What do you get for the bride who has everything? It’s unusual these days for a couple not to have all they need before they marry. They don’t need dishes or kitchenware—unless they hope to upgrade. Their grandparents may have started out in a small apartment with a used stove and an icebox, but the 21st-century couple already owns a Viking stove and Sub-Zero refrigerator.
In the minutes before the wedding ceremony, I wait downstairs in Pilgrim Hall with the groom and the groomsmen. Upstairs the sanctuary is lovely, with freshly vacuumed carpeting and wedding flowers that are a cut above the usual Sunday morning carnation extravaganza.
Clark and I had been dating for a few weeks when I went to church with him one Sunday. Apparently one of the kids saw us holding hands after the service and was bewildered, because later that evening, during youth group, he pulled the youth director aside and asked him in earnest curiosity, "Is it OK with God that Clark has a black girlfriend?"If you haven't guessed by now, here's the scandal: I am a Christian black woman who happens to be dating a Christian white man.
Marriage does not exist only for companionship or procreation or complementarity. It has a cruciform shape, like other ascetical practices, and is a transformative experience for the two individuals. In marriage, God intends not only to alleviate human loneliness but to effect human salvation.
"Pay attention: These are our values." That’s what we’re saying when we make decisions about spending money or ask others to spend money on our behalf. For an engaged couple, it all starts with the wedding. Brides magazine reports that the average cost of a wedding today exceeds $19,000.
This spring HBO debuted a television series, Big Love, that features a likable polygamous family in Utah. An article in a March issue of Newsweek, headlined “Polygamists Unite!” quotes a polygamy activist saying, “Polygamy is the next civil rights battle.” He argues, “If Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy.” That weekend on the Today Show, hosts Lester Holt and Campbell Brown gave a sympathetic interview to a polygamous family.
I would just as soon skip the first part of this Gospel reading. The Sadducees are trying to trick Jesus by getting him to respond to an impossible question about the resurrection. According to the law, if one of two brothers dies before his wife has children, then his brother marries her. But what if there are seven brothers, and each marries the woman in turn? To whom will she belong at the resurrection?