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On Love and Committment

October 5, 2010

Isaiah and I realized this weekend that we had been a slight bit lazy for the last week or so. You know…we moved the mattress into the living room on the floor…haven’t picked up for a week at all…have watched a disgusting number of movies. Beyond that we’ve spent the last week scarfing down Stouffer’s enchiladas and other pre-made meals. Saturday we went out to Olive Garden with our couple friends and didn’t succumb to the usual “eat, then go-home” yuckiness. Sunday we decided to walk the mile to downtown Denton and enjoy the day out and about. We browsed at Recycled Books for a few hours and got some frozen yogurt.

We’re trying to pick it up by living a bit more deliberately. We wanted to read something together. One of my favorite books is called Blue Like Jazz.  The tagline for the book reads, “Non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality.” Whether or not you’re a Christian, the book is insightful and hilarious in a totally accessible way on our day-to-day life-y-ness. My favorite writers are able to write about something that happens to all of us in such an accurate and real way that I’m all, “Yeah, that’s exactly how it goes…good work.”

One of my favorite bite-sized phrases from author, Donald Miller:

[In love] there [is] somebody in the world more important than [you], and that, given all that happened at the fall of man, is a miracle, like something God forgot to curse.

I went to a small, Christian school from grades preschool to sophomore year of college. I rebelled against the church and landed with a letter of the “We’d prefer it if you didn’t return next year” persuasion in my lap. Belief is a tricky thing. Religion is possibly trickier. My initial rebellion was for rebellion’s sake. Later on, I felt the repression of Christianity weighing on me daily. The searches of my car and person, room and bags for cigarettes, not crack, like you could assume, were getting old. I believed in God, but that wasn’t enough for them. I wasn’t good enough the way I was.

A friend of mine, Amber, used to say, “Whatever voice you have inside telling you you’re not enough, shaming you, doesn’t come from God. He couldn’t use shame, it’s not in His nature.” The church is what uses shame. Associating with the particular sect of protestant church I belonged to made me feel like I belonged to a cult. We used to joke that 99% of the girls at the college were only there for their M.R.S. degree and the joke wasn’t funny anymore when engaged girls were dropping out of school left and right. Believing in God always made me feel like a little less of a badass and more like them. Miller and I agree on that point.

He explains believing in God as this: The goofy thing about Christian faith is that you believe it and don’t believe it at the same time. It isn’t unlike having an imaginary friend. I believe in Jesus; I believe He is the Son of God, but every time I sit down to explain this to somebody I feel like a palm reader, like somebody who works at a circus or a kid who is always making things up or somebody at a Star Trek convention who hasn’t figured out the show isn’t real.

Anyways, I read a piece of the book at my mom’s wedding three years ago in my maid-of-honor speech on love and commitment. The passage is from Miller’s play, Polaroids. It’s a little old-timey in style, which is actually why I like it. It’s the most traditional passage in the book, actually, in its view on God and love.

It says:

I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer. I will love you, as sure as He has loved me. I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery, save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed Himself in me. And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me.

I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this alter of dying and dying again.

God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us.

There are a few things I love about this part of the play.  First, the idea of giving yourself to your spouse every day. Recommitting and deciding to stay in love despite the ridiculousness that might present itself.

Second, I feel so much like Donald Miller in that I refuse to let Christianity interfere with my love for God. But relationships often taken precedence over whatever you believe because you have a new most important being – your love. Keeping your beliefs, whether they be in God or Allah, chaos or Buddha, whatever they be, in your relationship is really difficult. Remembering, in my case, that God gave us the love we enjoy helps keep Him inside of it.

Chris Rock has a bit where he talks about sharing interests…Your spouse can’t go to church and then you stay home and light up the crack pipe. It just won’t work. No, I don’t think couples with different religions can’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t work. Not in the least.

I am certainly not preaching, I hope it doesn’t sound that way. I have far too little energy today to convince someone it’s Tuesday, let alone of anything spiritual. Why do you care about this book, faith and what not? We’re on the verge of deciding what kind of wedding we want to have. I love the idea of twisting a traditional wedding into something interesting…writing our own ceremony and what not. I have, however, decided that I want our beliefs to be integrated into the wedding. I want the wedding to be infused with our values and what’s important to us…I didn’t think our wedding would ever resemble a wedding. I certainly never thought that reading from the Bible would happen at any wedding of mine. But I think I want it to.

What’s traditional about your wedding?


