Monday, March 2, 2009

Be an Amoeba

Inspiration fought its way through my writer's block briefly when I was in class today. (It was very that I'm trying to do homework again I'm back to being stuck. Not cool, inspiration...not cool.) We were discussing a case study involving a woman who felt trapped in a very emotionally abusive marriage. She was concerned for her physical safety and that of her daughters. Over the course of the class discussion a question arose that would only come up in an environment like a conservative Christian college: whether it would be wrong for her to divorce her abusive husband. While the whole class was agreed that she should get away from her husband if she felt that she was in physical danger, there were some students in the class who firmly believed that she absolutely should not divorce him.

Now, I realize that to some of you probably find this completely unbelievable. Having grown up around people who share this belief, I can kind of understand where they were coming from. They believe that divorce is a sin: it goes back to the verse "what God has joined together, let no man separate." They think marriage is a covenant, and that covenant shouldn't be broken. I have a few problems with this. First of all, even the Bible gives examples of when there are grounds for divorce (and abuse is one of those). Second...the couple in question in this case study were not Christians. They had no interest in God. Therefore, those commands about divorce (commands given to believers), simply do not apply to them.

Far too often I see fellow Christians determined to force every issue in the world into perfect black and white. I'm sorry, but that's just not the way the world works. I don't think that divorce is the ideal, of course. I think it's too bad that it happens. But should someone stay in an abusive situation, allowing that greater evil to continue in an effort to avoid the lesser "evil" of divorce? That doesn't make sense to me. There are a lot of issues that I see like that. Take homosexuality for example. Do I think it's necessarily the ideal? No, not really. Reading the Bible I can clearly see that God created Adam and Eve to be together. But I also don't buy into the "homosexuality is a choice" bullshit. Some men are legitimately attracted to men, some women are attracted to women, and some people are genuinely attracted to people of both genders. Should these people be doomed to a life of hiding who they are? Should they be forced to be celibate forever to avoid the "sin" of homosexuality? Somehow I don't see forcing people to deny who they are as the right course of action. That doesn't sit well with me. In my mind, we live in a messed up world where things don't work they way we necessarily think they should. That doesn't give us the right to go pounding people over the heads with Bibles. I'm not afraid to stand up for my beliefs. I think the Bible is truth. I also think the greatest truth of the Bible is the truth that Jesus loved people, and if Christians are supposed to be following His example, that should be our focus.

Anyway, inspiration hit when I was getting riled up by the case study discussion. I was thinking about the happy little Christian box we seem determined to fit everything into, and this is what came out of it. (For those of you who might be particularly sensitive to the use of four-letter-words, just pretend the first word of that last line is "forget." It has the same first letter. I'm sure you can manage.)

What if the box is actually a lot less square than we try to make it?

Maybe the box is really more of an amoeba
there are boundaries, but they're flexible. The boundaries hold in the essentialsin that way, the amoeba is constant. But the boundaries also allow nonessentials to come and go, making the amoeba dynamic, constantly changing.

Fuck the box. Be an amoeba.


Katrina said...

you can blame my theology and missions classes for making me define my beliefs for myself lately. as result i decided i wanted to ask you to clarify what verses you based your views off of. I would totally love to agree with your opinion, but the fact that in the end we all will be held accountable for obeying God, whether or not we have chosen Him is a fact that i can't ignore. I do not know if this also applies to the divorce verses but it's something i've been thinking about. just my 2cents. take it or leave it.

Katrina said...

I wanted to clarify that I don't think people should stay in abusive marriages or shun the "non-believer" for their lifestyle, I am just trying to understand the general idea you clarifying about divorce in general.

Lyss said...

Ok, I have a lot of homework to do, so I haven't had a chance to look up specific references. I guess what I was trying to get at was the fact that when the Bible is talking about divorce, those guidelines are being directed at believers. As for being held accountable regardless of whether we've chosen to obey God...yes, I do believe that we'll all answer to God someday. But I believe that we'll answer first for belief or disbelief in Him. Honestly, issues like divorce are important, but not eternal life/death important. I don't want to trivialize sin, but I also don't want to make an individual sin out to be a bigger deal than someone's acceptance of Christ as Lord. Does that make sense?