Reflections of a Broken Man

Men of Courage? by StephenMac
March 1, 2009, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , , , , , , ,

**Currently playing in iTunes: Breathing In A New Mentality by Underoath**

I must admit… I didn’t want to go to Men’s Convention this year… I really wanted to bludge at home. But I did go, and it was awesome: really glad I went.

I’m posting some thoughts that have been percolating in my mind in the last few days. We begin with the idea that nothing happens without a reason: God’s sovereignty is such that there such thing as a coincidence. Rather, God sets events in play that work things out for his purpose.

This is the basis for the following reflections.

The first in the chain of events was kt-rae’s awesome post on “loving your husband before you are married” or words to that effect. While I can’t love my husband, the principle is the same: as a single, I need to be “prepared” for marriage because in the idea of a “married” relationship we have what it means to be the Bride of Christ. Being a single who is cultivating the qualities for marriage is paramount to living the Christian life.

The second was Friday Chapel, where the sermon looked at Col. 3:18-21 and the ideas of family. Marriage, it was suggested, is a place that is wrongly believed to be a place of freedom: “I’m free from restraint”. Rather, marriage will involve sacrifice and sometimes pain, but it is founded deeply in love. The popularist ideal of freedom is a misnomer: genuine relationship in the marriage is found in the wife’s submission to the husband’s sacrificial love. There is no place for self-centred “freedom”, but selfless service.

The third was men’s convention, where one of the speakers made the point about a book, and suggested that even though the book talked about how to be a man of leadership in the family, it was relevant to single guys too, because the single guy may either be preparing for marriage, or even more relevant to myself, be in friendships where they can be supportive or ministering to men who are in a marriage. The content of this leadership is by example: our lives are to be such that not only will our families follow us willingly because of their trust in us, but our friends, our colleagues, our neighbours will see the life that we lead and similarly follow. The lives that men lead should be lives that are filled, not by their own courage, but by the trust in the faithfulness of God. They exhibit the courage of God.

In short, the single man needs to know how to be a married man: to learn to be a devoted Christian and to learn how to lead his own family or encourage others who have their own.

On this basis, therefore, I argue that there is no longer a place for the single/married divide. It should never have been there in the first place, but now, even more so, this issue needs to be put to rest. There is no difference, because the married and the single are now all brides of Christ, and whatever advice/encouragement/admonishment/chastisement that was relevant purely for the one is now relevant for all. This false dichotomy which has hurt and split and impacted many of my peers needs to cease.