Apr 05, 2000
When I first told friends that David and I were having serious marriage conversations, I expected smiles and congratulations. Instead I observed raised eyebrows and puzzled frowns.
My friends’ first question is understandable. “He lives in Arkansas. You have another two years in New York before you finish your doctoral course work. Won’t you be engaged forever?”
“No,” I reply, “we’ll go ahead and get married next year and just live apart for a while. It will be tough, but temporary.”
“Why get married then? What’s the point?”
"Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.” So begins one of my favorite prayers, from the service for compline in the Episcopal prayer book. What a good thing it is, before going to bed, to remember those whose rest comes with the dawn.
Some years ago when I encountered theologian George Lindbeck of Yale Divinity School, he asked me about the Gifford Lectures which had been written by my doctoral supervisor, Donald MacKinnon. At the time, Lindbeck was planning a course on MacKinnon. Within a year or so theologian David Tracy of Chicago gave a paper in which MacKinnon was one of the featured theologians. When asked what current theology he found most interesting, Tracy replied, “British.”
It was with a dose of suspicion that I started reading the feature article in the New York Times Magazine (Feb. 27) about the Scheibners, a large family intent on creating a well-defined Christian subculture in the midst of what, from its perspective, is a world gone hopelessly awry. The parents shop at consignment stores, homeschool their kids, keep the teen pop culture at bay (no Leonardo DiCaprio posters!) and teach traditional family values.