I’m seldom on the cutting edge of new media or technologies. I usually start watching a new television series after it’s had at least three or four critically-acclaimed seasons. My smartphone is four or five generations old. And I only just recently discovered Spotify.
After supper last Sunday, my eldest daughter and I went for a walk. Just a brief walk, spanning a few city blocks and little over an hour. Accompanied by our garrulous black wolfhound it was still dusky twilight when we departed, arriving home under a starlit sky.
During our walk my daughter asked a few questions, mostly centering on this or that location and a few bits about the history of my hometown. I shared what I knew and embellished the rest (an important skill for someone in my line of work) trying to pass on as much local lore and trivia and I could muster.
Seventy-seven years may have passed and a lot of the survivors may be getting “up in years,” but they still gather every March 18 to remember the tragedy and mourn those who didn’t live through the devastating explosion.
I used to be full of passionate, self-righteous outrage about the boundless socio-political injustice in the world. I was wrapped up in existential angst about reconciling hope and justice in an indifferent universe, a world where the evil usually prosper and the good too-often suffer… then I got a life. Y’know, it’s hard to be too wrapped up in the “abstract” when the “particular” says the rent is due. Like other twentysomethings who decide to grow up, I discovered a lot of the things I was up-in-arms about as a freewheelin’ youth were inconsequential in the face of the grim realities of adult life.
You can deny it as much as you want, but the music industry has in a sense gone to crap. We have stuff like iTunes and Spotify to thank for that. Am I hating on these music services? No I love my smartphone and I’m an avid user of Spotify myself, but they still caused a vast change in the industry in terms of splitting up once complete albums into single releases. I’m a person who appreciates the entire album on an LP, as it’s how the artist originally intended.
Marriage has been on my mind of late. Not so much because of the ongoing legal controversies (one involving a wedding photographer in New Mexico, another a florist in Washington State, and still another a baker in Colorado) but rather because my brother Mark was married Saturday, and I officiated the ceremony.
Though deeply moved by his desire for me to conduct the service, it also humbled me. I have a lofty view of marriage, perhaps too lofty for the Age in which I dwell. Marriage, for me, is a relationship that spans a lifetime — something not entered into (or departed from) without the more extenuating of circumstances. However, with each bend in the turn made by our culture (and every legal precedent) I find those of my perspective becoming “on the wrong side of history.”
A dear friend and colleague of mine named Robert often rails against what he terms as “a broadside against the sanctity of marriage” by gay marriage advocates. With his permission and blessing I mention that Robert has been thrice divorced and currently lives with his “common-law wife” but he has no plans to re-marry at any point in the future. What’s more, Robert is a professing Christian and a deacon in his church.
So what exactly is the sanctity of marriage?
I don’t bring this up to pick on my friend (or any others like him) but the question must be asked. From what position of moral authority do you or I or anyone claim to speak of the sanctity of marriage? Why should people of faith expect those hostile (or even indifferent) to marriage to treat like the sacrament it is?