2008/05/11

Our Ultimate Standard

Peter Jasper Akinola (left) the Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria and Several American Parishes and General Anglican Big-Shot, has issued a statement on polygamy. Try to be serious now…

As usual, I am having difficulty following Peter's logic. Also as usual, it's his Bible teaching I am having a hard time with.

From the article:

He [Big Pete] also said that any attempt to trivialise the Bible’s teaching on monogamy as the ultimate standard for the Christian family “will make a mockery of whatever else we stand for.
I am not so sure about this Bible teaching concerning polygamy. “Ultimate standard” and everything….

I am trying to figure out why Peter would say such a thing. I guess it's because of Jesus being monogamous. And, we do all want to be like Jesus don’t we?

Oh, wait. Humm..... As best as I can tell Jesus was celibate. And even if he weren’t, I'm pretty sure he wasn’t married. Wink-wink.

Well, I guess it’s because Jesus talked about it so much then.

But, hold on... That doesn’t make much sense either does it?

So, what gives on the “ultimate standard?” About all Jesus said is that we are supposed to try and be like Him. And, on marriage, he said it doesn’t matter too much because we won’t have that in the Kingdom Of God anyway.

Nowhere is polygamy prohibited. Nowhere is monogamy exalted as any kind of standard, certainly not the ultimate one.

I understand that sometimes polygamy is a brutal way of life for women and that there might be some reasons to look at it askance. I also understand that there were times when all marriage was brutal. We have been willing to let monogamous marriage develop into something new, why not polygamous marriage too? I’ve got nothing against it. Apparently Jesus didn't either. But, neither is the “ultimate standard” I don't think.

Want to know what the real “ultimate standard” is? Because I can tell you.

Ready?

You think I don’t know, but I do. Honest.

I’ll bet my protestant friends have already said it under their breath.

It’s Jesus.

That’s it. The one true and ultimate standard of our faith is Jesus .

It may seem hard to relate to a standard like that... Jesus being the Son of God and all. But, when you are talking quietly with Jesus, remember that he is your brother. You can ask him for right desires. After that, see what is in your heart. You just may find that you have a desire to marry one or more people. You may have a desire for more quite talking, or silence, or if you are lucky celibacy. But, the standard is that the desire itself was forged in the dynamic life of the Trinity, shot into your own heart with Jesus’ bow, delivered on the arrow of the Holy Spirit.

You are not under the authority of any book or bishop. You are a free child of God -- A king, a member of a royal priesthood. You know whether or not to marry, and who to marry, and even, possibly, who else to marry.

Stay close to your standard. Check in all the time, never cease with that. Keep your heart ready for piercing by the arrow and the flowering of whatever follows.

Oh, and when you are talking with Jesus you might want to mention Big Pete… maybe Jesus will pierce his heart too. God only knows.

3 comments:

Alcibiades said...

Maybe I'm just cynical, but my guess is this is only a bit of PR for the sake of Big Petey's lucrative relationship with the west, and I'd be very surprised if he's making the same noises about Christian polygamy in his local media.

At seminiary I became quite friendly with a post-grad student from Nigeria: he was lonely, and at places like Moore College the weirdos tend to be drawn together - even if we're theologically miles apart. He's now doing quite well for himself on the fringes of Akinola's retinue, but back then one of the many things which appalled him about western society was the fact that men who were quite capable of supporting (his word was "affording") a second or third wife didn't "take" one. Try as I might I could never get him to see western attitudes to polygamy as anything other than an indication of our materialism - "You Australian men would rather buy a second car than spend the money ensuring an unmarried Christian women can remain virtuous by getting married and raising more Christian children."

As I say, most evangelical students found him too weird - too African, and I've got to admit I fiound the vast cultural gulf between us often hard to handle. How those US dioceses rushing to align themselves with his bishop will cope in the long term isn't hard to predict: I wonder how Hostillium and her husband's friends at Bullies on Viagra will cope when fellows like my old friend are rewarded with plum Norht American jobs in return for having supported Akinola's expansionism?

PS - love the new site, & I really want to get one of those fish ponds for my place. The Jackson Pollock widget is super-cool too!

Lindy said...

Very interesting Alcibiades. I once knew some Nigerians who didn't believe that anyone had ever walked on the moon. They thought it was all a hoax and really thought I was naive for being so easily taken in. There's just no meeting of the minds on some things. We all thought the other was just nuts!

Of course, I know an American in 21st century Austin, Texas who doesn't believe in global warming.

Whadda ya going to do?

You can get the fish at Widget Box and there's lots of other free stuff there too. You all do realize that you can feed the fish with your mouse, right?

Love and peace,

Lindy

sharecropper said...

Wisdom is often too simplistic for me, and being reared in a baptist/presbyterian atmosphere, I find Jesus too constraining and too ambiguous - too many "why" questions that Jesus simply doesn't answer.

Likewise, I have found The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz to be too simplistic (and too unattainable). The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. He goes on to say, "Your word is the power that you have to create." "Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself."

Like Joyce Meyer and Jesus, Ruiz keeps talking and I don't turn it off.