Weekly Digest: The Bleak Christian View of Marriage
Welcome to my weekly digest for June 17, 2022.
For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by visiting your account page.
I want to highlight two upcoming conferences I will be speaking at.
September 1-3 I will be speaking at the County Before Country conference at East River Church in Batavia, Ohio (Cincinnati). Other speakers include Doug Wilson, John Moody, Arthur Kwon Lee, and Delano Squires. This event was sold out as of this morning but I got some additional tickets made available. Grab them quickly if you are interested.
September 9-10 I will be speaking at the Welcome to the Negative World conference at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Battle Ground, WA (Portland area). I’ll be speaking there along with Joe Rigney, James Wood, and C.R. Wiley.
New Content and Media Mentions
Caterpillar is moving its HQ from Chicago to Dallas. I was quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business noting that Texas’ social conservative policies did not dissuade the business from moving away from very progressive Illinois. In a separate article Crain’s own reporting staff noted the same, saying, “The notion that blue-state social policies are an economic drawing card also took a hit. Caterpillar and Boeing are moving to states where progressive priorities are under attack.” As I previously noted, there’s no reason to believe that social policies are a major factor in economic development today, except on the margins with things like events. It’s not 2012 anymore.
New this week:
In case you missed it, Newsletter #65 is out looking at the missing heroic feminine.
I wrote about the public not just private character of divorce, and about how even when you make wise and good decisions, they can still lead to disaster. (Subscriber only).
I also posted the transcript of my panel discussion with Paul Vanderklay and Bethel McGrew for subscribers.
If you’re not yet a Subscriber, please consider becoming one today. For just $10/month, you not only help sustain and grow the mission here, but you also get access to exclusive content, podcast and interview transcripts, access to the Subscriber Knowledge Base, and occasional special events like webinars.
The Bleak Christian View of Marriage
Tish Harrison Warren had an interesting op-ed in the New York Times called “I Married the Wrong Person, and I’m So Glad I Did.” I appreciate her appeal to persevere in marriage despite difficulties. Yet her description of marriage is in line with what I observed in newsletter #28, that American pastors describe marriage in such bleak terms that you’d almost have to be crazy to pull the trigger and say “I do.” She writes:
The last 17 years have held long stretches when one or both of us were deeply unhappy. There have been times when contempt settled on our relationship, caked and hard as dried mud. We’ve both been unkind. We’ve both yelled curse words and stormed out the door. We both have felt we needed things that the other person simply could not give us. We have been to marriage counseling for long enough now that our favorite counselor feels like part of the family. We should probably include her photo in our annual Christmas card. At times, we stayed married sheerly as a matter of religious obedience and for the sake of our children.
It’s certainly appropriate to be realistic about marriage and that challenges it will involved, but you seldom hear about the good sides or any positive vision of married life that would make people aspire to have it. As one person wrote in response when I tweeted about this.
Psychologist John Gottman is famous for is claim that the only thing that matters in determining whether or not a married couple stays together is whether they have five times more positive than negative interactions. True or not, that’s a useful rule of thumb for talking about marriage as well. People who actually want to promote marriage should think about ways to say five positive things about it for every negative thing.
Passing Them Forward
I subscribe to a number of print magazines. I hate just throwing them out so like to try to find ways to pass them along to others who might be interested. When I was working in New York, it was pretty easy to do this by distributing them to folks at the office. It’s been harder here, but I have started leaving some in the lobby area of my co-working space.
If you subscribe to something in print, this is one easy way to do a minor good deed and spread a little positivity. If you know other people who might be interested in the publication and to whom it is easy to get them your copy, pass it along when you are finished.
Best of the Web
Alastair Roberts reviewed the books It’s Good to Be a Man and The Men We Need for the Gospel Coalition.
Buzzfeed: Jamie Chung Says She Used A Surrogate Because Getting Pregnant Would Hurt Her Career - how quickly something like surrogacy goes from a last resort for infertile couples to a convenience. This is the real Handmaid’s Tale come to life.
Wyclif’s Dust: No wait stop it matters how you raise your kids - Arguments while despite the large role of genetics in how children turn out, parenting still matters.
Palladium: Stanford’s war on social life - the transformation of the modern university into a soulless bureaucratic grayscape.
Eric Gilliam: How we won the war on infectious diseases - and interesting look at the history here, and lessons for today.