We’ll even couch it in the traditional feminist Churchian language for it. Her soulmate is out there! The perfect man that God put on earth just for her is out there! The one who will meet all her ridiculous expectationshopes and dreams she had from a child in dreaming about marriage. It’s all hers!
Then if the congregation shames the man into courting the woman they like each other and court, the church itself will get cash and prizes! Even more so if they marry and we get to come back and film the formal declaration of slavery wedding.
To top it off, we’ll get a famous evangelical churchian figure to play game show host. Preferably a woman, one who all the churchians know and go ga-ga over. One they want to be. It’s going to be great! Wait a minute, someone’s already doing this?
Now if someone would travel the churches and teach the women that it’s them that needs to change and be adults. That you can’t make both career and family a priority without one of them suffering. That it’s the women that need to repent of their pasts and be on their knees thanking both God and a man that might be gracious enough to take them as a wife after all the things they’ve done in the past. That there is no such thing as a soul mate or the perfect man that God put on this earth for just them. That the idea of the born-again virgin is not only not scriptural, but totally ridiculous. That the Lord’s grace in the forgiveness of sin doesn’t extend to the worldly consequences of those sins – that a good Christian man has the right to select a wife according to his own good conscience and not be shamed and forced into manning up and marrying those sluts or those women who somehow found themselves pregnant because they just couldn’t resist that unbelieving alpha thug who just deserve a man to come in and take care of both them and their thugspawn. Or forced to sin against the Lord by marrying frivorced women. Now that’s a show I’d tune in to watch every week!
One of my concerns over the years has been the effects of technology on people. I’ve been on the Internet and various electronic forums since 1994, and have seen several sea changes. Things have gone from e-mail and IRC to texts on smartphones and Siri. In all this technology, I’ve noticed the total willingness of people to be able to dissociate themselves from contact with real people. They don’t even realize what they are dealing with people anymore.
It even goes to radio and television. Before television, people had nothing to do but talk with one another, and do things together. When the television got popular, it started atomizing the community. People stayed in and watched television as families, and even disconnected with one another there. I notice in my parent’s generation that they spent more time getting to know J.R. Ewing, Angus MacGyver, and Heathcliff Huxtable than getting to know any friends. Even in her later years, she spent more time with Gil Grissom, Leroy Gibbs, and Aaron Hotchner than with anyone else. I recall a few times wanting to say to her something like “you know they’re just actors right?”, when she would refer to them as real people.
I really haven’t had much interest in television, but the computer has really drawn me. In being raised around television, perhaps it is easy to be drawn to things with interactivity, since the whole experience of being raised by TV drones is probably why I’m introverted. It’s so easy to be drawn to games, chats, e-mail, and other things that you lose contact with dealing with real people, real emotions, real voices. Real people are hard, especially when you lose all that contact with community. It’s hard to know what is real and what is fake, when the only thing before you is a disembodied voice, or pixels on a screen. Thankfully, I realized I was keeping myself from doing things I needed to do outside of my college work. Also, it drew me into some pretty sinful things in my life before I walked with Christ.
I’ve observed in these marches of technology that more and more people are lost in them. The only way you can reach them is through texts, not even e-mails, not phone calls. Things have changed so much since I got sucked into my computer. People walk around with devices on their skulls, talking, and oblivious to the people and the world around them. Friends have become a thing on Facebook, not the folks you really talk with, get to know, encourage, and help. It’s near impossible, to break through these things and have…real contact. People refuse to deal with you without the Facebook, Twitter, or SMS filter. People won’t deal with you romantically without the Match, OKCupid, or ChristianMingle filter. More and more people are walking around talking and typing and disconnected with the world around them. Good luck reaching those people.
This has extended to the Church for a much longer time, due to the destruction of the functional Church in favor of profane Greek temple worship. If the Church consists of people and not of buildings, it should follow that the sole functioning of the Church involves person-to-person interaction and not events, rituals, and places. That follows in the existence of anywhere from 50-60 “one another” commands (depending on your translation) in the New Testament. The Church is a huge topic to talk about in detail, but a couple of passages catch the thumbnail view – the testimony of the Church is ultimately marked by functioning love each member has for the others:
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:41-47)
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35)
It’s an interesting development in technology that these companies are trying to make their technology more “real”. In this dissociated state, people still long for community, and cry out for it. It’s ironic that men are trying to recreate what has been right in front of them all along. The most famous is Siri, but there’s Skype and a host of other things.
