This rambling I'm doing on my blog is just "armchair theology". The kinda stuff I used to hear my parents do after church on Sundays when my aunt and uncle would come over for Sunday lunch. They'd toss everything around out loud, agreeing or disagreeing with parts of what the preacher had said that morning. One big difference between me and my parents, as I recall it, is that they had way more stuff nailed down than I do. I tend to have way more questions than answers about pretty much everything I think about regarding theology.
I'd like to ramble on a bit about divorce. Since I've experienced two of them, I suppose I could call myself an expert. But, I won't.
The thing is, I can remember how it was, or at least my perception of it, 30 years ago for people who were divorced. I was 14 then. Keeping in mind that I grew up in a fundamentalist church in the South, my perception was that divorced people were tainted, or, in other words, sinful. They were certainly less valuable in the church back then and weren't allowed to teach or hold any positions of leadership whatsoever. A divorced church secretary, a volunteer position back then, would be OUT. I got the very clear idea that even though divorced people could receive forgiveness and make it to heaven, they'd rendered themselves pretty much useless for work in God's kingdom because of this great sin. Nowadays, there are some mainline churches that allow divorced folks to do all sorts of things within the body that would never have occurred 30 years ago. Most still draw the line and positions like elder or preacher, but the lines are WAY broader than they used to be within the church for those who are divorced. What changed? Did God change his mind or did we change ours? Could it be that Kurt is onto something in the comments of the last post. (i don't have time to copy and paste it so you'll have to look if you didn't read it).
The fact of the matter is that I'm living in a time when it's much easier to be a divorced person and operate fully within the realm of daily church life than would have been possible 30 years ago. Heck, I could probably go and sign up to teach in ANY one of the churches in this small town, TODAY, and I've been through two divorces! Wait. I take that back. The Church of Christ here still holds a moratorium on those divorced. But, the CoC doesn't really count because you can't tell what one congregation will do for sure on any given issue unless you go in, get comfortable, and find out. Which, I think is kind of a good thing and this is the reason the CoC can claim that they're not a demonimation....they have no governing body. I digress.
ANYWAY....you get my point. And, the point of all my rambling is NOT to try and prove that divorce is not a sin. I honestly believe that the same things that are sin have always been sin. I don't think sin changes over the course of time just because our culture changes. I do think that WE change in the way that we relate to one another within our sinful state of being....and we, as his people, may change our minds about how we view sin, but God has never changed at all in the way that HE relates to US.
I'm short on time, so I'll finish this particular rambling after school today. Thanks for reading so far!
Updated portion begins here--------------------------------------
ok...so...where was I going with this?
Kurt mentioned in his comment that Jesus was talking about abandonement when he was being so strict on divorce, and that divorce in that day and time was very different in it's outcome for all involved than in today's culture. I agree, because, based on what I know about Kurt, I don't think he was necessarily saying that marriage vows aren't to be taken as seriously as they should be, but that divorce, when it does occur, takes place in a completely different context than it used to. I do believe that most divorce, at some point, probably involves some manner of sin. In the case of my first divorce (here goes the expert), there was emotional abandonement by both parties. We sinned against one another by abandoning one another in our hearts . More specifically, I'll let it be known, I abandoned him emotionally. I could sit here and make excuses for why I did that....pretty darn good ones, I might add....but....the plain fact of the matter is that I sinned against him by abandoning him emotionally. And this was MY sin that I had to come to grips with, hold myself accountable for, and reconcile with my ex-husband and with God. And those things have been done. Apologies have been made all around, and each of us has released the other from the burden of a whole boatload of sin that was spread around between the two of us where that marriage was concerned. There may be opinions (mostly by friends and family watching from the peanut gallery) as to who bore the biggest burden of sin, but none of that matters because love keeps no record of wrongs and LOVE is the order of the day.
And it works out similarly in the case of my most recent divorce from Tdub. It's public blog record that Tdub abandoned me emotionally. While I could make a slight case for physical abandonement, it would be slight. The end of that story is that Tdub sought forgiveness from me, and I granted it. He didn't offer reconciliation, but I had no intentions of accepting it even if it were offered. And so, we've made our peace. Whether or not Tdub has made peace with God concerning our divorce is between him and God, and his getting forgiveness from me can't stand in the way of him accepting it from God.
I guess the point of all this rambling is that so many of these things have to be worked out personally. I just don't think the Bible can be looked at like some giant rule book where every situation is laid out with instructions for when a person can consider themselves "in" or "out" where God is concerned. It even seems to me that once your ever really "in"....God's just so relentless in His pursuit....that even when you run you can't seem to hide. And for that....I am most eternally grateful!
love and grace,
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