I thought my dreams were about to come true when I [finally] got married. I left my family, friends, and my job as a pastor in Canada to move to the U.S. for love. I had waited a long time to meet a guy I could partner with in ministry. My American husband had wooed me with his discourse of our shared theological studies, passion for church work, and a vision of us as a happily married couple in ministry together. Babies would complete the picture of our Christian nuclear family. After our vows, I was shocked to immediately find myself in a different kind of nuclear situation: domestic violence.
On the third Wednesday of each month I set up camp in a conference room at the hospital where I work. I set out water bottles, a tray of cookies, and boxes of tissue. I post signs throughout the hallway, and then sit down and wait. As the clock nears 6:00 pm they start to arrive – the surviving spouses of the hospice patients I have served. Sometimes they smile when they see me, other times they make it through the door just barely, a bewildered and tired look in their eyes.
It seems odd that I, a 29 year old with less than 5 years of marriage under my belt, would be tasked with running a support group for bereaved spouses. In reality I do very little to ease the burden of grief. I give group members permission to talk about their loved ones and their loss. I sit and bear witness; sometimes I have to tell myself to stay and be present, and other times I am captivated and drink in their stories.
The latter was the case with a man who attended my group in March. He was old enough to be my parent and then some, but by far the youngest person in the group. He was also the most reserved.
It’s wedding season! Today Katie Manning shares some creative ways she and her husband, Jon, applied their egalitarian values to the engagement and wedding experience. At the end of the post is a link to our free resource for planning an egalitarian wedding ceremony. Here’s Katie: As my husband and I approach our 12th wedding anniversary, and as we’re attending another round of friends’ weddings this summer, I find myself thinking again about the many ways “traditional” engagements and weddings in the U.S. still rely on symbols and rituals that portray women as property to be exchanged between men.
So to celebrate our anniversary, here are some things that worked for Jon and I when we wanted our engagement and wedding to reflect our egalitarian relationship. THE PROPOSALS – The final “s” in this heading is not a typo. Jon and I had been dating for over two years and knew we wanted to get married. I decided to propose. He needed a new Bible, so I got him one as a Valentine’s Day gift, and inside I placed a homemade bookmark that said some lovely things and concluded, “Will you marry me?” His face was beaming.
Today would have been my parent’s 61st wedding anniversary. Mom passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s two years ago and significant dates always trigger reflection on her life and her marriage to the wonderful man who is my dad. Today that reflection centered on the fact that while their marriage was traditional in […]
These days there is more emphasis on marriage and family than ever. My social media feeds are full of articles and posts about gay marriage, sex in couple relationships, the struggles and joys around creating a healthy Christian marriage, the sadness of miscarriage, the intricacies of parenting, the wars around household chores. I could […]
I sat down across the table from her. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and I was excited to catch up. She was a youth pastor, one of those with an obvious call on her life for ministry. But as I looked into her eyes, I could see she was worn out. She […]
My pastor friends ask, “How can you work with another co-pastor?”
My married friends ask, “How can work with your spouse?”
To be honest, there was a time when my answer would have been, “I don’t know and I don’t wanna.”
My husband Tim and I have been co-pastoring the church of our dreams for the last three years. But believe it or not, co-pastoring was not in our “life plan”. Early in our relationship we struggled with anxiety about the balance of our individual callings, and how life and ministry would unfold for each of us, together.
I grew up in the evangelical church, one of the Jesus Girls, one of the ones who was on fire.
I learned quickly that I wasn’t like everyone else. I certainly wasn’t like the other girls. Instead of being afraid of the boys, or even particularly attracted to them, I wanted to hang out with them. At youth group parties, you might find me playing Halo, jumping on the trampoline, or playing spoons with the boys. In their company, I felt like I was taken seriously, I felt a part of something.
It was nice to be different, when it was in that context. We had frank discussions, talking about God, about life, about girls. I grew comfortable with that role: the confidante. I became the quintessential sister-figure, loving every minute of it.
But no one wanted to date that girl, and after a while, I wanted a date much more than I wanted to be myself, so she got lost somewhere along the way.
Some time ago I was part of a Twitter conversation about marriage ceremonies that reflect biblical egalitarian values. Since my husband is a licensed minister and works on a college campus, we have had a LOT of experience with weddings, and I promised to share some ways we’ve seen egalitarian values incorporated.
As I was going through the notes from different ceremonies we’ve been a part of, I realized that there is more to this than just scripting the vows. If a couple wants their wedding to reflect egalitarian convictions, they must thoughtfully “dissect” each part of the ceremony and prepare some of the “stakeholders” involved. Let’s start with stakeholders – those who may have an opinion or two about the ceremony.
I have had many conversations about the egalitarian perspective of marriage with friends, family, and others. Some have been great discussions where, even with differing views, there is genuine understanding and receptivity on both sides. In others, this has not been the case.
I often become discouraged, because what I share is met by preconceived thoughts about what an egalitarian marriage is. The things I say hit the anti-heresy wall and slide to the ground without opportunity for consideration. I want to clear the air for conversations to come for both others and myself.
I used to hear this passage preached a lot at relationship conferences or those times when a pastor started a series on relationships and marriage in church on Sunday mornings. Overall, I understand the sacredness of the text and have always appreciated its context. While it’s a beautiful passage, in my experience the way it was preached has always been a little problematic to me. The subsequent teachings that followed were that men are supposed to seek out women. The words “thing” and “obtains” were generally emphasized when referring to this pursuit of women. I think the weight that has been placed on these themes preached from this text, have influenced the way men approach women in the pursuit of relationships.