Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Wedding Ring: Is It Worth It? #3

Oh, the essentials we adults miss sometimes...
I am working on responses to several different comments from the two previous posts. In case you don't follow the comment box, this comment came on post #2. I will continue to post long responses to comments as new posts so they are easier to follow.

"Laura, I believe you are avoiding some important issues here.  If you are so concerned about throwing away the CHM heritage and severing relationships over a little wedding band, then why doesn't it concern you that some of the CHM movement (not all of them, mind you)throw away their heritage concerning other issues - namely, divorce and remarriage, working on Sunday, etc.?  What concerns me is that some of the CHM (most all of them, I'm sad to say), pick and choose which preferences, (which, by the way, they've made mandatory) they want to enforce, and ignore others that we all know were upheld by their forefathers. 

If you truly believe that this heritage should be kept, then I believe you should reconsider lengthening you dresses, wearing closed in shoes only, etc.  Somewhere along the line someone "trashed relationships", because your forefathers (not mine) definitely held a strong opinion against TV, coloring, trimming, and perming hair as well as wearing wedding rings.  Some of them even had major problems with the radio - surely with Rush and his foul language!  My question is, who decided how far back into the CHM heritage line to go to start enforcing nonessential rules? God created us as individual human beings, not robots that need to be controlled by some group.  I realize that you want to conserve what the CHM once had - it is your mark of identity.  But, you must agree - that identity is long gone.  There are very few that really, really uphold what was once the true CHM. If you want to create what you would call your own CHM identity, then that's your priviledge - but please don't consider it as the true CHM - it is not.

I'm not being harsh here.  Just as you are greatly hurt and saddened by the changes in some CHMs, I also am saddened that people can get so caught up in their own little ideas of how they think God wants others to live, that they lose sight of why we are really in this world.  Bickering and nitpicking over nonessentials will never win anyone to Christ.  I doubt if the drunkard or drug addict cares at all if there's a wedding ring on the finger of the person that is witnessing or helping him. My desire is to reach the lost, NOT be wrapped up in CHM peer pressure.  What bondage!!

Thank God for a personal relationship with Him!  My desire is to please Him, and win others to Christ.  I believe I can do that as I wear my wedding ring."


Thank you for making me think. Thank you for making me examine myself. It’s good for me.

It’s apparent from your comment that you have judged me to be inconsistent. Believe me, if that’s true, it’s a serious problem I want to fix. However, your judgment seems to assume that there has been a single, fixed, universal standard in the CHM which you have insight into but which perhaps I lack. This of course is a mistaken assumption. Human behavior, including that of the CHM, is not that simplistic. You suggest that in order to fix my problem I must change the things I now do which don’t match this original CHM standard. You make the claim that you know what the essentials are and that the things the CHM has stood for are nonessentials. You say that I am seeking an identity through the CHM and that if I want the true CHM identity, I must go back to what they believed at their inception.

Your comment causes me to honestly ask myself; am I being inconsistent? Have I written anything that would cause you to make this judgment?  Is it true that I want my identity rooted in the CHM, that I am promoting a return to some former glory?  Other questions come to my mind: What are the essentials? Who decides what they are? Is it true that “reach[ing] the lost, NOT be[ing] wrapped up in CHM peer pressure,” being free from that “bondage!!” is what is essential? You express a “desire to reach the lost.” The question comes to mind, do you have any love for the poor lost folks in the CHM who don’t know what the essentials are? Would you be willing to adapt yourself, in order for them to relate to you, so as to win them to the truth?

But your questions first:

Am I being inconsistent? As I was coming into adulthood, trying to figure out what it really was to be a Christian, there were certainly things I allowed in my life which I don’t allow now, and I remain open to change anything that is not consistent with what I understand as inconsistent with my Heavenly Father’s will. My will is set to do His. I totally trust Jesus Christ and am in a pursuit of understanding what He taught, because I am convinced He is my only hope of sanity and eternal life.

Is it true that I want my identity rooted in the CHM and that I “want to conserve what the CHM once had?” You have not understood me if you think I am seeking my identity in the CHM. While I value the relationships that formed and molded me from childhood, while I value the discipline which demands that I say no to the flesh, and while I value the consistent call to seek God seriously with all my being, I seek my identity in Jesus. I want His spirit to be the very essence of my life. My allegiance is to where His values and the values of the CHM coincide.

Did the CHM ever have a unified identity on every one of these issues? I submit, they did not. My point in all of this discussion is that you don’t gain anything by walking away from what is truly valuable here.  You don’t gain anything by giving up the disciplines that are essential for creating a careful walk with God.

Finally, I ask, how does your comment relate to my original post, “Is it worth it?”  Well, it actually doesn’t. In that original post, I did not argue about the legality of the wedding ring. Neither did I communicate that I sought my identity from the CHM. My post was simply a question which was coming from a heart that seeks to find the path of wisdom Jesus would have me take. As I observed the scenario at the convention, it caused me to contemplate the question I wrote about. I sensed there was a lack of wisdom in walking away from relationships over things like the wedding ring. The wedding ring just happened to be the issue which, at the least, had limited the influence of my former IHC comrades. And I asked myself, would you be willing to make a change like that and lose your ability to potentially be a help to this crowd? What would you gain? And why would you do it anyway?

Just to make sure you understand, my intention (in the original post) was not to convert anyone to the CHM. My post was to those who had accumulated the trust of a great number of people and apparently counted it of little value. This issue is not trivial. This is not a nonessential.

Thanks for your comment. I will redouble my efforts to avoid inconsistency.