Friday, May 4, 2007

How to Throw a Bible Bending Wedding

The aroma of freshly picked honeysuckle wafts through the air, trumpets blast, and the golden glint of the sun warms the skin of the many attendants as they watch with batted breath the betrothal of radiant princess bride to her chivalrous prince charming. After an exchange of rings and fifty sheckles of silver to the father of the bride, the blushing maiden and her gallant knight kiss... for the first time.

This is a scene described not in a Nora Roberts novel, but on the homepage of Biblical Betrothal, a site dedicated to promoting the Bible's ideal wedding. Captain Bret, the site's founder, provides biblical instructions for how God intended a couple to meet and wed, and includes a step by step guide for fathers whose role it is to facilitate the courtship.

As with most Bible Benders, the quotes from the Bible are extrapolated without context or analysis. Moreover, the wisdom that Captain Bret manages to squeeze from the verses to paint a picture of the ideal courtship not only has no basis in biblical times, but has dubious basis in modern times. It is a conglomeration of the myth of 16th century chivalry and the undemonstrative marital negotiations of Victorian times. But while Captain Bret's painting is neither original or compelling, it represents two pervasive ideas within the Christian community: 1.) that marital happiness is based on the rigid control of sexual encounters, and 2.) the secular society is systematically attacking the Christian community by freeing unmarried persons of this control.

"If you have ever read the Bible, then you know that it has quite a lot to say about this process called betrothal," says Captain Bret. "Have you ever wondered why your church elders have never taught their flock about this important practice? Have you noticed how vehemently Hollywood attacks the smallest notion of parents having any part in helping their children find a mate? Other than the decision to accept Christ’s offer of betrothal, the most important decision you will ever make is whom you will marry. This is why the enemy of God has gone to so much trouble to make it difficult for you to learn how to successfully follow the biblical pattern of betrothal, even to the point of convincing the overwhelming majority of church leaders that the world’s way of finding a mate is better than God’s way" (emphasis mine).

Let the wedding season begin...

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