How should the church respond?

Russell Moore on the gay marriage ruling and on how churches should respond:

As I write this, the Supreme Court has handed down what will be the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage, redefining marriage in all 50 states. This is a sober moment, and I am a conscientious dissenter from this ruling. The Court now has disregarded thousands of years of definition of the most foundational unit of society, and the cultural changes here will be broad and deep. So how should the church respond? [Read more...]

Between first sleep and second sleep

About two years ago, we posted First Sleep, Second Sleep, which became the 12th most-read post on this blog, with people to this day clicking on it.  It had to do with what historians have discovered about sleep patterns in the days before artificial lighting, from ancient and Biblical days through the 17th century.  People would go to bed shortly after it turned dark, sleep for four hours, wake up for two or three hours, then go back to sleep for another four hours.  During the period of wakefulness between “first sleep” and “second sleep,” people would talk, read, and pray.  This seems to have been the main time when married couples would make love.  Artificial lighting–not just candles but oil lamps and especially electric lighting–changed people’s sleeping patterns, letting us stay up late, though patterns of insomnia suggest that first sleep and second sleep is deep wired into our nature.

Anyway, researchers have been studying this phenomenon.  Test subjects made to go to sleep when it gets dark, after a period of adjustment, fall back into the pattern.  But then scientists discovered something else.  That time between first sleep and second sleep is characterized by a unique state of consciousness.  Although the person is fully awake, he or she is in a state of deep rest, relaxation, and peace.

Clark Strand, who has written a book on the subject, relates it to the “mindfulness” of Eastern meditation.  I don’t think we have to go all mystical about it, like he does (though the connection might suggest why “the night watches” were such a good time for Bible reading and prayer), but I’m curious what this would have meant for marriages.  Marital intimacy–sex, yes, but also conversation–may well have been heightened during this nightly state of mind.  “Sleeping together” may have been more than a euphemism, perhaps a description of an deep intimacy that may be difficult to attain today. [Read more...]

The financial problems of just living together

There are strong moral reasons why couples shouldn’t just live together without being married.  There are also strong psychological reasons why this is not a good idea.  (See also this.)  The Washington Post‘s financial advice columnist, Michelle Singletary, points out that there are also strong financial reasons not to, that sharing housing expenses, bank accounts, and buying property together can be disastrous if the couple isn’t married. [Read more...]

Replacing marriage

Isabel Sawhill is a liberal scholar who has spent much of her career defending marriage from cultural developments and government policies that have weakened the institution.  She has been pro-marriage not for moral, spiritual , or cultural reasons but because the data is overwhelming that children do better with two parents and that married couples do better economically.

But now she is giving up.  She says that marriage is in such a weakened state that we need to come up with alternatives that will have the same economic and child-care benefits.  See what she is proposing after the jump.  How do you think these would work? [Read more...]

The faults of No-Fault divorce

Re-building the institution of marriage requires changing the no-fault divorce laws, argue Thomas Farr and Hilary Towers.  Another product of the 1960s, these laws have had unintended social consequences, to the point that “the only contract that is utterly unenforceable in law is marriage.” [Read more...]

Evangelicals take part in Vatican marriage conference

Evangelicals, Pentecostalists, and even Mormons took part in a recent Vatican conference on marriage, which was hosted by Pope Francis.  Southern Baptist social ministries spokesman Russell Moore was an invited speaker.  So was megachurch pastor Rick Warren, who was said to have turned the Roman Catholic meeting into a “revivalist meeting.”  (Does anyone know if any Lutherans participated?)  The Catholics gave the evangelicals a standing ovation.

Do you think this was a good thing–religious people of various stripes rallying in defense of marriage–or a problematic and potentially dangerous  bit of unionism? [Read more...]


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