May 26, 2005

So you're divorced?

Well then I guess you might be doomed. At least according to some churches, pastors & christians you are. Sigh. I so don't want to go there, but you know I will.

For those of you that don't know me well, let me start off by saying that I'm not divorced or married to a divorced person. I am married to my high school sweetheart, and many a time the D word has been brought up. We've had some major obstacles, but to God be the glory we're still here. Still in love.

A few years ago, I was going to take some classes at a
Christian college. I knew the type of classes I wanted to take were typically full of men. Some asked, wouldn't you rather take music, teaching, or domestic classes? No. I wanted to study eschatology, Hebrew, Greek, and apologetics.

What made me decide not to take classes there, was their policy on
divorce. They wouldn't even admit a divorced student, or a student married to a divorced person. I was a appalled. Disgusted was more like it.

You see, my grandmother-in-law is an extremely godly woman, who loves the Lord with all her heart & soul. She got married very young to a man who really wasn't who he said he was at all. He'd take off for days or weeks on end. He became a drug addict & rumor has it, he was actually gay. He tried to prevent her from staying close to her family & ended up abandoning her & their baby. (my husband's dad)

She was devastated. Ashamed. Scared. Alone. How could she have been so dumb? So blind? So unwanted? How could she ever face her family, being the only one in her family to get divorced. At such a young age even.

Fortunately, her family welcomed her with open arms, and showed her the love of Christ. Her family prayed for her & helped her through all the emotional wreckage. She was not damaged goods they told her. She picked herself up & got busy making a life for her son. She worked & went to school. She met a godly man that loved her & her son without end. She prayed about it & got remarried. He adopted her son. Her ex husband later 'choked on a piece of steak.' Family said it was more like a drug overdose.

She worked very hard to get a masters degree in elementary education. I have rarely met a woman I respect more then her. But, she would not be fit to study at that college. Nope.

Even though the college undoubtebly is full of
liars, adulterers, fornicaters, thieves, cheaters, murderers, deceivers, and so forth. Yet, a divorced person isn't allowed a Christian education? Of studying God's word in a academic setting? Yet, we hear so often all the things wrong with secular colleges & why a Christian should beware.

Sweet Jesus, what is wrong with us? Are we loving people to Christ? Or driving them away by our
hyprocrisy? Are we building each other up? Or pushing them away by inflicting shame or guilt.

Our church is voting to add to provisions on moral issues to our Church's
Articles of Faith.

"We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; and should abstain from sinful pleasures by walking in obedience to the Scriptures." (Romans 12:1-2, 14:13, 1 Cor 6:9-10; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, 10:5; Gal 5:16, 1 Thess 4:1-12, 1 John 2:15-17)

I agree with all that. I think one of those verses is very vague though? Anyone catch which one I'm talking about? What I want to know is whose going to determine what's a sinful pleasure? God or man?

I'm not sure why the deacons are recommending to add provisions. I'd like to know why though. I need some answers.

Do they think we don't know what God desires? I have to wonder, does it have anything to do with our pastor refusing to marry a young couple last year? A daughter of a family that is very involved at our church. They are a family of 12. Part of our church's patriarchs. They've been there longer then both our pastors put together.

This family in our church had many children. Then some of their kids had many children. So on and so forth. It took me more then a year to figure out that practically half (at least it seemed that way) of our church is either related by blood or marriage. They are the worker bees in our church. The Sunday school teachers, AWANA leaders, organizers, and members of the social committees.

One of the daughters was set to get married. Everything was ready. Until the groom professed he had once been married. His fiance knew & they had worked it out. He wasn't saved until a few years ago, it was a foolish mistake (he married not for love, but to help a friend get some sort of benefits for service, it was vague) and he wanted to be right with her family & the pastor.
He didn't want to hide it from the pastor, knowing it was deceptive. He took a big risk, but to him, being a man of honesty & honor was far more important. Something that might not have been true before.

The family wasn't tickled pink, but they knew that was before Christ, and they weren't to judge. There was a whole schism over this. Some of their own family were torn over it. The Pastor refused to marry them, or allow them to be married in the church. He wouldn't even acknowledge it. They found a different pastor to perform the ceremony in a park. They then ended up leaving the church.

Then around that time, another couple left. They are very missed & were such a blessing to have in the Church. She was divorced, & remarried. She had a daughter previous & they had two sons together. She knew her husband wouldn't be able to apply as deacon, but to be told their marriage wasn't even recognized was enough to make them leave. I don't know the full story with that family as we had left temporarily for our own reasons. I just know it was a shame.

This is what the notification says:

"We believe that God ordained marriage as the union between one man and one woman exclusively. In obedience to Scripture, we believe that this church, its pastors, deacons, and its members shall not sanction, perform or recognize any other union. We believe that any other union is sinful and those participating in any other union are disobeying Scripture and shall be subject to church discipline." (Gen 1:27-28, 2:22-24, 19: 5, 13; Lev 18:1-30; Matt 19:5,6, Eph 5:29-31, Rom 1:21-32; Hebrews 13:4)

Even members shall not recognize their marriages? Who am I to say? (Although, I'm not a member for other reasons, but R is) So what, are the members that have been saved--by grace through
faith-- after a divorce & remarriage supposed to divorce again to make it right? Or separate but stay married forever, and dismantle their current family? What are they supposed to do?

I'm not sure what they're meaning by this, but I have to ask the pastors & deacons because it's driving me nuts. I know divorce is wrong & why it is. I know that there is too much divorce, including from Christians. I know most people give up on their marriages too soon.

But I think we have to be very careful how we conduct ourselves to our brothers & sisters in Christ, should we cause them to stumble. Do we really want to alienate divorced persons? Why not any other group of 'sinners'?

It continues:

"We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on grounds of fornication. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon."(Malachi 2:14-17, Matt 19:3-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Tim 3:2, 12; Titus

According to Jesus, everyone commits adultery in their heart if they look upon another with lust, so wouldn't that mean we are all adulterers & fornicaters? So either everyone can justify their divorce by saying the other commits mental & emotional adultery, or we have to accept we are all still sinners, falling short of the glory of God, and ask for humility lest we judge others too harshly. Or at all.

I fear we are going to lose more families just by the wording alone. I fear we are going to put off families when they come seeking & searching only to find a place that wants to brand them with a 'D'.

I fear we are going to become a church that has amnesia. We might forget who we all were before Christ. (1 cor 6:9-10)