritual, vows, or license: a couple decides to live together, and they do, and they and their family and friends consider them married.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 02:10:14 PM
Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 04, 2023, 01:45:12 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 01:32:53 PM
The church can be counter-cultural. Meaning, that those within the church can view marriage differently than those in the world. To some extent, the Roman Catholics (and Eastern Churches?) do this. Marriage "in the church" is seen as different than marriage in the culture. That difference is what I'm trying to promote. Perhaps if folks knew that they could be legally married by the state with all the marriage benefits; they might be more willing to sit through 6-9 months of instructions in the church to receive the sacred blessing.

Seen by whom this way?  You're peddling superstition about marriage in the church.  You really think recent generations, as secular as they are, don't know they don't have to be married in the church?  This is incoherent.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 01:32:53 PM
I don't think that marriage is really about eros or agape. The basis of marriage is not "love," however that might be defined; but commitment. Marriage is making vows to stick by each other - even when there might be a lack of eros or agape. Granted, there are times when the commitment and trust are irreparably broken that the vows have become meaningless and divorce becomes the best way forward.

What your describing is agape.  You know, faith hope and love that gets read at a lot of weddings.  As I said before, recent generations treat marriage is ephemeral because they think the feeling of eros should last forever.  This is what the legal battle over the definition of marriage is all about:  you should be able to marry whoever you love, because love is love.  Not about commitment or procreation.  And of course, because this is about same sex attraction, we're talking about eros.  The problem is, as soon as that loving feeling is lost, it's time to find it elsewhere.  There isn't as much daylight between ideas of secular and Christian marriage as you are imputing.

I'm sorry you don't recognize the schizophrenia of your advocacy.  You talk about the church being counter-culture, yet demand that it bow to the culture.  I'm not the one who suggested the church get out of the marriage business.  Maybe (once again) you didn't give enough thought to what you said before posting it, and now you're stuck with it.


I don't believe that the agape that Jesus commands us to have for our neighbors is quite the same thing as the commitment spouses make to each other.

Since you ignored it, I assume you are not going to defend/explain your prior suggestion that the church get out of the wedding business.  Probably just as well, because it was indefensible.

I didn't write "the agape that Jesus commands us to have for our neighbors".  I said "agape", as in the 1 Corinthians passage by St. Paul.

Even if it's not quite the same thing, why is it not appropriate?  Or rather, if it's not appropriate, why is it read so often at weddings?  Or maybe you'd prefer Ephesians 5:23, which describes a more explicit sacrificial love?
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 04:07:39 PM
That works very well for people who take the actual words of the Bible seriously, rather than what they think the Bible says.

Since you regularly make a spectacle of yourself here, I know you are not one of those people.  Upstream you trotted out your tiresome trope that somehow the marriage rite/license requirement before consummating a marriage is illegitimate, but parental permission and dowries are biblical and therefore okay.  As if marriage customs cannot change over time, that descriptive Bible passages are somehow prescriptive.

Such notions are not an indication of someone who takes the words of the Bible seriously.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Pilgrim

Quote from: Charles Austin on January 04, 2023, 03:16:57 PM
And we reach yet another one of those "I thank God that I am not like that one over there" moments.
So here's mine. While  I have been content with the various aspects of my life, and pleased to have done what I have done, nonetheless I thank God that my grandchildren will have more options, more control of their lives, more freedom to follow their own wishes and expectations than were available to me and members of my generation.

True enough, Charlies. But at what point does "their own wishes and expectations" this "more freedom" you speak of deteriorate into nothing more than narcissism, "trying to be like God"? Where are the "boundaries", where is the realization of sin that needs forgiveness and absolution?
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2023, 04:07:39 PM
In fact, the common practice today is closer to that of the biblical period where there was no ritual, vows, or license: a couple decides to live together, and they do, and they and their family and friends consider them married.

Except, in common practice today, people who live together are almost always making the conscious decision NOT to marry, do not consider themselves married, and are not understood to be by their family and friends.  Because the community has an explicit definition of marriage, which isn't this.

Why do they make a conscious decision not to marry?  Because they want to be able to leave whenever each wants.  It's not a life-long commitment.  Maybe they eventually decide to marry, but not always.

Just when I think you can't embarrass yourself anymore, you surprise me.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 04, 2023, 04:08:27 PM

Since you ignored it, I assume you are not going to defend/explain your prior suggestion that the church get out of the wedding business.  Probably just as well, because it was indefensible.

What I meant by that, which I clarified in a later post, is that we should stop signing the civil documents. We can and should still have a rite for calling down God's blessing on couples.

QuoteI didn't write "the agape that Jesus commands us to have for our neighbors".  I said "agape", as in the 1 Corinthians passage by St. Paul.

1 Corinthians 13 is about church members getting along with each other. (Even though it is often read at weddings.) It is certainly the way spouses should treat each other; but it also is how Christians should treat all other people - even enemies.

QuoteEven if it's not quite the same thing, why is it not appropriate?  Or rather, if it's not appropriate, why is it read so often at weddings?  Or maybe you'd prefer Ephesians 5:23, which describes a more explicit sacrificial love?

It's appropriate, but the agape between spouses is something more and different than the agape we are called to have with others and especially among fellow believers. The agape among Jesus' disciples is our witness to the world that we are Jesus' disciples. I would say that beyond that, it is our agape towards our enemies that distinguishes Jesus' followers from pagans - who are able to love their friends (Matt 5:43-47).
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

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