This leads me to the movie Her. I don’t get interested in movies much, but very rarely, I do get interested in certain things. One of those is well-thought out statements on life and ourselves that are presented within the media. This movie definitely qualifies. (I have to make the disclaimer that it’s unfortunate that a movie so culturally relevant to today would have to be “Rated R for language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity”, since those weren’t necessary to get the message across. I recommend it, if you can catch it edited on TV somewhere.)
In this movie, we’re presented with a “very near future”. The main character is a non-socially adept man in the final stages of his divorce. He works as a writer of “personal letters” in a company that people hire to write letters in interacting with others because they won’t/can’t do it for themselves. While he interacts with friends sparingly, his main occupation is with highly interactive video games. He installs a new OS on his computer which has a Siri-like interface that is much more sophisticated. He falls in love with this computer. See this Big Bang Theory clip for a more comedic take, and get the basic idea:
Her makes the point well of how isolating and dehumanizing these technological toys get. Several scenes in the movie include the main character walking amidst a sea of people talking to their computers. The actors do a wonderful job of portraying the feelings of loneliness, angst, and general pain that their characters feel in not having real connections with others and awkwardly stumbling over the real interactions that are placed in their way. Furthermore, the real awkwardness of trying to connect with machines on a human level was presented (most jarring being the “body surrogate”) very well by the actors, along with the machines trying to interact with the people. How do you feel love for a set of pixels? How do you encourage a cell phone? How do you comfort a computer? How can pixels, cell phones, and computers love, encourage, and comfort you? For most part now, there are real people with real hopes, dreams, needs, and desires on the other end. It seems increasingly harder for people to be able to see that beyond the characters, beyond the videos. It’s still harder for people to not be deceived by the inadequacies that are presented.
That line is getting ever more blurred, especially as real community of the kind people long for is being answered by poor substitutes. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases they are the only way people interact. People can’t find the real thing. The temptation becomes high to partake in these things. It’s much easier to find a chat room than to go out and get people interested enough in you to strike up a friendship. It’s much easier to text message while you’re doing something else than to dedicate your time to really talking and getting to know people.
People are crying out for community amidst the isolation. Ironically, the answer is to cast aside the devices. What so many, even Christians, are crying out for is perfectly answered by the true Church. Unfortunately, the devices of buildings, rituals, and events have been substituted. Ironically, this answer is also to cast the device aside that keeps people from really connecting.
Sadly, people won’t give up these millstones. And they will sink us.
I recently come to a decision where I can feel comfortable with the idea of blogging. Part of that is posting here when I do have something to say, which may be very infrequent. But that’s why I restored the blog and put it back up. Anyway, I’ve got something to say now. . .
With all these people like Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler and others proposing that men man up and marry those sluts, part of that has naturally been focused on the women that have frivolously divorced their husbands. Unfortunately in all the churches today, there are too many of these. To look at my online dating account that I never use, the ones that expressed recent interest: Divorced slut, 9 children; Divorced slut, 2 children; Divorced slut, 5 children; Divorced slut, 2 children; Divorced slut, 2 children; Divorced slut, 2 children. Naturally, much of what these feminist preachers propose involves shaming, deceiving, and doing everything possible to get men to accept this state. Let’s look at what they are proposing.
As I described here in talking about the commitment of marriage, marriage is once and for life. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6) Jesus even goes on to say:
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. (Matthew 19:9)
And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. (Mark 10:11-12)
So in Albert Mohler, Mark Driscoll, and others proposing that I man up and marry these divorced single mothers, they are proposing that I live in sin by committing adultery with these women, whose husbands are still alive. The only recourse they should be telling these women is to reconcile with their husbands.
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. (Romans 7:2-3)
But what is it really? One of the things you can do in meditating Scripture is put yourself in the place of whatever it is talking about to drive home the proper message it should have (what is it saying to me and for me?). This Scripture stuck out in thinking on this:
And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; (Matthew 1:6)
It’s significant that roughly 900 years later, the mother of Solomon is referred to not by proper name but as Uriah’s wife (and yes I know it refers to her as “David’s wife” in 2 Samuel 11-12). But let’s get back to intent as Jesus described it and personalize this a bit. I’ll put myself in the place of David, the one who took this “wife” by sin and not as a widow:
I married someone else’s wife.
I had sex with someone else’s wife.
I had children with someone else’s wife.
I am taking care of someone else’s children.
Totally disgusting. It disgusts me. It disgusts most men who have any sense of dignity and self-worth.