We struggle against a vast ocean of cultural bias against revelation.
For example: Do you understand that communion and spiritual unity demands individuality? If you are not reaching for the fullness of your heritage in Christ as a unique individual member of His Kingdom, you cannot stand in full communion with your brothers and sisters. We struggle against a cultural bias in favor of uniformity. It is so deeply burned into our thinking that it seems only logical. But only when you have truly delved into your own self nature as a child of God can you recognize what is justly and rightly sacrificed for cooperation in the household of faith.
So here’s this issue that keeps coming up in legalistic lecturing from the mainstream: divorce. Folks, this is not a simple matter of keeping this one law. If you don’t keep the whole Law of God, you cannot claim any part of it. So folks who rail against divorce while permitting high school kids to sleep in the same building in summer camp, or swim nearly naked together, are engaged in blasphemy. You can’t pick and choose which part of the Covenant you want to implement.
The primary reason for failed marriages is a completely failed foundation for getting married. Without a covenant community, you cannot expect marriage to succeed. We have cast our married couples out onto the storm to stand on their own while wearing heavy chains of regulation. The vast majority of religious talk about divorce among evangelicals is about rules for the couple, but nobody talks about the rules for the community that is supposed to be involved in their lives.
Once more: Biblical Law is not about restrictions. It’s about receiving from God the blessings of a stable social structure wherein we can build the bonfire of God’s glory. Those blessings require the whole context of the covenant, a context more binding on the community than on the individual.
Read that again: The context of covenant is more binding on the whole than any individual member. That sounds radical in Western ears because Western minds are inherently hostile to revelation. When divorce happens in a covenant community, it’s a bigger disaster for the community as a whole — weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth — than it is for the couple who separate. Cry out because your community has lost a major element of God’s favor and stop harassing the two who felt compelled to divorce.
A proper marriage rests on the power of the moral context that only a strong covenant community can offer. Granted, most couples today are likely entering a covenant community after the fact. We should hardly be surprised when, in the course of developing a proper moral orientation, some of those marriages dissolve. What the Devil hath joined together should separate. Only the two folks in that marriage have the divine right to decide whether God is for against continued marriage. A state-sponsored marriage contract does not bind the hands of our Creator. God alone knows whether they should or shouldn’t; we don’t beat people over the head with a shitty legalism that was never justified under any covenant.
Most of that faux reverence for marriage is nothing more than false worship of the state. Our Western heritage reduces everyone to mere property of the state, but the only consideration at all from the state is economics. It’s pure devotion to Mammon; it’s all about control for the sake of monetary accounting. It’s as if you owe your body to the state, including all future productivity, and the only issue with marriage is how it affects the tax revenues. When you boil it down, the issue of a marriage contract is just that. Nobody in government gives a damn about your covenant blessings.
Yes, some individuals manage to stumble into real faith without a covenant community. God bless those folks; make them your leaders. But those folks are frankly anomalies; they do not represent the common experience. Nor are they any kind of ideal or standard. Those folks simply exist as a gift from God to the community of faith. It’s not that the rest of the folks are of a lower standard or lower quality; every one of them has the capacity for a rare and beautiful faith within their own calling. Good spiritual leaders will tell you that.
Let’s fight legalism as the worst part of our so-called “Western heritage.”