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Re: [HoB/D] theology of marriage

Bishop Benitez,

Thank you for your articulate witness to your work as a marriage
counselor.   I applaud you for using those opportunities to share the
faith, and I urge others to follow your good example.  Far too many
people get their theology of marriage from BRIDES MAGAZINE.

A first cousin who is very dear to me is a minister in a
fundamentalist group in Dallas, and he tells me that the same problems
exist in his community as well.

Most in Integrity share your concern.  We have many people coming for
a blessing with no idea what marriage entails.  Several of our
chapters require that those who would be blessed attend Eucharist with
us faithfully for at least 6 months and that the couples willingly
undertake marriage counseling for a specified number of sessions.

These seem to me  more important concerns than getting the right words
in the Prayer Book.  God is giving us a great opportunity in our
current struggles:  in reviewing what is and is not do-able, we have
an opportunity to enhance our understanding of the full range of what
it means to be in a sacramental relationship for life.

I am lucky to teach at the world's most diverse campus, according to
Newsweek.  Over 60 percent of my students go home to speak another
language at night.   The one thing about American culture that comes
under the harshest scrutiny by articulate recently arrived citizens is
our  marriage system.   Students from cultures with 'arranged
marriages' often are the most conflicted in these critiques:  many
want for themselves the greater freedom of choice they find here, but
want none of the instability that goes along with unions based
primarily on ephemera.

Ernest and I particularly like the lines from "Rabbi Ben Ezra," and
repeat them often:

                    Grow old along with me!
                    The best is yet to be,
                    The last of life, for which the first was made:
                    Our times are in His hand
                    Who saith "A whole I planned,
                    Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be

                                            --Robert Browning

I missed seeing you in Denver.  Were you there?

Joy to you and Joanne both!


Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., #12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew   973-395-1068

> Subject:
>            Re: [HoB/D] theology of marriage
>       Date:
>            Sun, 23 Jul 2000 08:02:26 EDT
>      From:
>            BenTex747@aol.com
>  Reply-To:
>            BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
>        To:
>            BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
> Barnum, ole buddy, your words on marriage were superb.  Frankly, you were the
> only one speaking on the subject that lives in the same world that I live in
> The only point I would add is that over the 12 years that I was rector of two
> extremely large congregations, Christ Church, San Antonio, and
> St. John the Divine, Houston,  I officiated in the marriage of about 50-60
> couples a year, with the rest of the staff doing around 40 more.  In those
> years,  I had a bunch of starry eyed young couples, many of them not much
> more than heathens, who came to me with no understanding of Christian
> marriage as a life long monogamous union, who if they had had the opportunity
> would have gone to the State to get married.
>  Instead , I did my doggondest to convert them to Christ, to let them hear
> the Gospel as best I could share it with them, to establish a pastoral bond
> with them that I hoped would carry over into the years that followed, helping
> bind them to the Church, and tried to convey to them an understanding of what
> love and Christian marriage was all about.
> I know I went down swinging with a number of those couples, but God scored
> with a number of the others, and they became a part of  His Kingdom!  The
> occasion of getting married became for them a time of transformation from
> being unchurched to becoming disciples of Christ, and I know of no better
> help that we can give to a couple enabling them to enjoy the blessing of a
> lifelong marriage, with God at the center of it.
> God bless you, my brother,
> +Ben
> --

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