Archive / September, 2011

As One Who Waits

Browsing Amazon’s virtual shelves, I stumbled (if, in a virtual world, one may be said to have “stumbled”) upon a book that immediately went into my cart. It wasn’t something I had specifically searched for, but I knew I had to have it.

I purchased the book — without hesitation — based on the reputation of (and my respect for) the author, Ruth Bell Graham (late wife of Dr. Billy Graham). She is someone I’d “known” — though not via personal acquaintance — for as long as I can remember.

The book, entitled Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, offers the subtitle “Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait.” The book’s potential drew me. With Graham as the author, I thought — hoped? — it might contain some cogent spiritual insights for this prickly — but not uncommon — parent/child quandary. My presumption was if anyone could speak with authority on the subject, it might be Graham who has long acknowledged two of her children were prodigals, what she calls “spiritual wanderers.” Continue Reading →

Holding On To Humanity

Years ago when I announced to my parents that I was pregnant (with our fourth child), my dad commented that he thought I was a little nuts to bring another child into this world. I don’t remember his exact words — and I know he never meant to wound, although he did. His comment stayed with me.

I’ve come to understand Dad’s remark had less to do with a dire view of the world and more about his concern for me, his eldest daughter, and my health. Bearing four babies in less than eight years, etc. — who did I think I was? Wonder Woman? (This was before Michelle Duggar raised the motherhood bar into the stratosphere!)

At the time, though, I remember thinking:  here is a man whose first glimpse of Europe came when he was dumped (with rifle and a weighty backpack full of gear) from an amphibious landing craft into the seas (though he had never learned how to swim!) off Utah Beach on June 6, 1944. A 21 year old infantry soldier, his job with the 359th regiment meant regular trips to the front lines driving delivery trucks filled with much-needed supplies. Continue Reading →

Taken Captive By Culture (II)

In yesterday’s post, I condemned the devaluation of language that leads to a culturally-defined understanding of marriage. One writer suggested marriage and divorce are in evolution. I disagree.

Words (like dollars) have value; words communicate meaning. However, when this currency (our language) is devalued, communication suffers or ceases.

Hence, my strong conviction that our understanding of marriage must not be taken captive to cultural dictates (i.e. redefinition).

A word to alternative lifestyle folks:  Refer to the definition I quoted in yesterday’s post here. You have the option to enter into marriage. No disrespect or unkindness intended, but based on definition alone, same-sex unions aren’t marriage; please create a different (better suited) word to define your unions.

Beyond general devaluation of language, as I see it, the greater injury (over the last half century) to marriage (as a bedrock institution of society) has been inflicted by the increasing prevalence of divorce. I’m hesitant to view divorce (like marriage) on an evolutionary continuum, but I concede divorce has had dramatic impact on society.

By definition, divorce has always been the legal means to violate the inviolable. What makes divorce a cultural phenomenon is how commonplace it has become; terms like amicable divorce, blended family, serial monogamy and starter wives are fairly recent entries to the social lexicon. Culture adjusts conversation and mindset to reflect everyday realities. Continue Reading →

Taken Captive By Culture (I)

The story ran nationwide with various iterations on a theme:  more divorces in the South, fewer in the Northeast. Living in the South and holding a high view of marriage, I bristled because this simplistic reportage leaves so much unsaid.

The Washington Post took an unusual angle, addressing singles in an opening paragraph I’ll summarize:  Hope to hear wedding bells? Then move to the South or West — but beware! Your chances of divorce will also increase. [Did I mention simplistic reportage?!]

The Post deemed the Census report a “first-of-its-kind analysis.” Similarly, USAToday ran a story by Sharon Jayson noting it “gives the clearest picture in 20 years ….” Jayson also stressed regional patterns. Her lead:

Where you live may influence your attitudes and actions toward marriage and divorce more than you think, suggests a federal report out today that gives the clearest picture in 20 years about the evolution of marriage and divorce across the USA.

(I’ll discuss the Census report later.) First, I must quibble with the USAToday piece. Jayson’s reference to ” … the evolution of marriage and divorce across the USA” insinuates marriage is a capricious, moving target! It is not. Continue Reading →

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