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13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 9:53 am

    I think Catholicism gets in the way of my relationship with God. I think being turned off by religion gets in the way as well. I treat religion, faith and my beliefs separately. So far it has worked out just fine. We’ve (or mostly me) have begun to readdress religion, faith and all that jazz lately with the talk of children. Will they/should they believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny? Will they/should they have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

    I want that choice to be up to them – what do you believe in and how do you want to honor that? I want Josh and I to educate them about what choices they have as well as why we made the choices we did. But how do you explain that to a 4 yo? We’re still trying to figure that out. Anyways, sorry that was such a tangent.

    And about the MRS degrees. I worked at a private Catholic womens college right out of undergrad. The women there were shocked that I wasn’t engaged or in a relationship. They offered me comfort b/c being single was worse than death to them and told me not to worry about it. All I could do was laugh.

  2. October 5, 2010 9:59 am

    Santa and the Easter Bunny are not religious icons… Haha! Makes me sound so ignorant! The talk of Santa and the Bun-bun were brought on by the how do we celebrate the holidays? and which holidays? sort of stuff.

  3. October 5, 2010 10:38 am

    Haha I knew what you meant and I definitely understand. Religion certainly can interfere with God and us….I definitely know the pressure to get married! When I met Isaiah, I knew I would marry him, and I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction even initially, haha.

    Religion and faith shouldn’t have to be separate, but I completely agree. They’ve never been together for me. I never was a “typical Christian” – hopefully you have a mental picture of the several kinds.

  4. October 5, 2010 5:30 pm

    donald miller is some pretty good stuff. it’s important that you separate your spirituality and perceptions of god from the douchebags who have carried certain religious labels (“christian”) in the past. just cause they sucked and tried to control and limit you, doesn’t mean christianity or belief in god sucks…or that he will. i get what you’re saying about religion and faith not needing to be separate…. but at the same time, i think we need to separate our ideas about “religion” from the people who make it suck. (cause usually they’re the worst at the stuff)

    awesome post. can’t wait to see the ceremony fit together.

  5. October 5, 2010 7:29 pm

    just realized MY comment sounded preachy.

    what i meant was, “YEAH! go you! i agree.”

    i just used more words.

    • October 5, 2010 11:03 pm

      No no no I didn’t think that at all. Belief is such a walking-on-eggshell-situation to talk about. I definitely feel you, miss Liz!

  6. October 5, 2010 8:20 pm

    reading together? you guys are so great! this book sounds very interesting. i want to check it out. i love reading about different religions. its just church the freaks me the eff out. i am a big believer in the living your life in a good way and be kind to others part of religion

    • October 5, 2010 11:05 pm

      Thanks, haha. It’s such a quick read. I completely agree that certain churches are creepy…Isaiah and I agree that old Catholic shit remains to be the creepiest-best-horror-movie-props that exist.

  7. October 5, 2010 8:21 pm

    also, just an fyi: i work at a catholic college. this stuff is in my face all day. somehow i still find parts of it fascinating though. mostly i feel the guilt though

    • October 5, 2010 11:07 pm

      I know the feeling…my old school was Nazarene. More Catholic than not..not that there’s anything wrong with either religion…just not for me so much. My high school was non-denominational Christian…which was a little better…or could have been sans large amounts of hypocracy on all levels. Judgy, judgy judgy. I’m guilty as well, apparently. This comment is snarky, I’m well aware.

  8. October 6, 2010 4:19 am

    Hi, I’m coming over from It’s Party Time and I’d like to thank you for your sweet comment on Lydia’s Ever Ours blog when she was sharing my wedding! I really appreciated it. Hugs ❤

  9. October 6, 2010 12:42 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s so nice to hear from somebody who is also in that slightly uncertain state. I’m a returnee to the Anglican faith and struggling to establish what it means to me – and it seems to be the Bible and the Church’s representatives that put me off. Our local church is really welcoming, with a positive, inclusive attitude, so we’re really lucky, but I haven’t got to the stage of going every week.

    All of our wedding was traditional – that was just how we wanted it. We had an Anglican ceremony, as it said everything we wanted about what marriage means to us.

  10. October 8, 2010 12:57 am

    Sounds like an interesting read – might have to add it to my ever growing pile of books I will read one day!

    Lazy weekends are the best.

    P.s Added you to my blog roll today – don’t know why the heck you weren’t on there already – but you weren’t, so now you are. Gotta go. Should be packing and not blog stalking.

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