Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I am saving it for...

I confess.  I am somewhat of a hoarder.  I have thousands of old email messages on my computer.  I know that they need to be culled and most deleted but I am sure that as soon as I delete one of them, it will be the one I need.  I pack away wonderfully bound journals awaiting the touch of pen and ink to their pages and then I write on the free notepads imprinted with the various parachurch organizations that want me to support them today.  I know I am getting old and should just break down and write in the notebooks that I love but I am still hesitant.  I collect books.  Most of them are quite important and some valuable but some are books I never intend to read or read again.  I just cannot let go of them.  So I keep finding creative ways to pack my 10,000 (yeah, that's right) books into shelves that should hold about 8,000.

I do the same with clergy shirts and socks and black dress trousers (dontcha just love that word, trousers?), oh, yes, and black dress shoes.  I find them on sale and put them away because clergy shirts do not go out of style (at least in my style book) and neither does the obligatory outfit of black trousers, socks, and shoes.  So I have enough to get me by the next dozen years (unless I lose or gain weight or my feet grow or shrink).  I wear the old until they are worn out and then regret having to toss them in the trash and dig out a new one from my stash.

I save things for the day when I will need them.  Apparently I am not the only one.  Have you ever really watched those hoarding programs on reality TV?  Gosh, I am glad I am not like them (in desire if not degree). And my point is, you are wondering?  Well, yes, I have a point.

Apparently singles are saving themselves for marriage.  They are spending themselves freely in casual sex, cohabitation, and children outside of wedlock but they are saving marriage for the right person and the right moment.  It would seem that they have such a high view of marriage that they would not want to marry just anybody.  Lord knows that they could not marry someone with whom they were not compatible (sexually mostly).  So our youth and our seniors have gotten used to the idea that marriage is to good to rush into but sex, cohabitation, and kids are not so good that they must wait for the perfect marriage. 

Every now and then my wife comes down hard on me and I face the unpleasant task of throwing away or giving away the things in my closet that I never wear.  Then I must dig into the stash and replace the staples of clothing that have outworn their welcome with those new and fresh.  I guess that is one of the blessings of marriage -- someone to tell me what is trash that I continue to hoard and when it is time to let go.  That is not a bad thing.  Well, maybe it is time for us to challenge the common culture and suggest to folks around us that it is time to let go of their false nobility about marriage and their utilitarian view of relationships and family and bring out the new stuff that is, in essence, rather old.

It is time to say that instead of saving marriage for that special moment after sex, moving in, and a child, we need to focus our time on a relationship and a partner worthy of marriage.  First we need to find a spouse and then we need to explore the sexual gift that comes hidden in marriage and then we need to rejoice in the creative love that God has endowed in this physical love in the birth of children.  We need to stop saving ourselves for marriage and indulging in casual sex, shacking up, and a child before the biological clock ticks away past midnight and we need to start investing ourselves for marriage, FIRST, and then rejoicing in what follows.

Marriage must wait for the right spouse but we have long sexual histories and have lived with people we would never consider marrying...  Marriage must wait for the bank account to reach the magic number to fund the unrealistic dream we have been feeding since childhood (average cost of a wedding in the US hovers at $27,000 - yeah you heard me right).  Marriage must wait until career is settled and we get the wild oats out of our system so that we can commit to an equal partnership which is a barely cleaned up version of our old living together arrangement.  Notice, sex cannot wait nor can moving in together nor should we postpone children if that is what we want.  But marriage, well, that is just so special, it cannot be rushed.

If I save a clergy shirt or pair of black socks or pants (you have been waiting for me to ditch that word trousers, haven't you) or shoes, for some future day when the mood hits me, I have not hurt anyone (honest, dear, it does not hurt anyone).  But when I save marriage while indulging in every other aspect of my life together with the person ordinarily called my spouse, I hurt so many folks, not in the least, myself.  It is time to stop saving for marriage while spending fully our sexual freedom and choice.  It is time to return the focus and priority to marriage, sex, living together as husband and wife, and kids...  Our culture cannot stand much more of the current focus and our nation is awash in the problems of screwed up priorities... and I have not even mentioned God yet...


Anonymous said...

I think this is a very good, helpful, and positive way of looking at the issues at hand. Thank you for the post, Pastor!

Anonymous said...

10,000 books??!! I am so moving in with you!!

Aritul said...

There is so much truth in this post.